So what exactly defines a successful season? That is the current question that has enraged debate between Cheltenham Town fans after a run of games which has seen the club pick up just one point from a potential twelve, and, since the Tottenham FA Cup game, win just four in thirteen games.
Rewind back to August and Cheltenham Town were relegation favourites with the usual suspects, Macclesfield, Hereford, Barnet and the like. Therefore in that sense, what a season we’re having. Take away the recent dreadful run and we’ve been living the dream in reality. On the flip side the other fan rightly states that the club has led the league at points this season, been in the top three for the majority of the season and been as far as fifteen points into the play-offs at any one time, so it is therefore unacceptable if the club now fails to finish inside the top seven. A very realistic possibility at present.
I spoke earlier in the season about the C word, consistency. At present we have that in abundance, but sadly with games going against us. A certain section of fans have been very quick to turn on Mark Yates. Shouts from the terraces on Saturday (a dire 3-0 defeat to Gillingham) led to Yates being branded “a bottler”, “someone who can only last half a season” and someone with “no plan B”. These fans seem to forget very quickly the achievements we have made and the progress we have made. However, they have every right to shout don’t they as the performance was unacceptable, the tactics were wrong and we were dire beyond belief? All these questions are swirling around the heads of Cheltenham fans and with there being no right or wrong answer fans are having to agree to disagree as we continue through the typical rollercoaster that is Cheltenham Town FC.
Ruby fans all knew, and feared the month of March, for the fixture computer dealt us a heavy blow playing teams all with ambitions of League One football next season. We did ourselves proud at Swindon, just forgetting to hit the net. We were utterly humiliated and embarrassed at home to Gillingham, our worst display of the season by a country mile. Shrewsbury, Oxford and Southend lie ahead next in a run of games that will surely define our season.
Clubs usually wish for steady progression. If you stick to this, the only way is up surely? However, our progression this season has been rapid beyond belief to the extent that even the most positive Cheltenham fan has been pinching themselves this season. Did we peak too early or is this a blip that will be ovecome with 9 games still to play?. We got to a stage where we’ve simply been awaiting this bad run and now it’s here fans seem to be unable to accept it. Players don’t become bad overnight. Remember the old adage “form is temporary, class is permanent”.
Therein lies the question, what exactly does make a successful season for us Rubies? It seems every single fan has a different opinion on this matter. Some would still be more than content with a top half finish, others deem that utterly unacceptable stating our season has been so good, why should it be thrown away due to a second half season collapse (something we’re more than familiar with here). Maybe the best answer lies in the hands of the neutrals… so what do you think?
Written by Maxi Hobbs, We Are Going Up’s Cheltenham Town Blogger
Maxi tweets at @maxihobbs