Many congratulations to you and the lads, Gaffer. What a wonderful way to end the season. You must be delighted. How about sharing your match thoughts. I'm sure The Bears would love to hear them.
"Aye, we're all absolutely chuffed! My thoughts? Well, let's see. I tried to work out what The Dons might do and agonised for some time over my choice of line-up and tactics. 4-2-4 would have meant an open game which would have suited our attacking style so I dismissed that. 4-3-3 was similarly dismissed and I settled on the 5-2-3 Aberdon used in their quarter final against MVV. I had toyed with the idea of using 5-2-3 myself but Spackman's injury the night before ended that possibility. I therefore went with our standard 4-2-4."
Yes, Gaffer, I think most of us expected that. However, you did surprise us by starting four at aggression "a".
"Aye, I didn't want to use any aggression as I feared that the MRP would shred us, especially after what happened in the Evolution Final! However, I was concerned that Aberdon would play aggressively and I didn't want to lose our possession advantage. I didn't think they'd go ten aggressive but it was very possible that they might go five, as they had against MVV in the quarter final. I therefore chose four aggressive specifically to counter that."
Ah, that's what was behind that decision. So what were your thoughts as the game began?
"Well, when I saw that Aberdon had gone all normal in a 5-3-2 formation, my heart sank. I desperately wished I could have hit a reset button to go all normal ourselves. There was nothing I could do so I just had to sit and watch events unfold. I was pleased with our initial possession advantage (8.2 to 2.1%). We were creating chances but not many were converting into shots, and those that did were being saved by Ward. On the plus side, the defence was doing a great job of protecting Woodsy and the big man was more or less redundant. All we needed was to score but 3 minutes from half time, the MRP kicked us in the teeth. Prso was sent off and Aberdon were given a penalty goal. No, I'm not going to say any more about that...."
After what happened on Friday night in the Evolution Final the bookies had stopped taking bets on Aberdon getting a penalty goal so not many were surprised, Gaffer. What about the second half.
"Again I cringed as some of my conditional instructions kicked in because we were a goal down and we went 8 aggressive. We didn't really need it as we still had the possession advantage without Prso. The second half followed the same pattern as the first and we just couldn't score. I thought it was going to be one of those days, then Dukey equalised after 72 minutes. Boy was I relieved! With 10 minutes to go, Aberdon pressed us, and our possession advantage just continued to rise as they tired. I thought to myself that surely, we must score now, and Juke-Box did two minutes from time. I couldn't watch the last two minutes as I was convinced that something terrible was going to happen."
Well, it didn't Gaffer, and the cup was ours! How did you feel when the final whistle blew?
"I think relief and elation in equal measures. I felt drained!"
Many thanks for your thoughts, Gaffer. Well Bears, The Gers have now joined that select band of clubs who have won The Manager Cup more than once. Can the Gaffer make it three next season?
Till next time...........Enjoy your close season and let's hope next season is as fruitful as this one!