The Year We Won Nothing
Im saddened to end that great series but life moves on .
I believe it was my partner in crime Majoc who mentioned a very special year on here earlier in the week . A year that we won eff all as a matter of fact . But what a year that was .
2003 would have been special anyway for me as it was to be my last year living “ at home “ back in Belfast . Thus I was also lucky enough to attend a few games that season also and witness that great side , and they were I’ll tell ya . Some managers suffer from 3rd season syndrome but not Martin , his teams were better in their third year , presumably having had more time to garner knowledge of his style of play , which was not for everyone admittedly .
Looking back now it was a hell of a long slog that year and at the end of it I was exhausted myself from merely supporting . There was a buzz in the air that year , three in a row was within grasp and we had more than a few good players and one in particular who was great , and getting better . Lenny had arrived to shore up the midfield and Stan was producing his best form for the club ever .
The entire community seemed to live and breathe those games when I think back . Was hard to get a ticket to attend , the local bars were more packed than normal , and the strips were displayed proudly everywhere you looked . I would hear people singing Celtic songs just going about their daily business. Its easy to say but its so very true , we marched with O’ Neill !
The team really had lifted the spirits of the people and gave us pride in our hearts .
It was the first time I could remember that I didnt care who or where you played , if my team played yours we were going into it confident of not only doing okay but winning the match , and winning well .
Ecks Ebt all stars did the treble that year , and now we all know they werent registered properly or paying tax so it really does stick in my craw writing we won nothing at all .
The League Cup Final stands out for me as a cousin had booked her wedding well in advance and it was only when we reached the final myself and dad realised we werent gonna be watching it due to the ceremony . Wasnt the brides fault , she hadnt a clue , but you could see the signals and nods all afternoon from certain patrons and family members who just had to know .
Hartson missed a pen to take it to extra time but I will never ever hold that against him as just to step up took a big pair , and remember Henrik was on self imposed pen exile at that time .
As for Seville , never watched it again and never will . But as I mentioned earlier I was mentally drained by that stage myself so what must the squad have been like ?
Every 3 or 4 days for months seemed to be a huge must win game that they gave their all for , and time after time we walked out with not only our heads held high but victorious usually due to a certain King of Kings . Henke was almost divine that season , I couldnt ask for more from a man than what he gave . The pressure on him was probably immense but if he felt it he never showed it .
I dont like writing about that final , and their tactics , but I must admit I fancied our chances against everyone we came up against , until we drew Porto . Of course they would be in for a hard game but with the markets they can access , and the heat , I just didnt see it coming off and it didnt .
But that season , that marvelous year , was everything and more a fan could want of their team.
We didnt win one single thing except the things that really count ,,, admiration , hearts and minds , adoration , more fans , and my eternal respect . That was “ the “ year !
I will never forget it .