Chucklevision

Remember the days when we could go to league leaders and get something like a last minute penalty…?

There’s no other way of describing drawing at Rotherham yesterday than calling it a Good Result™. Especially considering our continued impotence up front, and our back line still letting in too many.

Or as some unkind soul said of our new keeper yesterday, Two Day. Two being the number of goals we let in on average under him.

But that would be churlish, and as it goes we’ve had a good week results wise.

Drawing at home to Ipswich, in a game that wasn’t worth a writeup, then doing likewise in south Yorkshire against two of the top six (and one being top) isn’t to be sniffed at.

While we’ve still got the joys of the Kassam on Tuesday**, we’ve come out of the February from hell reasonably OK thus far.

** – your editor was there yesterday, so a scouting report : we’ll need to be at our best because Oxford were unlucky not to get anything out of that game. We all expected a thumping at some point and unfortunately I expect this game to be the one.

Then again, we’ve always done better against the “top” clubs and sucked shit against the fellow bottom feeders.

We’re seven points clear of Tranny, eight if you include goal difference, though their game got called off yesterday. And as we know ourselves from last season, even a ten point gap is closeable.

So there’s still a way to go, although unless I can’t count we’ve got thirteen games left to save ourselves.

One suspects that March will be the crucial month, because we’ve got Bolton and Tranmere, and if there’s a time to get a purple patch…

That’s for the future. Yesterday, Mr Championship-Quality gave us the point, and I’d rather have him (relatively) fit and nabbing goals when nobody else is able to.

He divides opinion, to put it mildly. His contract isn’t his fault, he’s always going to sign something like that. And I don’t believe he particularly likes going more than three weeks without being injured.

I won’t miss him when he does go, and he probably thinks the same about being here, but all the while he’s still with us, I want him fit and scoring goals.

If that just means putting himself in the proverbial shop window for next season, then providing it means we’re in L1 again next season, so be it.

And even if you’re one of his biggest haters, you have to admit that taking the penalty in injury time was pretty ballsy. Admittedly, my heart sank when I found out he was taking it, although not as much if I discovered Piggy was going to do so.

But then, yesterday sounded like one of those performances. The effort by Sanders was lovely, although it wasn’t really a surprise when we went 2-1 down.

Oh, and if Lapado is still playing when he’s 50 years old, and we somehow draw the CCL side he’s playing for in the FA Cup, he’s still stumble onto the field and score against us.

That we fought back for a draw is something, and may well be the difference between us going down and staying up…

Off the field, given the amount of hard sell it’s had, you can’t miss that the Plough Lane Bond is about to reach its £5m target this lunchtime. And may be over it by the time you read this sentence.

I have to admit, I didn’t think it would get that close, let alone actually get to that sum.

Then again, you can’t blame anyone who thought it would raise about £1.7m, or £2.2m or just under £3m or whatever. It’s not like previous fundraisers have given much encouragement.

Especially Seedrs, the best (or worst) example of this. After all, if you’re after £7m and you don’t even reach £2.5m…

As somebody put it earlier this week, the stars aligned for the PLB. Which begs the question – why did it succeed when other efforts failed?

Partly down to fear over NPL being a one-sided ground that would be no use to anyone. I gather with this money raised already we can fit out a basic full stadium, which will make life a lot easier.

The more we can fit out to begin with the better, as retrofitting can be a pain.

For some, the notion of three potential investors may have spooked them into donating. Though I bet there’s more than a few who favour external investment who none-the-less put a grand or three into this.

The biggest reason for its success, I suspect, is this – it’s actually a decent investment full stop.

OK, unsecured etc etc, although there’s still plenty of people who can (literally) afford to take that risk.

I’ll be interested to find out the percentages of investors who are AFCW fans, but who also aren’t. Seeing it mentioned in full-page spreads in the Sun and Standard, radio and TV spots and old-fashioned leafleting isn’t aiming at our own fans, but the big, bad outside world.

Some probably won’t be interested in football full stop, but picked up a leaflet and liked the idea of a decent percentage in interest per year. Most outsiders will likely be football fans who like the idea of us going back home**, and can make a few quid in the process.

** – though in your editor’s experience over a number of years, the bulk of football fans don’t really care one way or the other about us being “fan owned”. Maybe only in a general romantic way, but it’s never a strongly held belief. Bit like how playing Franchise only really matters to us.

We still need the commercial loan, and there’s a very real danger that promoting the PLB becomes overkill. So possibly cutting it off tomorrow is no bad thing.

It has bought up a couple of things though, that you might not have thought of. Or if you did, you probably gave it no more than a split-second of thinking.

It suggests the very concept of us returning to Wimbledon is a good human interest story to those who pay even the slightest bit of attention to football.

There’s always been something about going home that seems to transcend everything, and motivates us in a way that nothing else does.

If the PLB had been for anything other than PL, we wouldn’t have got anywhere near £5m. We wouldn’t have got 5000 people for Seedrs if it had been for redeveloping KM.

It’s why so many people did letter writing campaigns to LBM, or the Mayor of London, or Historic England (remember that act of stupidity?), or other campaigns I’ve long since forgotten.

And it’s why I think the moment NPL became a viable prospect, there was absolutely no way any alternative could have been accepted by our own supporters.

For those who know why, no explanation is needed. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.

Speak to non-AFCW fans about NPL and there’s normally some interest, even if it’s just asking how near the old place it was. Describing it as a Dave Beasant goal kick away normally answers that question.

I’d go so far as to suggest it will be a catalyst for some very decent crowds when we go home. Just as people want to see the new Spurs stadium, or Brentford’s new place, they’ll want to see ours too.

That won’t last after the first season, of course. Perhaps even before it once the novelty wears off.

While I thought the push for the PLB was a bit too overwhelming on occasions, it does prove how important widespread marketing of our name will be, once the groundhoppers check us off the list.

There will be many in the SW19/SW20/SM4 area alone who won’t know we exist – out of sight, out of mind and all that. And even now, you can’t really do much advertising and expect them to turn up at KM.

We’ll need to fill a few thousand extra seats each fortnight from next season.

Chelsea and Fulham won’t be our direct rivals, as we’re going for different markets**, but we’ll need to push to get the name out again – especially after 28 years of being AWOL.

** – our market will be those who like watching football but don’t have a club, the “I sort-of support Chelsea but not particularly fussed” types, and the ones who want to take their kids but can’t justify paying over the odds at Stamford Bridge. Not the tourists or those who feel the need to be seen watching Prem games.

This is something our community section will need to do, and on a regular basis too.

The PLB was pushed in the way it was because it had to be. It should prove that proper marketing works more often than not, and how much we need to take it seriously in future.

We’ve never seemed to be very good at that, but like so many other things that this club will be facing soon – it better start learning how to do so…