Strange feelings watching the Play-Offs. Its like watching a sex scene on TV, you know you shouldn't poke your face into someone else enjoying themselves, but you do anyway. But unlike the sex, watching the Play-Offs does seem to leave a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth. Like imagining that you could watch your work mates off enjoying a holiday while you had to stay at work. And all the time you'd know that really you were more deserving than them and its you that should be enjoying all that sun.
Except you're not.
Are we still thinking too much of ourselves, well maybe. And its not just memories of Premiership games that lingers, its the reality that we are better than these 4 teams. None of them managed to beat us this season and with 4 wins and 4 draws we took 16 points out of the 24 available when playing against them so we must be better. Aren't we?
And although some people are saying that the games are good, are they really? The fizzies may be a very tough division to get out off but I don't think there's many Premiership managers losing sleep over the impending arrival of the best of Bristol, Hull or Watford.
In last nights game at Bristol, although there were 3 cracking goals, the ball was always flying through the air and most of the time was belted anywhere aimlessly with slick passing moves as rare as a vegetarian in a slaughterhouse. Sour grapes, then.
And the thought of a missed chance of a really gilt-edged opportunity keeps coming back to me. Promotion, this year, would have been a doddle compared to what its going to be like next year. With Reading and Birmingham likely to retain most of their squad next season its odds-on that it'll be they that claim the automatic slots with the Play-Offs left to the rest of us.
And already there's teams sniffing around to see what's available at the ex-Premier clubs. Bougherra off to Betis? I hope not and looking at the poll results on CAFCPicks clearly so do most of us with Magic getting the most votes in the defender category. Encouragingly, I can't find any news of it over here but its bound to happen with players looking elsewhere for a better deal.
Although Pards has often bemoaned the lack of a settled squad its perhaps worth reiterating the fact that Bristol City used the fewest players in the Division with 26, while Watford used only 28, WBA 29 and Hull 30. Meanwhile at the other end of the table relegated Leicester used the most with 41, with struggling Southampton, changed management at both QPR and Palarse and the Addicks next with 38 players used. A case of too much money earning us little in the way of benefits and perhaps an example of January loan deals working against us rather than for us.
And lastly a few words of advice from a fan enjoying the Play-Offs. No-one from Palarse, of course, but a northern mate watching the Tigers battle it out to the end and whatever you might feel about their style of play they did finish 11 points clear of the Addicks.
Anyway, advice for next season for what its worth.
"1. A manager the players want to play for (think Curbs fitted the bill, not Pardew)!!!
2. True northern grit and a solid back four,
3. Dean Windass ! (with a bit of help from rising superstar on loan from Man U (Fraizer Campbell)), who can bang in the goals, wind up the opposition and referee the game, at the same time."
So Pards, a 39 year-old forward, with 11 fizzy goals, outscoring any of our lot, a reduced squad enjoying better rapport with the manager and a 20 year old superstar. That's all that's needed, apparently....