So near yet so far for Dean Thomas and his Poppies.
But what an achievement it’s been for the club this year.
For the past two-and-a-half years or so on the Connect FM Sports Show, I would sit talking to our Kettering Town FC pundits about where the club was heading and the answer seemed to be the same every time – it would be a miracle if they still existed by next week.
There was a period of a few weeks where no matches were played at all and then suddenly, last summer, a new board came in, found the Poppies a home at Latimer Park and fans dared to dream that a brighter future could be around the corner.
It seems odd that just over a decade ago I was commentating on Kettering vs Rushden matches with both teams vying for a place in the football league.
The Poppies missed out on promotion this year by a whisker but considering everything the club and the fans have had to endure over the past few years, it’s still a great outcome.
There’s no such thing as a dull football season in Northamptonshire any more.
Last year the Cobblers made it to Wembley, this year they only survived in the Football League at the very end of the campaign.
The Steelmen’s season was dominated by off-the-field problems and our immediately local teams have been mid-table wonders in the United Counties League.
Working as a sports reporter I’ve spent as much time at local matches as I have at Premier League grounds and I have always preferred the atmosphere and admired the dedication of the fans.
When I had the time, I used to attend Rushden & Diamonds matches religiously and I hope their halcyon days of local footy will come again.
In the meantime we have the World Cup in Brazil – and I’m happy to bet you anything it won’t be as exciting as a local season!