So the 2022/23 season ended with Blues men highest finishing positions since the Gary Monk season and not just that but on the verge of new ownership. The ladies team just missed out on an immediate return to the WSL but ended the season with a winning streak that I hope they can take forward to nest season.
Jon Eustace was set a target and it was simple, Keep the team in the league and bed in the youngsters, he achieved both. Blues ended the season playing the youngsters the most across all of Europe and secured safety with 3 games to go.
Darren Carter was looking to bounce back at the first attempt and started by forming a great set of backroom staff and a team to be taken seriously. An unbeaten run at the end of the season saw the team miss out on promotion by a point and beating the champions on the last day of the season.
The season has been a mixture of extreme highs (Nosebleeds in the league position for the men) at one point to the after mouth of the World cup break that saw us have a run of 7 league games without a win.
There have been many across the year however the double over local rivals West Brom and also a fantastic comeback to win 3-4 away at Swansea despite being 3-2 down in the 90th Minute
Lets also not forget that we were just one win away from a playoff position as we closed for the world. We finished the season with our highest points for a few season and all of this with a squad built on Youngsters loans and a forward line with a combined age over 90.
The ladies finishing the season on a high and unbeaten in April
The start was not getting a further striker into the club during either of the transfer windows. This added pressure to an already injury prone set of players. There was also the lows of losing to the teams sitting at the bottom of the league, Hull/Blackpool both spring to mind. There was of-course a massive elephant in the room, a World cup that stopped our great run of form and resulted in a poor run after it had ended.
For the ladies there were the losses earlier in the season and the one game that saw blues take a 2-0 lead but end up 2-2. These missed opportunities ultimately cost us in the end.
When you think that at the start of the season the Men’s team were bookies favourites to be relegated and were light in numbers I feel its been a good season, who knows what we could have done if the gaffer had come in earlier and of-course had been backed more. The team will look alot different next season and with new people helping run the club we may get better backing. Most importantly though we need to keep the nucleus of the team together and give John Eustace a chance to build for the future.
The ladies will learn from the mistakes made this season and will go again. We need to carry the momentum from the end of this season forward. Darren will have them firing and hopefully this time we will progress back to where we should be, the WSL
Well done both John and Darren looking forward to the 2023/24 season. KRO
Until next season – KRO Craig