The ‘what if’ season

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darloed19
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The ‘what if’ season

Post by darloed19 » Sat Apr 09, 2022 7:54 pm

Weird feeling after the game today. First time all season we are actually sitting in a playoff position, but even so feels like we have blown it. Realistically from leamington game we only really could lose to or drop points against Brackley, Gateshead and Kidderminster, the rest we needed to take maximum points. I feel by the 7th of May this entire season is going to be the ‘what if’ season:

*What if we had competent CBs at the start of the season

*What if Charman stayed

*What if we didn’t drop points against lower opposition

*What if we didn’t have that poor run In January/February

*What if we had a goal scorer

Overall compared to the start of the season I’d of 100% taken where we are now. Got a lot of positive to take into next season just need a striker. Hopefully I am wrong, but even so up the darlo 🤍🖤🤍🖤

Darlogramps
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The ‘what if’ season

Post by Darlogramps » Sat Apr 09, 2022 8:42 pm

You can ask “what if” questions about any season.

*What if this player hadn’t been injured or suspended?

*What if the season hadn’t been ended early in 19/20? Would we have made the top seven?

*What if we had the correct number of seats in 2017 to get into the play-offs?

*What if Martin Gray hadn’t blown his relationship with the club to pieces by trying bring in Raj Singh?

*What if we’d brought in a competent replacement for Gray, rather than Tommy “I let the players skive training” Wright?

*What if that Ramsbottom player hadn’t tried to snap Leon Scott in half straight after kick off in our 2014 play-off semi-final?

*What if George Houghton hadn’t put us into administration in 2009?

*What if George Reynolds was a sane human being and not a deluded, evil narcissist who invested in Feethams and the team, rather than building a ghastly monument to his own ego on Neasham Road?


Ultimately we’re in the here and now so for me it’s a waste of time wondering “what if”.

Charman was always likely to be sold.

We were always likely to start slowly because of the huge turnover in the squad (contrary to popular belief, the issue wasn’t solely at centre back). The pre-season COVID outbreaks didn’t exactly help either.

Clubs always have bad runs and drop points against lower sides.

And I don’t feel like we’ve blown it either. We’ve beaten Brackley this season, AFC Fylde twice and Chorley. We’re stronger now than the first half of the season so why can’t we get results against Gateshead, Brackley and Kidderminster?

We’ve moved into the top seven today so I hardly feel like we’ve blown it. It probably feels more frustrating because of the missed penalties, but when you take a step back, we’re not in a bad position at all.
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darloed19
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by darloed19 » Sat Apr 09, 2022 9:40 pm

Darlogramps wrote:
Sat Apr 09, 2022 8:42 pm
You can ask “what if” questions about any season.

*What if this player hadn’t been injured or suspended?

*What if the season hadn’t been ended early in 19/20? Would we have made the top seven?

*What if we had the correct number of seats in 2017 to get into the play-offs?

*What if Martin Gray hadn’t blown his relationship with the club to pieces by trying bring in Raj Singh?






*What if we’d brought in a competent replacement for Gray, rather than Tommy “I let the players skive training” Wright?

*What if that Ramsbottom player hadn’t tried to snap Leon Scott in half straight after kick off in our 2014 play-off semi-final?

*What if George Houghton hadn’t put us into administration in 2009?

*What if George Reynolds was a sane human being and not a deluded, evil narcissist who invested in Feethams and the team, rather than building a ghastly monument to his own ego on Neasham Road?


Ultimately we’re in the here and now so for me it’s a waste of time wondering “what if”.

Charman was always likely to be sold.

We were always likely to start slowly because of the huge turnover in the squad (contrary to popular belief, the issue wasn’t solely at centre back). The pre-season COVID outbreaks didn’t exactly help either.

Clubs always have bad runs and drop points against lower sides.

And I don’t feel like we’ve blown it either. We’ve beaten Brackley this season, AFC Fylde twice and Chorley. We’re stronger now than the first half of the season so why can’t we get results against Gateshead, Brackley and Kidderminster?

We’ve moved into the top seven today so I hardly feel like we’ve blown it. It probably feels more frustrating because of the missed penalties, but when you take a step back, we’re not in a bad position at all.
What I meant is that this season especially we have had a lot of these moments

Darlogramps
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The ‘what if’ season

Post by Darlogramps » Sat Apr 09, 2022 9:55 pm

But I don’t agree that we have had any more than previous seasons.

We can say about the previous three seasons “What if we signed competent keepers?”

As for Charman leaving, well in previous years we’ve had to deal with players leaving mid-season (Donowa, Styche, Saunders, Ty O’Neill first time around).

And as for bad runs or dropping points where we think we shouldn’t, doesn’t that happen to every club every season?

Each to their own of course but I don’t see how this season has been any worse for “what ifs” than previous campaigns.

And as I’ve said, I think it’s pretty difficult to argue that we’ve blown our play-off chances today. I don’t see how anyone can argue that at all.
Last edited by Darlogramps on Sat Apr 09, 2022 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by joejaques » Sun Apr 10, 2022 5:45 am

"What if" I'd won the Lottery, paid for our own ground, financed our turning full time, and bought 49% of the shares in the club? Just checked my ticket & I've won a free lucky dip. Re-read the above and insert "next week" :roll:
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by jjljks » Sun Apr 10, 2022 6:01 am

joejaques wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 5:45 am
"What if" I'd won the Lottery, paid for our own ground, financed our turning full time, and bought 49% of the shares in the club? Just checked my ticket & I've won a free lucky dip. Re-read the above and insert "next week" :roll:
"What if" we actually owned our own ground in town
That was the one missing and glad you have plans to correct that. At least more concrete than DJ's promise to tell us about his plan! Here's hoping for your numbers to come up, joejaques🤞

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by quaker4life » Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:02 pm

Darlogramps wrote:
Sat Apr 09, 2022 8:42 pm
You can ask “what if” questions about any season.

*What if this player hadn’t been injured or suspended?

*What if the season hadn’t been ended early in 19/20? Would we have made the top seven?

*What if we had the correct number of seats in 2017 to get into the play-offs?

*What if Martin Gray hadn’t blown his relationship with the club to pieces by trying bring in Raj Singh?

*What if we’d brought in a competent replacement for Gray, rather than Tommy “I let the players skive training” Wright?

*What if that Ramsbottom player hadn’t tried to snap Leon Scott in half straight after kick off in our 2014 play-off semi-final?

*What if George Houghton hadn’t put us into administration in 2009?

*What if George Reynolds was a sane human being and not a deluded, evil narcissist who invested in Feethams and the team, rather than building a ghastly monument to his own ego on Neasham Road?


Ultimately we’re in the here and now so for me it’s a waste of time wondering “what if”.
This ^

The thing with "what ifs" is they can go on and on but it's pointless dwelling over them, if you look back for too long you'll end up going blind to what's in front of you.

Charman's gone, we did drop points against lower opposition and we did have a poor run in January/February and right now we do lack a regular goalscorer but despite that we find ourselves (albeit likely temporarily) in the play off positions something that seemed well beyond us around 8 weeks ago and this is the closest we've been to mounting a serious challenge since seatgate 5 years ago.

Realistically, to cement 7th place I think we'd need to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season one defeat could derail us if results elsewhere go against us and we are rapidly running out of games and with the likes of Gateshead, Brackley and even BPA who have made a habit of nicking points off the chasing pack recently to come that is a tall order.

For me it's more of an "if only" than a "what if", if only this run had started a couple of weeks sooner we'd be in a much stronger position, but we didn't and its history. We take on a badly out of form Curzon next week who are winless in their last seven losing five we must make sure we get the right result with two tough games against the top two sides to follow we simply cannot afford to slip up.

You can start the inquest after full time at Aggborough in 4 weeks time when we'll know where we stand, doing so when we are in the play off positions unbeaten in our last five, losing just once in our last eleven with six games still to go is a somewhat bizarre attitude to take.
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Spyman
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by Spyman » Mon Apr 11, 2022 9:04 am

Every single team, every single season, could apply this logic - it's completely pointless.

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On Sunday April 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm, Darlo Cockney wrote:Sadly some people have nothing better to do that invent rumours.

We will be playing at the arena again next season - fact.

Quakerz - if you actually attended games and spoke to people you might actually find our facts, rather than spreading s*** on this board.

DC

Nimrod
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by Nimrod » Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:59 am

Darlogramps wrote:
Sat Apr 09, 2022 8:42 pm
You can ask “what if” questions about any season.

*What if this player hadn’t been injured or suspended?

*What if the season hadn’t been ended early in 19/20? Would we have made the top seven?

*What if we had the correct number of seats in 2017 to get into the play-offs?

*What if Martin Gray hadn’t blown his relationship with the club to pieces by trying bring in Raj Singh?

*What if we’d brought in a competent replacement for Gray, rather than Tommy “I let the players skive training” Wright?

*What if that Ramsbottom player hadn’t tried to snap Leon Scott in half straight after kick off in our 2014 play-off semi-final?

*What if George Houghton hadn’t put us into administration in 2009?

*What if George Reynolds was a sane human being and not a deluded, evil narcissist who invested in Feethams and the team, rather than building a ghastly monument to his own ego on Neasham Road?


Ultimately we’re in the here and now so for me it’s a waste of time wondering “what if”.

Charman was always likely to be sold.

We were always likely to start slowly because of the huge turnover in the squad (contrary to popular belief, the issue wasn’t solely at centre back). The pre-season COVID outbreaks didn’t exactly help either.

Clubs always have bad runs and drop points against lower sides.

And I don’t feel like we’ve blown it either. We’ve beaten Brackley this season, AFC Fylde twice and Chorley. We’re stronger now than the first half of the season so why can’t we get results against Gateshead, Brackley and Kidderminster?

We’ve moved into the top seven today so I hardly feel like we’ve blown it. It probably feels more frustrating because of the missed penalties, but when you take a step back, we’re not in a bad position at all.
What if Feethams and the team had been invested in, instead of the white elephant stadium is a question that haunts me to this day. When we left Feethams in 2003, for me that was the end of the club I knew and grew up supporting. It’s just never been the same since & will never be as good. Even some of the seasons where we were poor (1996-98) still felt hopeful - it still felt like we might mount a promotion challenge into Division 2 with a few additions here & there. Putting the post 1998 pitch aside, Feethams had years of life left in it - all that was needed was to replace the West Stand at some point. The Tin Shed & Polam Lane ends would still be okay now. Reynolds killed off the club that I knew, and it was so unnecessary, and had that money gone into the squad and Feethams we could easily be a League 1, lower end Championship team now

lo36789
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by lo36789 » Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:28 am

Nimrod wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:59 am
had that money gone into the squad and Feethams we could easily be a League 1, lower end Championship team now
Had the money been spent it would have got us there whilst the money was being spent. Once the Reynolds money dried up, if it was ever really there, you are reliant on what the population of the town can sustain.

A town the size of Darlington can sustain a club in League Two and based on good managerial appointment / recruitment would sometimes threaten promotion, sometimes threatens relegation but mostly do neither.

Bottom end of Championship / Top end of League One are the likes of Birmingham, Bristol City, Reading, Derby County, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth.

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by MB86DFC » Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:51 am

lo36789 wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:28 am
Nimrod wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:59 am
had that money gone into the squad and Feethams we could easily be a League 1, lower end Championship team now
Had the money been spent it would have got us there whilst the money was being spent. Once the Reynolds money dried up, if it was ever really there, you are reliant on what the population of the town can sustain.

A town the size of Darlington can sustain a club in League Two and based on good managerial appointment / recruitment would sometimes threaten promotion, sometimes threatens relegation but mostly do neither.

Bottom end of Championship / Top end of League One are the likes of Birmingham, Bristol City, Reading, Derby County, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth.

Well that’s just bollocks.

The higher up the leagues you go the less important attendance is as a percentage of income.

By your logic Burnley, Blackpool, Rotherham, Burton, Preston and Ipswich should all be at the bottom of league 1 and in league 2 due to population.

Luton are flying in the championship and have a ground capacity of 10,000, making their population irrelevant.

Who knows what would have happened if money had been spent on feethams west stand / the team, but to say we’d still be in league 2 as a certainty is ridiculous.

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by lo36789 » Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:55 am

I don't think anything has been said with certainty. That would be foolish.

I am reasonably confident however that Reynolds tenure, regardless of where he spent money, was never destined to end with a club with a healthy bank balance.

I don't think that we'd have settled in league two is really any more ridiculous than being a top end league one / championship side.

On the balance of probability we would have been what we always were.

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by Spyman » Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:12 am

It's all ifs and buts.

If the Reynolds money had been spent on the playing side, but that included training facilities, infrastructure to provide a steady flow of young talent etc, then that would have helped sustain the club at a higher level than maybe attendances alone could manage.

But it didn't happen, just like it didn't happen for lots of other clubs, so we are where we are and there's no point in going over the 'what if' moments other than the ones that can be learned from - something that as a club we now seem to be doing quite well, case in point being the way Armstrong is using the last couple of months of this season to get his ducks in a row for next season.
On Sunday April 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm, Darlo Cockney wrote:Sadly some people have nothing better to do that invent rumours.

We will be playing at the arena again next season - fact.

Quakerz - if you actually attended games and spoke to people you might actually find our facts, rather than spreading s*** on this board.

DC

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by H1987 » Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:37 am

Tbh I think it's unhelpful to look at some of those as something we could do something about. Charman, for example, being a club of our stature means that someone like that is always going to be picked off. Poor runs often happen, even for playoff teams. That's why they get to the playoffs, not automatic promotion. Everyone is looking for a regular goalscorer. It's not a given you can get one, and if you do, the Charman situation can happen.

I think the most important point here was the state of the defence going into the season. It was obviously deficient at the time and we didn't replace some of the lads we let go. I hope we are learning our lesson for next year in this regard, getting the likes of Taylor tied down is a good start. We can't start the season with such an incomplete squad and hope to trouble the business end of the table.

Best to focus on the stuff we can realistically address, rather than the things that are inevitabilities.

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by quaker4life » Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:05 pm

Nimrod wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:59 am
What if Feethams and the team had been invested in, instead of the white elephant stadium is a question that haunts me to this day. When we left Feethams in 2003, for me that was the end of the club I knew and grew up supporting. It’s just never been the same since & will never be as good. Even some of the seasons where we were poor (1996-98) still felt hopeful - it still felt like we might mount a promotion challenge into Division 2 with a few additions here & there. Putting the post 1998 pitch aside, Feethams had years of life left in it - all that was needed was to replace the West Stand at some point. The Tin Shed & Polam Lane ends would still be okay now. Reynolds killed off the club that I knew, and it was so unnecessary, and had that money gone into the squad and Feethams we could easily be a League 1, lower end Championship team now
I recall walking down Victoria Road one night in February 2004 and seeing the floodlights on, I have to admit to being a bit giddy at the time but it turned out they were just moving the pitch covers from there to the Arena.

However, I went by another time around that same period and looked through the gate between the East Stand and the Tin Shed and seen a silver goal frame erected, I never found out who put it there or why but the pitch was heavily overgrown and had not been properly maintained by that point and would likely have needed to have been excavated and relaid if football was to be played on it.

The West Stand and the Quaker Centre would almost certainly have been shut down/demolished if it was around now, looking back the Quaker Centre was such an unattractive building but on the odd occasion I've been down Polam Lane over the years I could still picture it there along with the West Stand turnstiles.

I think the worse thing about it now is the route to BM down Grange Road takes you close to where Feethams was and it's a persistent reminder of what we lost, I don't think a fanbase has ever been haunted by the memory of their old ground quite as much as Darlo's.
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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by real_darlo_85 » Wed Apr 13, 2022 8:51 am

On the topic of whether this season will be one of 'what ifs', I don't think it will be necessarily. Covid and recruitment strategy held us up at the beginning. Eventually, we got going and then had a dip in form over Jan/Feb, followed by where we are now after a decent run. It's been an average season, no cup runs and an up and down season, where somehow we are still competing for a playoff spot (the league probably being more competitive this season than most).

My main overriding concern going forward is does the club know where it wants to be and how we can at least maintain our current level without overstretching. I'm sure it was mentioned at one of the webinar Q&As that although the club is relatively healthy, the infrastructure and budget are nowhere near ready for promotion, so would it be such a disaster to miss out? The flip side being how do you keep the fanbase interested if ambition is managed to achieve NLN status and possibly have a cup run or two and recruit players for this ambition? Maybe it's a good thing we miss out this season, as promotion through the playoffs may bring more problems than it's worth at this current time.
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!"

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Re: The ‘what if’ season

Post by Old Git » Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:26 am

real_darlo_85 wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 8:51 am
On the topic of whether this season will be one of 'what ifs', I don't think it will be necessarily. Covid and recruitment strategy held us up at the beginning. Eventually, we got going and then had a dip in form over Jan/Feb, followed by where we are now after a decent run. It's been an average season, no cup runs and an up and down season, where somehow we are still competing for a playoff spot (the league probably being more competitive this season than most).

My main overriding concern going forward is does the club know where it wants to be and how we can at least maintain our current level without overstretching. I'm sure it was mentioned at one of the webinar Q&As that although the club is relatively healthy, the infrastructure and budget are nowhere near ready for promotion, so would it be such a disaster to miss out? The flip side being how do you keep the fanbase interested if ambition is managed to achieve NLN status and possibly have a cup run or two and recruit players for this ambition? Maybe it's a good thing we miss out this season, as promotion through the playoffs may bring more problems than it's worth at this current time.
I agree with what you say and you have hit the nail on the head regarding our current situation. Given our restrictions regarding financial matters it is a juggling act to satisfy the ambitions of the fan base and at the same time not overstretch ourselves financially.
To be able to progress upwards we would need to attract a large financial backer with all the risks that could accompany that, or grow organically from within. The debate over outside investment has been done to death and the fact remains that after 10 years of being fan owned nobody has come forward with a bid to take over the club. Also many supporters would be unwilling to accept losing control of the club to a third party.
The only viable alternative is to go down the route of being able to develop our own stadium, again with some outside investment, and develop new revenue streams. Until we can do that we are essentially stuck in limbo with ambitions on the field that can not be matched off the field. I hope that if and when some concrete proposals for a new ground are revealed that they will be met enthusiastically by all of our fans. People have to be realistic regarding the location for example, and be prepared to travel to the outskirts of the town.

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