Well, I think its about time we all stood back and took a deep breath.......................... What a season that was. The wins over New York and DC seem so far away. I hope you all enjoyed the raffle in the members club after the New York win. Thank you all so much for being good sports and letting me lead the 'I believe that we will win' chant (even though I got it wrong!!).
I must admit heading into the play offs was a strange but exciting feeling. I'd been involved in play offs/promotion battles before whilst covering the lower reaches of football back in England. But this time it obviously had a much more different feel to it.
We got to Colorado full of hope and excitement. Chris (@ctwyche), Jake (@jakeyadrich), Dan (the_doubledown) and I flew into Denver as per usual, but the rest of the boys who came to help set up the studio for 'Off the Pitch' drove the full 7/8 hours from Kansas City! We'd obviously travelled all season together but it put a smile on my face to have some of the lads come to a road game who hadn't all season. It was good to see them as they pulled up in front of the hotel. Chad (@thechad_kc) seemed fine, Justin to, Abner (@abnerha) had that big old excited smile on his face as he usually does and then there was Spencer (@spencebott), who quite frankly looked like death and seemed to squirm and slide out of the opened door like a man with no muscles, actually very similar to a snake! I think it was obvious......... altitude sickness!
We had a couple of beers and enjoyed the halloween themed downtown Denver. Game day came and after a couple of technical problems which Chad helped sort out, Jake and I were underway and on the call on 810 Sports Radio. The 2-0 win was exactly what we needed. I'm sure i'm not the only 1 who didn't expect a 2-0 win away at the current MLS champions, infact i'd have taken a draw! Either way, what a win and then to do the exact same at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the home leg was just fantastic! Its safe to say the celebrations went on into the night. However, I was also left feeling down after Brennan (@brennancass) and Corey left to return to Minnesota. 2 really good friends and i'm looking forward to seeing them both at some stage next year.
Amongst all this madness I signed a new 2 year contract to remain here (which was a bit of madness on its own par). Without blabbing on, i'd just once again like to say thanks to everyone at the club, all my friends and family back home, Mom and Dad for supporting me every single step of the way, my girlfriend Lauren for putting up with me and you the fans, for making me feel so welcome in my first year.
Approaching the Houston game, I think we were all slightly guilty of thinking 'we have already won this'. We'd beaten Houston comprehensively earlier in the year at LSP and I think many people thought it'd be the same. In actual fact, Houston were very well organized, kept tight and produced possibly 1 of the best defensively displays of the year to beat us 2-0 and advance on to the MLS Cup Final. I remember the sinking feeling that i'm sure many of you also felt when Carlo Costly's shot ripped the back of Jimmy's net so late in the game. We had to push forward though, we were desperate for that equalizer. In the end those gaps that were left open as we pushed forward were exploited and we fell in the Eastern Conference Final.
However, as James Starritt (@sporting_times) and I said on the final 610 Sports Radio show of the year. I think we need to simply celebrate the fact that its been such a fantastic year for Sporting Kansas City. Who would have thought we would have even been competing in the play offs at 1 stage. There is a real positive feeling and vibe amongst the front office staff. Everyone is talking about us in the city. Even now, i've just been introduced to another new employee who is so excited to be apart of this organization. Everything is so positive about this organization.
I'm heading back to England next week for the off season and already have a few things in the pipeline including a week in Spain to relax, friends birthdays, London (on more then 1 occasion), Christmas and New Year all to come. I simply can't wait to see my best friends, Mom, Dad, my Nan, family and of course Lauren. I'm coming home to you all....... and I can't wait :-)
In the meantime Kansas City, keep your eyes and ears pealed, you may be hearing me sooner then you think ;-)
I know 1 thing for sure.......... I'm incredibly excited about the future of Sporting KC and I can't wait for next year.
See you all in 2012!