Best of EPL 2007/08: The Year the Magic Came Back
There are so many moments from this season of football that stood out for me.
Watching Chasetown FC beat Port Vale in the FA second round was a particular favourite of mine, hearing the non-league supporters cheering their side on like no-body's business was beautiful. To see such passionate, determined sportsmen running about and playing what I would call real football (that's top flight football minus the gamesmanship and inordinate amounts of cash) was a beautiful moment.
And there's more, because for the first time in around fifteen years, one of the top four clubs will not be winning the world's oldest cup competition, after Portsmouth knocked out Manchester United, and Barnsley knocked out Liverpool followed by Chelsea. I'm only sorry that Barnsley could not have gone all the way. My betting slip with "Barnsley to win the FA Cup, 500/1" is destined to be framed and hung on my wall in honour of our fellow Championship brethren!
In the Champions league, a thrilling encounter between Liverpool and Besiktas was the eight wonder of the week! Eight goals to nil for the English club who deservedly thrashed the Turks in a stunning display of pure football genius.
Then, perhaps the most bizarre twists of my recollections, the wally with the brolly was deservedly sacked - annoyingly, walking off under his umbrella with £2 million more in the bank and a great big smirk, but the fact that England would not be attending Euro 2008 was something of a comfort to me. Under McClaren, we'd have been more embarrassed turning up and getting thrashed than simply not turning up.
On a more personal note, my own team, Charlton Athletic, have had a torrid end to the season, but (and this is key) I have enjoyed watching them more than ever. Alan Pardew seems to be getting his head round the bizarre mood swings at Valley Floyd Road, and I am confident he is still very much the man for the job, for years to come. It was a shame to lose Andy Reid to Sunderland, but I am also very confident that we have the youngsters and the variety in players to go up next year, if not this year.
There are many more other great moments I am sure, and for those I have left out, I apologise.
However the one moment that sticks in my mind, was a certain game in the F.A Cup - when a completely unknown side walked out onto the pitch at Anfield, and went 1-0 up against the might of Liverpool F.C. Then, to went 2-1 up! That showed what determination and sheer passion can do in the right circumstances. Yes, Liverpool went on to beat Havant and Waterlooville 5-2, but that was no reflection on the match itself or the football played by the two teams. The multi-millionaires had been made to sweat by their non-league rivals, and gave us neutrals another team to have a soft spot for.
Havant & Waterlooville, chasing the FA Cup dream, was for me the story of 2007/08. It has certainly been the season of the underdog, and how can we improve upon this next year? Both in the EPL, the FA Cup and chasing the Champions League places? Simple really.
We encourage clubs and teams with more funds, better players and staff, to have the same never say die attitude that Havant & Waterlooville, Chasetown and Barnsley have shown in defiance to so-called superior opposition.
Top four fans, take note.
We're all coming for your crowns next year!
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