At this time of the year, my interest in what’s now termed the Championship increases a lot – the playoff final, in particular, is one of my favourite fixtures of the year. But there’s a depressing aspect too. You see the one match I ever saw at Wembley was a playoff final between my beloved Bristol Rovers and Huddersfield, for a place in this division, nine years ago. We were 2-1 down with a couple of minutes left when Marcus Stewart hit the woodwork. That was the end of our fightback. Huddersfield went up, we didn’t. We sold them Stewart in the close season, and we’ve been sliding downwards ever since. No money, no success, so we’ve been selling our best players regularly – most of them strikers. And they’ve all ended up in the Championship.

Jamie Cureton did well for a while at Reading, but has had less success at QPR (5 goals this year). Barry Hayles had a good top-level run with Fulham, and has scored 12 for Millwall this season. But watching Sky last night and as I write, two big games feature four ex-Rovers strikers. Last night Bobby Zamora, briefly at Spurs, now at West Ham (9 goals this season), and Marcus Stewart, who had one dazzling Premiership season at Ipswich, and has 17 for champs Sunderland this year. Today Wigan might join Sunderland in promotion, thanks to their great strike partnership of Jason Roberts (some top-tier experience with WBA, 19 goals) and Jason Ellington, with 23 the division’s top scorer.

I like to see ex-Rovers players do well – I enjoyed seeing three in the top division at once, for a while – but it is frustrating and rather bitter to look at us, lower half of the fourth level, more draws than anyone else this year, and imagine how things might be different if we had been able to hold on to just one or two of these players. Our top scorer this season is the gloriously named Junior Agogo, with 19 – maybe he’ll be playing two levels higher in the future too. I only wish I could believe that would be with us.