AT the start of the season despite the bookies predicting Stanley to be relegated (wrong again) I was full of optimism that the Reds would make a push for the top half of the table.

Driving home from Middlesbrough after the second game of the season with a League Cup victory under our belt, my optimism was sky high and rising.

That trip was on the August 6, and we would not win again until October 22 a run of 13 games without victory.

During this period I was lambasted on the terrace for my ever positive columns, constantly repeating the mantra that James Beattie needed time and that the Stanley management team had got the lads playing some great football.

Over the next few weeks we had wonderful victories against Morecambe, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood to name just a few and my air of positivity spread back across even the most pessimistic areas of the Clayton end.

It is hard to give you my favourite game of the season with the cup victory up at Middlesbrough being the best example of Alamo defending I have ever seen while the home victory against Paul Cook’s Chesterfield was men against boys as Stanley thrashed the eventual champions.

However the 5-1 drubbing of our Red Rose rivals Morecambe was the sweetest of all this year’s victories.

My player of the season is a joint award between Tom Aldred and Luke Joyce both of who have shown commitment passion and skill worthy of a much higher stage.

The team as a whole have been simply outstanding and their 15th place in the league is testament to their never say die attitude.

The Stanley clubhouse was awash with rumour about James Beattie at the season end with the Reds boss being linked to higher league clubs.

For what it’s worth I think he will stay for at least another season at the Store First Stadium to once again prove the doubters wrong.