A few divergent opinions have been aired in these pages of late concerning Waterford United, who look to have come up a little bit short on all competitive fronts this season.

Whatever happens in terms of the First Division play-offs, it’s been a year of small but significant progress on and off the field. From what I’ve seen of them the Blues are just a couple of players shy of being an excellent young side. Hopefully Gavin Henderson, a good manager and a positive, genuine guy, can hang onto the likes of Kenny Browne and Graham Cummins and build a team around them.

There’s a really strong spirit there – not easy to achieve when you’ve to repeatedly go to the well with a small group of largely unappreciated, part-time players in a bitch of a recession – and, as was shown in last Friday’s brave display against an only-marginally superior Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds (where by all accounts the travelling fans and officials were treated shamefully), the players are clearly doing their utmost for ‘the gaffer’, and more importantly he has their backs too.