Disappointment, perspective and continued progress
Twenty-four hours on from the final whistle, I am writing these notes with a lingering sense of disappointment.
I am disappointed for our fans that we lost and were not able to bring our fantastic supporters - over 30,000 in attendance again - the spectacle of lifting a trophy at Wembley.
I am equally disappointed for Michael Appleton, the coaching staff and the players - a group for whom I have the true respect and admiration - as the team did not do themselves justice and, for once, our performance was not of the quality which has characterised us over the past three seasons.
However, deep disappointment only really arises if you have deep feelings of attachment and the emotions that all of us are going through right now are evidence of the deep affection that we have for our wonderful club.
It is this realisation that allows our sense of disappointment to be overcome very quickly by our sense of satisfaction in our progress under Michael Appleton so far and a sense of anticipation about the future and what we can still achieve together.
I am reminded of one of Martin Luther King's famous quotes about success and disappointment:
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope"
Life is about dealing with disappointment and showing the resilience and the strength of character to come back stronger.
As a club and a group of people we have adopted the mantra: we win together and we lose together. This spirit of unity was in abundant evidence at the post-match reception where all club staff and sponsors came together. The expression of mutual support and collective desire to move forward with renewed commitment together was truly uplifting!
I have absolutely no doubt that Michael Appleton, football staff and the players will use the experience to come back stronger and the loss at Wembley will be viewed as a blip on our continued progress towards our ultimate ambition of becoming a competitive Championship club.
So, it is time to dust ourselves down and put the disappointment behind us - dwelling on it serves no positive purpose as we attack the final six games of the season.
We still have a shot, albeit slim, of reaching the play-offs and tonight's game against Fleetwood provides us with the opportunity to bounce back positively against a team who have their own promotion ambitions.
This is also an opportunity for supporters to show their unity and their unwavering support for the team who have delivered so many high points this season. This relationship has been at the heart of our success and must be the foundation of our continued progress.
I would like to thank the hundreds of fans who have sent messages of support to me, Michael and the team. It is your sense of perspective that makes us even more committed to deliver the success you deserve.
It has been a relentless season - a consequence of success of all fronts - but I believe that we will use the disappointment of Sunday to learn the right lessons as a group and to put the experience to good use for the remainder of this season and as we turn our attention to pre-season and planning for 2017/18.
Writing these notes has, indeed, helped me regain my own sense of perspective. We have much to look forward to together.
It seems appropriate to finish with a final quote:
Don't let today's disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow's dreams.
Thanks to everyone for your wonderful support and let's now look forward with renewed purpose and a stronger sense of togetherness.
Best wishes and COYY!