"Only just offside? More like off the pitch altogether!" wrote a friend in a recent email. Fair comment. With work being incredibly busy, and life being very full (in a good way, including the odd match ... and some of them were a little odd!), I have been sadly neglecting this oasis of football near-sanity for six weeks or so. But with the Easter weekend opening up some space on the wing, I'm back.
So while Dumbarton head off to Forthbank to take on Stirling Albion this afternoon, I'm putting my feet up here in Birmingam, ticking off one or two tasks on my domestic list, and starting to do the back-posting of my columns from Sons View and The Grecian. While watching anxiously for updates on the Sons' fortunes, of course.
Meanwhile, with back-to-back wins against Colchester and Walsall, my ex-local side Exeter City are looking in much better shape to avoid the drop from League One. There's a long way to go, though. After Brentford away, the Grecians take on Leyton Orient at home. I've actually seen the Os more times than City this term, because of my trips to London and my friend Kevin Scully being a devotee. There's an outside chance I'll make it back to Devon for that encounter. I guess I'll be hoping for a draw.
On the other hand, my true beloveds, Dumbarton, who I will next see on the occasion of their last home game, against Arbroath, on 24 April, have had a really up-and-down season: moments of skill and inspiration followed by moments of laxity and indecision, from what I've seen and heard. In the match preview for today's beano with the Binos, the hugely estimable Alan Findlay writes, with loyal and official optimism, that "Sons' battle to claim a first division play-off spot continues." Hmmnn.. well, I'd like to think so, but short of a convincing win this afternoon I fear it's all over, and my longstanding prediction of fifth place remains. We'd have taken that at the outset of the campaign, no question.
This is the score: If Brechin lose today and DFC win, the mighty Sons of the Rock will still be 5 and 6 points short of the Hedgemen and Stirling, with our two nearest play-off rivals holding one and two games in hand respectively. Since there will then be 18 points left for Sons to play for, that's a pretty big gap to overhaul. Possible, if Dumbarton go on the kind of run that won us the Third Division Championship last term, but not a possibility the bookmakers would be losing too much sleep over, I suspect. That said, I'd be delighted to be wrong, wrong wrong (yet again).
Mind you, if Sons do make the play-offs, my fear then would be us getting promoted and finding ourselves financially scuppered. It's a warped old (mind) game.