It’s been a fantastic season for Prostate Cancer UK. Our partnership with the Football League raised more than £250,000 to help tackle a disease that affects one in eight men in the UK (and one in four black men). But how was it for the fans? In part two of our Football League review, Ipswich Town blogger Blair Ferguson, from TWTD, and Bolton Wanderers fan Geoff Moss, from the blog The Men In White, look back on the highs and lows of the Championship campaign…
Marks out of 10 for your team
Blair Ferguson (BF): A solid 8/10. At the start of the season I think many Ipswich fans would have put this down as a season where we would build and get a group of players together that could challenge for the play-offs in 2014-15. As it happened we came very close to getting sixth place, but despite missing out it was nice just to be involved in the last few games and hopefully we can mount a real challenge next season.
Geoff Moss (GM): 5.5. We've finished on a strong run of form, only losing a couple of matches in the last few months and those included to the likes of champions Leicester and play-off contenders Brighton. But there's only so much that can make up for our terrible start to the season. Mid-table was a relief after flirting with the relegation zone but it's nowhere near good enough – in the bigger picture, we'd hope to be around the play-off spots.
Highlight and lowlight of the season
BF: As I mentioned above the highlight would probably be the season as a whole given how well we did in comparison to expectations. The lowlight for me would be the away game against Derby where we squandered a 4-1 half-time lead. Craig Bryson equalised in the 88th minute and it was soul-destroying! I didn't get to that game but I sat watching the score come in on Sky Sports News and you knew it was only a matter of time until Derby drew level.
GM: We'll start with the lowlight: 7-1 at Reading. What a dire, dire away day that was. It was so bad it actually became funny ('if you don't laugh you cry' and all that). A gridlocked Reading after didn't help either! The highlight was 4-0 at home against Blackburn. Not only did we momentarily seem to be a wonder-scoring team (a 5-1 over Leeds followed in the next match) but it was a derby match. There's nothing much sweeter than thumping your local rivals 4-0.
Best and worst teams you’ve played
BF: Away from the obvious teams like Burnley I'd say that Bournemouth were one of the better teams I saw at Portman Road. The way they passed the ball was good to watch, although on the day they got lucky with a deflected free-kick! It’s difficult to pick out a worst team because it’s so even in the Championship, although some games can be hard to watch at times. Our home game against Nottingham Forest comes to mind.
GM: This is a tricky one as there were a couple that really were pretty dire, but we weren’t much better, so I can't criticise them. We got some reasonable results against the highest finishing teams. I'd say the worst team we've played was the 11 we put out against Reading when we lost 7-1, the best that which got us that 4-0 win over Blackburn (yes, a complete cop-out).
Best and worst players you’ve seen
BF: It depends: the best player against us in terms of goals is David Nugent, who always scores against Ipswich. He scored against us three times this season alone. Danny Ings always looked dangerous when he got the ball against us and you’d think he will do well in the Premier League.
GM: Danny Drinkwater at Leicester really impressed me, lashing a 20-yarder in against us and really making things happen in midfield. Worst? There’s so many to choose from I think it would be unfair to pick one out, although we had a few contenders over the season *cough* Zat Knight *cough*.
Best and worst away days
BF: I’d have to go back to Derby away for that one for the obvious reason of drawing 4-4 when we were 4-1 up at half-time, not good for a midweek away game!
GM: The Leeds one was good but I'd say the last of the season at Sheffield Wednesday was the best. A great turnout, a great spirit and a great 3-1 victory to match it. The worst... yeah, Reading again.
Best and worst fans
BF: I think the Yeovil fans have been good this season. Obviously they have quite a distance to travel but they followed their team all over the place despite their league position; you have to admire that.
GM: I'll not mud-sling and give a worst but best? Completely subjectively, I'll say Charlton fans. They're not exactly a loud-singing throng but I've yet to meet an unfriendly one.
Best goal you’ve seen
BF: Jonathan Williams scored a screamer for us against Derby, which is well worth a look on YouTube. It was the first goal in a 2-1 win which went some way to making up for the disappointment in the reverse fixture.
GM: Liam Trotter (see main picture) didn't do much for us over the season but his goal against Sheffield Wednesday was something special. You don't see a 35-yard running volley arcing over the keeper into the top-right corner every day! Best of the season for me, a proper world-class goal.
Tips for next season: which teams and players will shine?
BF: I’d like to think we would be in the mix along with the teams that fail to get promoted in the play-offs. Bournemouth impressed me and with the right additions they could be a threat. Obviously the teams coming down from the Premier League will be there or thereabouts, although they don’t always go straight back up as Reading have proven. If we can keep hold of Aaron Cresswell, I think he will play a big part again. Troy Deeney, if he's still at Watford, has been good again, as has Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn.
GM: I'm hoping for big things from our youngster Andy Kellett and fingers-crossed they'll come next season with him being among a bit more youth in the first 11. I'd expect Leeds to do well too, with a helping hand of cash from their new Italian owner.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us raise more than £250,000 this season. If you want to help tackle prostate cancer you can donate to Prostate Cancer UK here