Sunday, May 04, 2008

Mark de Bolla for AFC Wimbledon (v Staines Town), 3 May 2008

As the season draws to a close, four teams deserve a CUAS pat on the back for their respective promotions. (Clearly there are many teams who deserve a pat on the back - in fact pretty much anyone who has been promoted with the exception of the Milton Keynes Dons who I still hope implode and disappear, never to be seen again).

Still, I'd like to indulge myself by selecting four, if I may.

Firstly, to the team whose ground is less than a mile as the row flies from my front door, and whose fans I could hear jubilantly singing at 4.55pm yesterday afternoon from my back garden, congratulations to Nottingham Forest who finally escaped from the third division on account of defeating Yeovil 3-2, but more thanks to Cheltenham Town's 2-1 win over Doncaster Rovers. It's great to see Forest back in the Championship and I sincerely hope they can consolidate their position next season.

Secondly, and wholly appropriately in the season that fake franchise team the MK Dons achieved promotion, AFC Wimbledon escaped from the Ryman Premier League by beating Staines Town 2-1 in the play-off final. It's the Conference South for AFC next season, and I hope their eventual elevation to the Football League is achieved at the expense of their fake MK rivals.

Thirdly, and for no other reason than I drive past the Britannia Stadium an average of of ten times a month, congratulations to unfashionable Stoke City whose 0-0 draw against Leicester today not only relegated the Foxes to the third tier for the first time in their 124 year history but also secured promotion for the Potters after a 23 year absence. I like it when "new" teams reach the Premiership and I hope they do themselves proud. Similarly, good luck to the Cities of Hull and Bristol in the play-offs.

Finally, and from a personal perspective I'd like to congratulate FC United of Manchester who continued their meteoric rise through the divisions by winning the Unibond First Division North play-off final 4-1 against Skelmersdale Town. Next season sees them fight it out in the Unibond Premier which is where the real fight begins as that's not an easy division to get out of....


Mosher said...

I kinda like the Potters as they let me visit the stadium wearing my Toon top while they thrashed Sunderland 3-1 a couple of seasons ago. And one of my mates is a huge fan.

Shame I won't be the UK to see more of them next year. I hope the TV coverage is up to scratch in Asia!

Sarah said...

"for no other reason than I drive past the Britannia Stadium an average of of ten times a month"

really? Absolutely no other reason?

(one very drunk, happy, Stoke City fan, who also happens to be a personal friend of the author...)

Shane said...

The boy wonder and I were on the pitch at the Britannia Stadium just after the final whistle. It's nice when hooligans and mild innocents can mix as one. Am expecting Palace to be promoted via the play-offs.

In terms of teams worthy of note, there are several 'escape stories' that are well worthy of note. In particular, Northwich Victoria spring to mind.

LB said...

ok, maybe that's not the *only* reason, Sarah....


(incidentally, I wonder if Tony Pulis is the "least liked by his own fans of any manager ever to get a team into the Premiership...."?)

Anonymous said...

I've been a keen fan of non-league this season supporting my hometown of Ramsgate in the Ryman Premier.

We won the league cup and got to the play-offs but lost to Staines in the semi, and so miss out on promotion. A great season though for a team which has made big leaps in the past few years.

weenie said...

Good luck to Stoke City - like you, I too like it when 'new boys' get into the Premier League. I follow non-league football too these days and shall be cheering the Ebbsfleet United at Wembley next weekend - come on the Fleeeet!