Once a year in every football fans life comes the first Saturday after seasons end. It’s an unusual time for the thousands of us used to getting up early to stalk Leeds United around the country and the tens of thousands more whose lives are distracted for two hours whilst the game is on, desperately awaiting news of Leeds’ fate.

The irrational love of a person for his (or her) football team often means it takes over our lives, and when the season draws to a close, we’re left with an extra day in the week we somehow have to fill.

Some fans probably have a list of house work that they’ve been putting off and plan to get done before the next season starts. Others may use their free day to catch up with family and friends they neglect for nine months each year, but I imagine there’s just as many of us who never see the end coming; Who never make plans for the summer, and who are now sat around scratching their heads, compulsively checking the various Leeds United sites for any news worthy of providing them with that fix of football they desperately crave.

This inevitable silence that greets us at the end of each season is also filled with reflection. A time to look back at what we’ve achieved and celebrate. It’s not often these days that a season finishes with Leeds United making progress, but this summer is an happier one thanks to Jonny Howson and Jermaine Beckford’s goals that sent us up.

Here at TSS, I’m one of those poor souls who never sees the end coming and I’m now desperately trying to fill the gap football has left. Luckily this year is a World Cup one, so I’ll have something to watch for a couple of weeks before England go out in the second round with Wayne Rooney being rushed to hospital after breaking a tiny bone in his foot. Even England’s inevitable failure is something that can’t come soon enough though – last week I found myself volunteering to work on a Saturday. Something I’d usually consider treason.

If nothing else, the summer provides a time for reflection. Here at TSS, it’s been a great first year of growth for the site with thousands of you checking in daily to read, share and interact.

From day one, I wanted TSS to have an open door policy to its guests. I wanted a site where the news wasn’t just digested and commented on by myself, but where others could comment on the latest goings on – whether they agreed with my own particular opinion or not. With that in mind, the comments on TSS have been unmoderated from the off and whilst there’s been the occasional idiot hell-bent on disturbing the peace, the site has grown into a community of like-minded fans who seldom agree, but always offer reasonable debate.

The social element of TSS has no doubt been boosted by the fan pages set up on Twitter and Facebook. With everyone’s lives now shared between the numerous social networking sites across the net, I knew it was important to have The Scratching Shed featured on them and I’ve tried to link the main site with social networks wherever possible.

Since the start of the season, I’ve added a feature to allow Facebook users to login using their FB account. I’ve used the Twitter account wherever possible to post live updates from matches and I’ve also posted links to each and every post on both TSS’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

All of this has provided a steady flow of traffic from the social networking sites, which is why I’ve focused my attention on improving the integration between them. Yesterday I added a FB ‘like’ button to the bottom of all the posts on TSS, which when clicked, puts a link on your profile saying ‘NAME likes TITLE OF POST‘ and also increases the number next to the button below. If any of your Facebook friends have ‘liked’ the post, it will show their name instead of (or alongside) a number. (eg, Joe Bloggs and 3 other people like this)

There’s also been a return for the FB fan page box on the right, which provides a direct link to the TSS Facebook page and shows some of the current fans of the site. Much like the people promising to get household jobs completed over the summer, I’m hoping to tweak a few more little bits on TSS to keep the site moving forwards.

The first season of TSS has been one of joy, sadness, anger and one where controversy never seems too far away. More than that, it’s been one of growth and shared experience. TSS now gets around 20-30,000 unique visitors each month, and it’s thanks to those who have shared, invited and participated that it’s seen such success.

As we look back on a first season where Leeds United eventually brought us success, we look forward to another one of shared hope, shared joy and more often than not – shared despair! Thanks to all TSS’ visitors throughout 2009-10. On and on…