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Back from the brink

Posted on 2 June 2011  - 12:00

The lads look back on the Young Boys experience that could have made our season so different...

Back from the brink

Recalling the moments that made the 2010-11 season throughout the summer on

Our run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in our first time in the competition last season will live long in the memory – but how different things could have been!

Cast your minds back to Tuesday August 17 when after half an hour of our qualifier with Young Boys the dream looked over before it had barely started.

We found ourselves 3-0 down against the Swiss side and struggling to come to terms with their relentless attacks – as well as an artificial surface.

Captain on the night Michael Dawson recalls: “Young Boys was certainly an eye-opener and an experience.

“After being 3-0 down after half an hour we looked down and out with all the hard work we’d put in the season before nearly all over in 30 minutes.”

Gareth Bale was certainly not finding the going as good as he was to in the months that were to follow that night at the Stade De Suisse, and added: “It was a slow start, I don’t think anybody expected it.

“It was on an astro-turf pitch but in a way it gave us the kick up the bum we might have needed for the rest of the season. We grew from there, built from there and created our season as we did.”

Indeed, a goal on the stroke of half-time from Sebastien Bassong followed by Roman Pavlyuchenko’s late strike gave us hope going into the return leg at White Hart Lane the following week.

Cue Peter Crouch. The big man gave us all an indicator as to what was to come from him over the course of a competition with a hat-trick in a 4-0 second leg win.

He said: “Getting in the Champions League was such a big achievement the season before and I think we’d have really let ourselves down if we’d went and lost to Young Boys.

“The second leg was great for me. I remember before the game there were quite a few nerves, thinking we might not make the group stages, so to get an early goal, to get a hat-trick and get through was a dream come true – it was brilliant.”

In summing up that rollercoaster ride that kicked off our campaign, ‘Daws’ adds: “We had a few highs and lows over the season and it’s all learning curves - but not nice learning curves when you’re in that position and it’s only yourselves who can get you out of trouble.

“Hopefully those experiences will stand us in good stead for the future.”