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They were the best and worst of times for me - Randolph; Darren keen to focus on the positives.

Byline: Colin Tattum Our man with Blues

Darren Randolph has declared himself satised with his debut season at Blues.

But he said the 'lowest of the low' would stick with him and his team-mates for the rest of their careers.

Escaping relegation to League One by the skin of their teeth was something to jolt Blues and use as motivation in the next few years.

Randolph was brought in on a Bosman by Lee Clark last summer to replace Jack Butland and, by and large, proved himself among the best goalkeepers in the Championship.

"Personally it has gone well," said Randolph who, puzzlingly, has not won regular international favour with Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.

"I still look at parts where I wish I could turn back the clock and do things dierently.

"But, overall, I will take the positives from it.

"It has been a great rst season for me and I can't thank everyone enough for the support - the rest of the players, the sta, the fans.

"ey have made it easy for me to t in here, feel comfortable and go about my business."

A contender for player of the season, Randolph won the award voted for by Junior Blues.

"I am just happy to kind of contribute to the team, do my part and try to achieve some success," he said.

FROM. BACK PAGE getting a win or whatever, then that's my job. A striker's job is to score goals, mine is to make saves. It is what I am paid to do.

"As for the team - - survival, we are staying in the league. That was what mattered in the end. Like the manager has said, it was probably one of the best days of our careers as players (at Bolton Wanderers on the last weekend).

"But he also said before the game - - and this has stuck with me - - let it be the lowest we are ever going to be, ever going to play.

"I would like to think everybody will take that statement and go with it, use it as motivation, for next season and beyond.

"So, where we did finish, what happened, will hopefully be the lowest anybody on that team will experience for the rest of their careers."

Randolph admitted his mind began to race after he allowed a Lukas Jutkiewicz blast past him at the near post that put Bolton 2-0 in command with just 14 minutes to go.

"What was I thinking? Shoot me,'' he said.

"I wanted just to vanish away. I was fearing, while the game was still going on, the worst.

"I was thinking about myself, family, team-mates, staff, fans, people who have been at the club for years, losing their jobs. It was horrible, we were on the verge of being relegated.

"We scored the first one and then you are wishing and wishing. I took off running when we scored again, the equaliser, the celebrations were crazy.

"And I don't know if anyone knew it, but for the last three minutes after that I was just crying, I couldn't stop, just the emotions.

"It was the worst day and the best day, all in one. Unless you were there and involved, you can't really explain to anyone.

"The feeling afterwards was something I will never get sick of. The way we managed to go about our business and stay in the league."

"If I managed to play a part in us TURN. TO PAGE 61

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An emotional Darren Randolph |during the Bolton game.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 15, 2014
Words:588
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