The most extreme optimist in me anticipated making an apology to you this weekend. I had a few invites to Old Trafford for the Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers match, but I chose one that didn't include any of you. I chose instead to go with a mate in an executive box, have a few drinks, have a chinwag and had all the best intentions of witnessing a good match. So, in the back of my mind I had that pang of guilt that you might miss out on the one game when Rovers sprung a surprise. Fat chance.
In life we all have choices. I hope you feel you have had the choice of football team to support. Three of you have followed my preference with great enthusiasm. One of you isn't bothered at all and one of you has bravely chosen to support another team entirely. In doing so that declaration comes with baggage. In this case, you support a team that has been battered by the team that most of your mates at school support. Because of that choice you will have to face all manner of jibes at school on Monday. Sorry.
I hope I've always been honest and realistic about what Rovers means to me and what it can mean to you too. A "small town in Europe" has been as good as it's got for us in your lifetimes. And some semi-finals. Brave, plucky, occasionally surprising, but always dogged and honest. I see some of that in the way the two keenest Rovers fans amongst you play football. Never fear anyone, stand up to bullies and give all you've got.
Oh dear. The Rovers performance at Old Trafford had none of that. Instead it was awestruck, gutless, leaderless, incompetent, weak, defeated, pitiful and humiliating. Sorry.
All I can say is that it's the worst I've ever seen. I first saw Rovers in 1975. I've been going regularly since 1977. The previous worst result was a 6-0 defeat at Manchester City in 1983, but that was a one-off, we had a good season that year and finished sixth in Division 2. I can't promise a bright future, but it will get better. Stick with it.