January â€“ the sale of Fox in the transfer window was bad enough, but to double the pain by dropping Dann off at Coventry in the last hour was shocking news. That piece of ‘business’ killed our season, and killed Moneyâ€™s interest in our club.
February â€“ the ongoing saga of Ricketts dominated, with contract negotiations failing. This was also the month Roy Whalley told a focus group meeting that getting into the Championship for 2009/2010 was a top priority for the club due to the new TV deal.
March/April â€“ results drop off, our promotion campaign goes into a tailspin, and Money resigns, shortly after making public comments (since repeated in the North East) about his expectations not being met by the club.
May â€“ the search for a new manager is ongoing. Thereâ€™s many applications, up to five serious contenders, but only one man for the job. Jimmy Mullen. Unfortunately David Kelly turned the club down on learning he’d have to work with Mullen as his number 2 if he took the manager’s position. Bonser does his 20th anniversary interview for the Express & Star, resulting in the infamous “and why shouldn’t I?” quip. Other comments from Bonser’s press offensive include the “go and support Luton, Bournemouth or Rotherham” broadside.
June/July â€“ despite the obvious deficiencies we wait in vain for a new centre half and quality central midfielder. In fact, we wait in vain for a squad to be assembled at all, contrasting sharply with 12 months earlier, when preseason was underway early and the players at least fit for day one.
August â€“ finally, a squad. To be fair, most everyoneâ€™s happy, except for the obvious deficiencies in cover at the back and in midfield. Gerrardâ€™s transfer request was a surprise, but this time Bonser didnâ€™t cash in. Cup disaster at the hands of Darlington didnâ€™t help, and as early as this it was commented that Palmer isnâ€™t League One standard.
September â€“ the Supportersâ€™ trust gets in on the act, as the three leading board members all tender their resignations in the face of increasing apathy (is that possible?). Poor performances and mixed results on the pitch make for fan rumblings.
October â€“ For the first time Mullen had his full squad available for a game. It resulted in the shambolic Hartlepool match and his tactical awareness came under increasing criticism. To be fair he was redeemed at Leicester, although Leeds took the gloss off. Thereâ€™s increasing calls to use the loan market for centre half cover and some midfield depth.
November â€“ Ishy sacked. â€˜nuff said. We enter the loan market, still short of defensive cover and a midfielder, and get a spare keeper. Mullen reckons heâ€™s rung everyone in the country but nobody wants to talk to him. Wonder why. MK Dons turn up and ruin the family day, although Mullen did a good job of doing that on his own, sending out a 451 at home with no left-footed players. An ugly win at Colchester provides the points for the month.
December â€“ calls reach a crescendo â€“ Mullen out, they say. We agree. 2008 has been a shambles. Can we hope for a happier New Year?