First of all it was a mixed season for Villa, which with time and money at a premium I only managed to get to twice. The team seemed to turn a corner when beating Liverpool at Anfield then fell apart over Christmas after that game with Chelsea. Then some brilliant performances towards the end of the season saw them stay up and the future looking bright at last, if Lambert keeps hold of the good players, gets the dead wood off the books and signs a goal scoring midfielder and a couple of solid defenders. Ironically the two games I got to at Villa Park were against teams from East Anglia. First up was a league match against Norwich, which Villa drew and would have probably won if Joe Bennett hadn't got sent off. Secondly was an FA Cup match against Ipswich, at a time when Villa were short on confidence. Villa made heavy work to win 2-1 with Darren Bent, who will hopefully be going scoring first and Andi Weimann, who will hopefully be staying getting the second. The other Villa game we went to was a pre-season friendly which Villa won 2-0 at Peterborough.
Meanwhile at the Unwin, Ely brought in a few players at the start of the season who seemed to upset the balance of the team who had finished second. They were soon sent packing, although Coe and Curry stayed and improved as the season went on and Claydon has added a few goals, although perhaps not as many as we would have liked him to. In the end it was inevitable that a mid-table season was on the cards. There was the excitement of the cups though with Ely going further in the Vase than they had ever before only to be halted by bad weather and eventually Spalding United. The highlight though was the retention of the Cambridgeshire Senior Cup, with another heroic performance in the final this time seeing off the obnoxious Cambridge City.
Things didn't go great for Peterborough United, who after a disastrous start were cut adrift at the bottom of the Championship. They did improve greatly, but it wasn't enough and they were finally relegated on the last day of the season. Unfortunately, with the scheduling of Sean's games we only got up to London Road twice, and didn't see them win.
It was also a disappointing season for Thetford, who finished in the relegation places after their heroic promotion from the first division the previous season. They lost a few key players and it was always a struggle. We didn't get to see them until the tail end of the season when they played at Ely and Sean was the mascot. The reason for this was the fact that the Eastern Counties fixture computer somehow managed to have them and Ely always at home on the same day.
King's Lynn were magnificent and gained another promotion. They'll be playing in the top division of the Northern Premier next season. They were the winners of the fixture computer, as it was easier for us to get to games there and the results were a fortunate coincidence.
Elsewhere, well back at the Unwin, Cambridge Women moved in, and although it doesn't look like they will be back at Ely next season, it was quite a good way to spend sunny Sundays and a good introduction to the women's game. With being stuck in and around Ely more often the Robins' reserves also provided some diversions on Saturday afternoon.
The biggest problem this season was the weather with every month more or less having a game off. Including on a rare visit to the Abbey in September when the game between CRC and Midenhall was abandoned. Winter was really rough and I am hoping for a milder one this time out. Either that or a bigger coat!