Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gretna Make the Grady

Have you got your breath back yet? An incredible afternoon brought the curtain down on an enthralling season of First Division football.

And, at the death, when St Johnstone looked to have secured promotion up popped James Grady to snatch the title for Gretna.

Yes. Gretna will play SPL football next season. We don’t know where or what manager they will have. But all the players and the fans care about is winning. And they’ve done that in the most dramatic way possible.

Four games Gretna had gone without scoring. But in came Grady to grab a double in a three two victory. Ross County fought valiantly but Airdrie United’s victory over Queen of the South consigned them to relegation. Airdrie will now take their chances in the play off.

As I’ve said before Gretna getting promotion raises more questions than it answers. They need a ground, they need more money and better players and – at the moment – they need a manager.

The SPL don’t want them and the feeling persists that not all at Gretna really wanted the SPL.

But they’re there now. And not many people will ever write them off again.

For now though let’s look at the positives: Gretna have secured three promotions in a row and they’ve done it by scoring goals.

And Brook Mileson could not be more different from the usual SPL chairmen who think that romance in football begins and ends with a glass of port whilst reading a balanced set of accounts. Brooks might be the kick up the backside they need.

St Johnstone, of course, will be devastated but Gretna have been rewarded for their early season form. Owen Coyle’s side made a late charge that just wasn’t enough.

And maybe we need the romantic Brook Mileson rather than the pragmatic Saints Chairman Geoff Brown who had this to say before the game:

"When we played Gretna at McDiarmid Park in January they only brought 160 fans. They won't bring many to the party - if they do it then good luck to them.

"I think Brooks Mileson has a dream and he's taken it up and done extremely well. It's his money. But, at the end of the day, it's false.”

Sorry Geoff. You were horribly, horribly wrong. At the end of the day Gretna are very, very real.

Extra: read my post here to see how I wrong I called today’s events.

1 comment:

  1. Much as Gretna's rise through the leagues irritated me (anyone can win divisions three to one if you've got a spare 30mil kicking about), all credit to Rowan Alexander, Davie Irons and especially Brooke Mileson for putting his money where his mouth was.

    If they can develop a fanbase in the Borders, can survive more than a season in SPHell, and develop a proper stadium rather than Raydale's current state, they deserve success.

    My only fear is that they do a Livvy - some cup success, buy in a new team every season, make Europe a couple of times, then see the bubble burst because the fans expect too much.