It was always my plan to come over for the last game of the season but as it became clear a few weeks ago it wasn't going to be Millwall, I booked nothing. Instead, I think the last game of the season for us will be May 26th. Coming over for that means not attending a stag weekend. I love Aston Villa, but I'll be able to watch on TV.
And that's where I am right now. I also don't have the time I used to have on my hands to be more engaged and for the past few years I've worked alongside a marketing company and some of the stuff I've learnt and seen from an insight and social media perspective is staggering. It's so easy to get certain people to think a certain way. It reminded me of The General posting on forums but it wasn't really him but some supporters lapped it up, even when it was public knowledge it wasn't him.
So I've sort of become that supporter that I never thought I'd become. But when I look back fifteen years to the time I started this blog things were even different back then. There was no Facebook or Twitter and it was blogs and in particular forums that supporters online congregated. Now the Clubs are manipulating supporters online. Things are different.
So different, that we're a Championship Club. But you know what, on a Saturday morning, I still get that feeling in my stomach and my rituals are no different. It doesn't matter that whatever the result today, we're finishing fourth. I'm still excited and I'm still looking forward to the match. The only real difference from fifteen years ago is I had to scramble for a radio station. Today, I'm streaming it on Netflix like services and the quality is excellent.
4th it is
So we know where we will finish and we know it's probably going to be Middlesbrough but possibly Derby in the first play-off matches. Then, because nothing else is settled, we could meet Fulham, Cardiff and either Middlesbrough or Derby in the final, assuming we beat Derby or Middlesbrough.
It really has gone down to the last game of the season and when I wrote that a few months ago, it wasn't me predicting something on the back of a calculate or a look at the fixtures. It was me writing something because it sounded nice. And you know what, two extra games and the possibility of a third, is actually quite nice.
And if we're promoted or not, you know what, it doesn't bother me. Sure, there are rumours of spending money if we get promoted, but unless we're going to spend £500mn we might as well not pretend and put the money to good use. And we're not going to spend £500mn.
Sure, I'd like us to be in the Premier League, but if we play in the Championship another season, it's not going to bother me or upset me or make me angry. I think on balance, I'll actually be happier to win more games than we lose and see more games live (as an overseas supporter).
But it's Millwall this weekend
But none of that matters. All that matters right now is Millwall. And if you've not been to Bermondsey, it's actually quite a nice part of London these days. Not 20 years ago, then it was a place you only went to if you were desperate or looking for trouble. Today, it's different. It's home to The New Den and it's becoming gentrified. Don't get me wrong, you've still got that element you don't want to run into, but it's not like it used to be.
And I suspect this weekend we're going to see changes, not only to the starting eleven but also the bench and I suspect we're going to see all three changes and possibly early on for some. This weekend is about an opportunity for us and we should take it that way. Lets not forget that mathematically, Millwall are playing for 6th place and because of that they're going to take it seriously.
And I'm not suggesting that we don't take it seriously, I'm just saying that we've got fourth in the bag, so if we were not to appear to give it 100%, as in go diving in to those 50/50 balls, I'm not going to complain and if we were to start with Kodjia or Davis instead of Grabban, it's not going to bother me that much.
And you know what, I'd love to see Millwall finish sixth. If they did, it would mean that Derby lose and that's also more interesting for us. Look at the fixtures and League table to understand why.
Match facts from the BBC
- Millwall have won their past five home matches against Villa in all competitions, although this is their first meeting since an FA Cup tie in January 2013.
- Villa have not faced Millwall away from home in a league match since December 1989 - they lost 2-0.
- Millwall are unbeaten in their past nine home matches on the final day of a league season (W7 D2) since losing 1-0 to Luton at The Den in 1998-99.
- Aston Villa, meanwhile, have not won their last match in a league season since 2010-11, when they beat Liverpool - they have drawn two and lost four since.
- Villa have scored 17 headed goals this campaign - more than any other side in the division.
- Millwall's Jordan Archer has made seven errors leading to goals this campaign, more than any other player in the division.
Video of the day
Watch the video above! Colin Calderwood confirms that Gabby has been 'taking the .... ' for years at Aston Villa. Amazing stuff and surprised this hasn't been picked up by anyone else.
But in closing, this is not the last game of the season. It's the start of something. I'm looking forward to it because I've enjoyed this season. Next season could be much more fun or it could be horrible. It all depends on how you look at it.
And as you can see, I'm up early and I'm breakasted up already. Time to hit the garden. Back this afternoon.