OPINION: Are good times just around the corner for Grimsby Town?
REMEMBER 1998? That fabled season when the Mariners did the league and cup double. When Town went to Wembley for the first time in their history and then repeated the act, remaining unbeaten at the home of football?
Well, I began to get that 1998 feeling at Blundell Park on Tuesday night. That hint that something memorable might be about to happen to our much-loved football club.
I'm sure I was not alone with those thoughts among a hard core of 2,700 fans who witnessed a performance of real authority against Luton.
Are we being irrational? Are we exhibiting classic signs of delusion? Of course it's early days, of course we've won nothing yet. And Conference and FA Trophy football are nowhere near the level we were competing at when Wayne Burnett wrote himself into Mariners history books with that instinctive far post flick at the Twin Towers.
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But having been starved of any tangible success in the 15 years since they made those two mass migrations to the capital, I'm sure Town fans will embrace the tantalising twin prospects of promotion and a Wembley cup triumph once again.
They've waited a long time. They've been through the disappointment of three relegation seasons, the embarrassment of going out of the Football League and the sheer frustration of just treading water in the Conference.
They suffered a real kick in the teeth in 2006 when Russell Slade's side, having dropped out of the automatic promotion spots at the death, then blew the League Two Play-Off final at the Millennium Stadium. And they flocked to Wembley more in hope than expectation in 2008 when Alan Buckley somehow took an average side all the way to the final of the Football League Trophy where they were well beaten by MK Dons.
But loyalty to Town remains. Active support may be a fraction of the near-30,000 who twice celebrated in London in 98, but the missing majority still has the club at heart. The attraction of a winning side could yet chisel them away from Jeff Stelling or Tesco's on a Saturday afternoon.
That passive majority may still wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, it's simply that the Mariners' joint bosses have assembled a pretty good team at this level, with the emphasis on that word team. It's still somewhat embryonic, it needs cover in certain positions, but the signs are there.
A defence as mean as they come, a midfield that can compete and play football, wingers who attack and strikers who rejoice in scoring goals.
Luton, of course, had just dumped Premiership Norwich out of the FA Cup. They put out a strong side on a horrid, stormy night. They had a nailed-on penalty claim turned down, the sort that would have given Alex Ferguson apoplexy, but the Mariners eventually wore them down.
It could be argued that goals from two free-kicks and a deflection hardly signify a side running riot, but goals don't always come from the best moves. Swansea may be miles apart from Stoke in their footballing philosophy, but their fans would still prefer a goal off a defender's backside to an eight-man move culminating in a shot coming back off the woodwork.
No, it wasn't the goals. It was the way Town went about their task. Above and beyond the component parts is a side with real desire. And that is what gives me hope that the long wait could soon be over.