i’ve always said that the worst thing about football is that it’s the hope that builds up within you that gets you excited, only to disappoint you at the last hurdle.

i’ve had that over the past couple of years with following northern ireland and tottenham. clinging on to faint hope that success might lie at the end of tunnel, only to have those hopes cruelly dashed right at the end.

it’s not the failure that hurts. it’s the hope you have built up!

and so all season i have played down my wee teams chances of breaking into the top 4 monopoly that is the Premier League, and to claim the coveted prize of Champions League qualification. Bigger clubs like Liverpool who have the experience, or bigger balances like Man City, will get there before us, I’ve claimed.

But all season I’ve maintained this inner hope that maybe, just maybe we can do this. The quality and depth of our squad is better than I’ve ever known. Defoe, Lennon, Crouch and King, all seasoned England internationals. Add to that the technical ability of Kranjcar, Modric and Huddlestone. And the steel and determination of Dawson and Palacios. When you bring Pavlyuchenko, Gudjohnsen, Bale, Bentley, Bassong off the bench, you know there must be something strong developing.

Most of the season we have remained in 4th place. However, as the season goes on, strength always comes to the fore, and I’ve awaited the imminent overtaking from Liverpool, Man City or even Villa. But with 8 games left it still hasn’t happened, and matches this past week have caued me to believe we actually can do this.

And that’s just the problem. Finally I believe and start to imagine Tuesday nights next year playing Barcelona at the Nou Camp and AC Milan at the San Siro. I imagine the new players we could attract to the club. More money to spend. Experience to go on and sustain it.

You see…it’s the hope that kills you!!