1. The mood has shifted a little in the aftermath of Saturday’s 5-1 gubbing of Rotherham. Quite how much remains to be seen and its ultimate effect is presently unguessable, but there’s no doubt that walking away from the stadium on Saturday, things felt better than for a little while. A comprehensive victory in the sunshine will always lift the mood, and we shouldn’t get too carried away; lets enjoy it for what it was and hope it has a small but useful effect in the coming weeks.
2. It certainly was a pleasant watch. Rotherham were obviously hopeless, but the way City put them to the sword in the first half was thrilling. There was a buccaneering spirit in the side again, with inventiveness and vigour – it was all too much for our lowly visitors, but you suspect it’d also be hard for any side in the division to handle. The challenge for City is to replicate it in the next two, and perhaps three games.
3. The quality of goals was impressive. Abel Hernández’s overhead kick one of the finest ever seen at the Circle, but Diamé’s, Snodgrasses and Livermore’s second would have lit up any game.
4. Derby, then. They’ll be a formidable proposition, and memories of their double over us this season continue to stalk us. We’ve achieved fourth, which means the second leg at home – a theoretical advantage, but it does mean surviving the first leg with the tie still alive. That’ll mean overcoming a hostile home crowd – Derby, having competent owners, fill their stadium and engage with supporters, so we’ll be up against it. And goodness knows that City have gone missing all too often when things get a bit difficult, and have a nasty habit of capitulating when conceding first.
5. It’s hard to guage what we need to do. Away goals don’t count extra, so the imperative to pick one up isn’t there; you’d think that any sort of draw would make City favourites to progress. But do we try to almost end the tie with an away win, as per Watford 2008 – do we dare? Would that risk a heavy defeat we’d struggle to come back from? Is it better to keep it tight and rely on our home form to carry us to Wembley? Steve Bruce has a lot to consider.
6. The bookmakers make City narrow but definite favourites to win the play-offs, despite finishing with a whimper in fourth place. Hmm.
7. This being City, it cannot of course be about on-field issues. There was another significant red card protest against the club’s decision to scrap child and senior concessions. Sadly Ehab Allam continues to lack the guts to attend home games, but did find the time to write nauseatingly smug, error-strewn drivel in the programme attempting to justify the decision to hollow out our support for a generation.
8. Again, it all comes down to the alleged misuse of concessionary tickets at the gate. We wonder if Ehab would like to explain why this issue, which presumably other sporting clubs across the land have also faced, can be solved elsewhere with the retention of discounts, but not here.
9. Friday was the (extended) deadline for keeping your seat, and it appears that City sold just 6,000 memberships by the time it elapsed – compare and contrasts this to 21,000 at Derby, or 15,000 at Huddersfield. The impact on the club is obvious and grave. We’re going to be among the most poorly supported clubs in whichever division we’re in next season. How is that going to attract players to the club?
10. However, there is a serious human cost too. Families are being forced to give up season tickets because of steepling price rises. Senior citizens are having to walk away after decades of support. For those on social media, it made Friday night a thoroughly depressing read as countless stories of distressed City fans being forced out were told. Well done, Allams. Your legacy at the club is the destruction of its support and your reputation in this city is in tatters. For all of our sakes, just go.