The 2023 season won't go down in Edinburgh Monarchs folkore that's for sure
A sixth-place finish was enough to seal a coveted play-off berth, the sole objective prior to this season's league curtain-raiser against Redcar in May. Fast forward almost five months and sadly that's as good as it got despite hopes of an upturn in fortune these past few weeks.
Tonight's visit of Grand Finalists the Poole Pirates will conclude a turbulent year for the club - and not a particularly enjoyable one.
I can't recall a more frustrating, downbeat season in my time following the club and I think most supporters would agree. The fans had become accustomed to turning up at Armadale on a Friday expecting nothing less than a win. Those triumphs have been few and far between with just four from 12 in all competitions this year.
For one reason or another, some outwith the Monarchs' control, any early optimism quickly evaporated. Little did we know that the unforeseen loss at home to Berwick in the BSN Series was a sign of things to come.
Notwithstanding a catalogue of injuries, coupled with some hugely disappointing performances on the track, the stop-start nature of the league campaign really was the final nail in the coffin.
Sure, had the club not exited the Knockout Cup at the first hurdle or qualified from the Northern section of the inaugural BSN Series, then there just might have been another couple of meetings to add to our personal diaries.
The riders have given their all to the crest on their chest - that isn't up for debate. But sometimes you have to put your hands up and concede it simply hasn't been good enough.
There's sure to be a lot of attention on British speedway this winter with so much uncertainty surrounding the landscape for the 2024 season. With Premiership duo Wolverhampton and Peterborough not running and Plymouth's future in the Championship also unclear, a proposed merger of the top two leagues appears to be on the tip of everyone's tongues. There hasn't been any indication from Monarchs officials that Armadale won't be available next year. You only have to cast your mind back 12 months ago when the field for the Farewell meeting was being finalised. Despite an unflattering season on the shale, at least we still have our Monarchs!