"It is an extraordinary decision, and one that will inspire precious little hope among the already exasperated fans. Those who pay to watch the team play can be forgiven for feeling that they can't suspend their disbelief any longer."
Well, I think that is about that for this season. The only thing we can do now is aim to win the last two matches and hope. My view has always been that we would fall a little short of the play-offs, but it's going to be closer than I thought it might be a few weeks back.
Ultimately, two games in three days where we had to chase the game against technically better sides cost us. Of the two, it's Watford that looks like the biggest missed opportunity to me. We were in the ascendancy and then failed to defend a simple free kick.
The improvement this season on the previous four has been dramatic and the fact we're ultimately a little short of where we want to be should be seen as encouraging rather than disappointing. It is still disappointing obviously, but...
It's telling that nearly every time we've come up against technically better players - QPR, Wigan, Leicester etc - we've been exposed by quick, accurate passing. In comparison, a lot of our attacking play looks crude and laboured.
It's not a coincidence that, whilst the defence has been broadly settled and the strikers largely pick themselves, it has been the midfield that McCarthy has changed constantly. For whatever reasons he's not quite happy with what those players have done.
It's obviously one are that we'll look to reinforce in the Summer but we should be a much more attractive prospect to potential signings than we were a year ago. We have a coherent, hard-working squad a manager and coaching team showing, yet again, how they can improve players but, most importantly, a broadly successful team.
There is a little too much criticism of McCarthy's supposed negativity around at the moment. He knows the limitations of this team better than we do and has worked to maximise that. For all the failings of our midfield this season, we've tried to keep the ball and, at times, have played some decent football. Contrast that with Hyam and N'Daw sat in front of the back four a year ago - that did the job it needed to do and stopped us conceding but it did offer next to nothing going forwards or in terms of continuity of play (i.e. we gave the ball away even more than we do now!).
The oft quoted stat about points dropped from winning positions is a little misleading too - Derby away was a disaster and the matches we've lost after being ahead very disappointing but teams lose 1-0 leads all the time, it really shouldn't be anything to get too worked up about.
We should all be broadly happy with this season, but equally well aware that we need to improve significantly in certain areas to be able to match this season's performance consistently. Off course, it isn't quite all over yet and a win on Saturday would set up another of those manic last days we came to love and hate in equal measure 15 or so years ago.
Most importantly though, it's nice to have a team we can be proud of again. It really is.
I'm not sure when Town fans were last this excited going into a match or when demand for tickets was so frequent,
I just want the team to put in the right performances now and keep this going, given Watford's home form a point wouldn't be dreadful but if have all three I'm going to be very happy at five pm. Don't think I'll be the only one.