And so the big day is almost here for Northampton Town – a day of destiny.
As an interested observer from afar (well, a few miles north of the town anyway) I am intrigued to see how the story ends for Aidy Boothroyd and his Cobblers side.
I, like anyone who is keen supporter of football in Northamptonshire, want to see them finish the job at Wembley tomorrow afternoon.
As you would expect, there seems to be a feeling of quiet confidence about Boothroyd and his team. And why shouldn’t there be?
When you consider where they have come from in the last year or so, this season has been outstanding and now it needs rounding off in style.
And, for me, Boothroyd holds the key. We can talk all day about Bradford City’s quality and the fact they have already been to Wembley this season after a stunning run in the Capital One Cup.
But when it comes to experience, the Cobblers boss has done it all. He knows how to get a side promoted through the play-offs – he did it with Watford in the biggest one of all as he led them to the Premier League.
And his experience has come to the fore since the extended season got under way.
The good thing about Boothroyd is that he finds a way to win, he knows what it takes to get the job done.
The similarities between tomorrow’s showdown with Bradford at the semi-finals with Cheltenham Town are there for all to see.
The Cobblers hadn’t beaten the Robins in the regular campaign – they beat them twice in the play-offs. And the Cobblers didn’t beat Bradford during the League Two season – big deal. It means nothing.
It may not be pretty tomorrow. There isn’t a great deal between the two sides, it will be nervy, it will be edgy. It is very rare that big finals produce classic football matches.
The important thing about this one-off clash is finding a way to win, no matter what. And when it comes to that sort of scenario, Boothroyd looks to me as if he is right at home.
And he will, no doubt, ensure his players remember the golden rule about a Wembley final – remember there is a game to play.
The build-up, as you would expect, has been relentless. The town seems to be buzzing (I am sure the Saints have played their part in that as well), flags and scarves are being purchased at record rates and at least four times the normal number of people for a Sixfields home game will be heading down the M1 to roar them on.
The hysteria is always there for this sort of occasion but it is important for the players to remember that their job is to go and win one more game.
The last thing any of them should do is get caught up in the moment and freeze on the big stage. Again, I am certain that Boothroyd will have them nice and relaxed and focused on the job ahead.
This season has been a miserable one in our area of north Northamptonshire when it comes to football. Yet, if you include Brackley Town’s excellent campaign in the Blue Square Bet North, things seem to be flourishing a few miles further south.
So, from one end of the County to the other, I wish the Cobblers the very best of luck for tomorrow.
And if you could share a bit of your success with those of us up here, it would be greatly appreciated!