I HATE to say that "I told you so", but the Cougars’ relegation has come to pass.

Yes, the relegation was by the finest of margins; just three points on the points difference tally. Just one more try or just two goals scored over the whole season would have saved Keighley’s skin. Had Halifax not scored their last-minute drop goal last week, the Cougars would have been spared.

These are fine margins indeed, but the harsh reality is that League One beckons and the feelgood factor from last season’s promotion has gone completely.

It needn’t have come to this. When Rhys Lovegrove was sacked as head coach back in May, you published my letter which questioned the decision and suggested that it may well turn out to be wrong. Sadly, this is the case. The decision was flawed but equally damaging in my view was the fact that it took around eight weeks to find a replacement in Matt Foster. Sacking a coach seemingly with no idea as to who would replace him seems remarkably short-sighted. Equally so, letting better quality players like Gale, Crooks, Santi and Chisolm leave without adequate replacement. It is no use relying on young and inexperienced short-term loanees from other clubs.

Matt has improved the team’s performances since he took over, this is especially so in recent weeks as he has been able to put his stamp on the team. Sadly, the damage had already been done in the period when game after game were lost, often by big scores. No one can know with certainty, but I remain convinced that this would have been very unlikely to have happened under Lovegrove.

Back in May I questioned just what the club was expecting following its promotion to the championship. The team was mid table and holding its own. This may well sound harsh, but as you are the decision makers, this is on you Messrs O’Neill and Garcia. The words ‘be careful what you wish for’ come to mind. I sincerely hope that lessons will be learned as the relegation has set the club back significantly. It is a long way back from here and I am not looking forward one bit to watching the standard of rugby offered in League One. It is, frankly, poor and I imagine that several of the club’s better players will receive offers to move on to other clubs.

I accept that there has been a need to spend time on the IMG proposals for the game and I agree that they are unfair. That said, looking in, it seems to me that any plans for this season were discarded irrationally and incrementally. The fans have been let down as has the town. A successful Cougars is good for the town and the area; this avoidable scenario is the very opposite.

Andy Rollinson, Crossflatts