I apologise for the quite frankly sloth-like manner in which it has taken me to get round to rounding up the season, but in my defence it was largely not my fault.
o here we have the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the longest campaign known to man, woman, beast or any combination of the aforementioned.
A is for Anti-climax: It was all looking so good; seven games to go and what had been the best title race since, well, the last one was entering a final, fascinating straight. And then... I fear that in years to come no one will remember what happened on the pitch, just the horrors off it - and I don't mean Gary Hamilton's beard.
B is for Blues: So title No.54 for Linfield (checks to see * is still working) and well done to them, without a doubt the best team over 31 games there has been, and now, seemingly, carrying on that good work in Europe by moving to the next stage without kicking a ball. Nice work if you can get it.
C is for Cash-flow: They say beware the wounded tiger and Stephen Baxter's Crusaders will be a very miffed moggy. Things started well with a win in Europe but after that it was all downhill. The league challenge fizzled out long before the end, they relinquished their hold on the Irish Cup and Co Antrim Shield, lost out in the final of the League Cup to Coleraine and missed out on Europe. It will be interesting to see how that will impact on their semi-pro development.
D is for Dithering: NIFL do a lot of good work, much of it unnoticed and unheralded, but the way things have been handled since footballing life ground to a shuddering halt in March has been nothing short of shambolic. Far too much dithering - mind you, not helped by clubs intent on feathering their own nests - and they took far too long to eventually do nothing, and the recriminations and bitterness won't go away quickly.
E is for Eerie: Football ended and started again in the blink of an eye as the IFA suddenly became effective by getting the Irish Cup finished. The semi-finals were played in a strange post-apocalyptic atmosphere, a bit like watching an Institute game any week, but the final when 500 fans were allowed in was a cracker. Should have been a lot more, but well done for getting it done and to BBC NI for their superb coverage over the four-day mini-season.
F is for Fledglings: Typical, you let Mark Sykes spread his wings and suddenly all the fledglings are taking flight. Josh Daniels and Joel Cooper will be a massive loss not just to Glenavon and Linfield but the league as a whole, and we will miss their wing wizardry. Blues babes Charlie Allen and Dale Taylor are also off to pastures new and will be joined by a trio from the Glens in Charlie Lindsay, Caolan McBride and Matthew Carson. Good luck young men.
G is for Glens: More ups and downs than Zebedee (hang on, should have kept that for Z) on a pogo stick, on a trampoline, sitting on a bouncy castle, the Glens are back. In fairness, they should be, seeing as they have a millionaire's backing, which I find is very handy, but what a boost it is for the local game to have the beast from the east growling again. And after everything Marcus Kane has been through, it was fitting that he got to lift the Irish Cup.
H is for Hardy: And talking of that, Paul Hardy's place in Ballymena United folklore is safe for another year as the seasons of hurt will tick onto 32 by the time of the next Irish Cup final, year yet to be confirmed. A season of 12 months for the Sky Blues, David Jeffrey guiding them to a European win for the first time in the club's history, but coming up just short against the Glens and in the Co Antrim Shield final. Those defeats hurt, but not as much as decades of not competing.
I is for Injustice: I know I had a wee dig at Stute earlier, but the way they have been treated by the powers-that-be is nothing short of shameful. Okay, they didn't damage a lot of delph for the vast majority of the season, but to be cast asunder (like the PSNI in the Championship) while other clubs looked awkwardly down at their slip-ons doesn't sit well. There should have been no relegation. End of.
J is for Jamie: Okay, I know I give the Blues a fair bit of stick, most of it warranted, but one man is always exempt from this. Mr Mulgrew is a class act on and off the pitch, and his level of performance week in, week out is simply staggering. Passing Noel Bailie's European appearances landmark is yet another one to add to the citation of achievements that will see him go down as one of the Windsor Park greats.
K is for Kris: With everything else going on, or not as the case was, a two-year extension for Kris Lindsay at Dungannon Swifts was a welcome development. His hair may be sheughwater-blonde but the future of the Swifts is rosy in his hands. Relegation was never entertained and with the likes of Dixie Robinson and Terry Fitzpatrick by his side, the future looks bright at Stangmore.
L is for Larne: The Tiger King of local football, you wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Exotic dandering out at Inver Park given the extraordinary things that have happened there in recent times. Unlike the cage of our striped chums, Larne have been a breath of fresh air on their return, a sixth-place finish (about the only thing I got right in my predictions at the start of the campaign) in the league was the next step for a club that should now be the template for how to do things.
M is for Paddy: A first trophy for Paddy McLaughlin at Cliftonville didn't look very likely as with two minutes to go they trailed Ballymena United 1-0 in the Shield final at Windsor Park. Then all hell broke loose, two goals in the blink of an eye and despair turned to joy for the Reds. He has added some steel and parsimony to the freestyling goal machine and that can only augur well for the future at Solitude.
N is for Nicky: Great to see Colin Nixon back in the dug-out, although I probably wouldn't have had Dundela down as his first port of call after his pathetic treatment in being shown the door by Ards. He has wasted no time in bringing in some cracking signings, as the likes of Kyle Owens, Johnny Taylor and Willie Faulkner will make them real contenders, and no one will relish a trip to Wilgar Park next season.
O is for Oran: Ian Holloway once famously said if he fell into a barrel of boobs he'd come out sucking a thumb, but you get the feeling if the barrel was sitting on the Ballycastle Road, Oran Kearney would have no such problems. The League Cup pocketed, they were robbed of the chance to add the Gibson Cup through no fault of their own, and those who said you should never go back now just look on with envy at the barrel.
P is for Ports: It has taken a lot longer than they would have hoped but Portadown are back in the big time, albeit with a wee helping hand. Like the Glens, we need the Ports in the top division and we can now all stop trying to pretend that Glenavon v Dungannon Swifts is what Boxing Day was made for. Mind you, it is Portadown, so calamity is never far away - watch this space.
Q is for Qarabag: So near and yet so far. Linfield came so tantalisingly close to reaching the Europa League group stages, going out on away goals to Azerbaijan's finest. But for the consolation of that late penalty in the first leg they could have landed a £4m jackpot, so maybe it was a good job for everyone else they didn't get through - but what a magnificent effort.
R is for Rangers: Going to make this one short and sweet. Niall Currie has done an extraordinary job at Carrick. To finish eighth on their return to the top division is remarkable. Can't wait for him to take them to Shamrock Park.
S is for Snowy: Player of the season for me has to be Aaron Canning of Coleraine. The first name on the team-sheet, he is a rock at the back and a constant threat at the other end. Other notables to mention are Mr Mulgrew (obviously), Joel Cooper, Conor McMenamin, Stephen Lowry, Andy Waterworth and Robbie McDaid.
T is for Tommy: It seems incredible that it has been a year since the untimely passing of Cliftonville legend Tommy Breslin. Hard to believe he is no longer with us, the game isn't the same without him.
U is for Uni: Back at the start of the year, Linfield tumbled out of the Irish Cup with one of the competition's biggest ever shocks, the Blues humbled by my old alma mater Queen's University and some eejits even called for the head of David Healy. They have nice, padded rooms for these people.
V is for Very Strange: Football is indeed an odd thing. How can Glenavon lose 7-0 and 8-1 to Linfield but then win 1-0 in between times? The wonderful conundrum that is Irish League football.
W is for Point: Sad to see Stephen McDonnell losing his job at Warrenpoint, an awfully nice and talented young chap, but good to have Barry Gray back where he belongs. His post-match honesty come win, lose or draw is fabulous.
X is for X-rated: As I mentioned earlier, the BBC did a great job on covering the Irish Cup, but unfortunately they were too good as they caught out Eoin Bradley being caught short before extra-time in the semi-final. I hope they don't ban him for six games as is being mooted, that would just be taking the...
Y is for Yeoooohhh: And talking of piddling on a parade, how to steal limelight in one easy lesson. Navid Nasseri wins the Irish Cup for Glentoran and 14 hours later is unveiled as a Linfield player, and to rub more salt into the wounds they also added (Conor) Pepper. Job well done.
Z is for Zest for life: The old guard continuing to show what playing means to them. Great to see Elliott Morris signing a new deal at Glentoran, Mr Mulgrew seems ageless, Sean Ward and Colin Coates given a new lease of life at Glenavon and Jim Ervin is a phenomenon. And no need to mention zebras or Zeke Rowe this year.