Rouge Diablo

What a strange weekend it has been, and I don’t just mean getting paid to watch Hayes and Yeading against Kidderminster…

As we all know, we’re top. Again. For how long remains to be seen, but at least we finally did ourselves a bit of justice at Gateshead. It was nice to finally win a game on the road, as there’s been this danger we’ve relied too much on our home form.

Admittedly, it was a weird experience trying to watch the game on live video streaming, with various degrees of success. Imagine being a locked-out legit fan of one of the big Premiership clubs and having to do  that every Saturday/Sunday/Monday. Insert slagging Prem Sports off, although their actual coverage wasn’t too bad. Dirt cheap though, and the Conference board should still be considering their resignation over signing this deal.

When the stream eventually settled down, it seemed to be a mixture of Barf in the second half, and any home game. We should have won by more than a couple of goals, in truth. At least it proves we’re creating them though, and for the avoidance of doubt – it was a back pass for our second. Their goalkeeper should have just punted it away, though we’re all glad he didn’t…

At the end of the day, regardless of games in hand etc, all we need to do is keep winning. Get three points at York on Tuesday, and a tricky period becomes ultimately worthwhile. That week we get off between Fleetwood at KM and the return fixture against the Minstermen will be much needed and pretty well earnt.

I genuinely don’t think we’re under much pressure, we have the least out of the top three. Yes, we’re going for it, but time is on our side. If it doesn’t happen this season, we would have only spent two seasons in this division. That’s the same amount of time as the CCL, and less than we did in the Ryman Premier. And be honest, you wouldn’t really object to at least another season in the BSP.

If we fall short in May, it will be disappointing, and may see some changes, but it’s what we would expect. Going up would be a bonus, promotion as champions would be the sweetest of the lot. Whether we’re ready to do well in League Two remains to be seen, but I expect we would see another significant change in our squad.

Which we’ve done plenty of times before, of course. And is also why I’m not really too fussed about what Crawley do right now. Be honest, deep down you’re a little bit jealous of them drawing  Yernited at Old Trafford. Yes, we all know we despise their tedious prick of a manager, and yes we all know that their money trail is highly dubious, and we all know that in three years time they will be fighting against administration and probably in freefall.

And yes, we all know it was a personal affront to everyone at AFCW that they even dared bid for Danny Kedwell.

Ultimately though, we only have to put up with this for a few more months. They should go up as champions. They certainly should have enough for the playoffs if they don’t. If they go up, and we join them, all so much the better – there are far bigger and better clubs in L2 to worry about. If they don’t, Project Promotion will have failed, and the money may suddenly find itself gone…

If Crawley and Luton go up, we’re in a pretty decent position for 2011/12. Forget that other sides may themselves start spending big (ie Mansfield), we’re not going to go up until we collectively grow a set of balls and concentrate on what we do.

For the last eight years, we’ve had to cope with the big spending antics of Withdean £2000, Chelmsford, Braintree, AFC Coldseal and doubtless some other fly-by-nights that we’ve forgotten. We coped then and we’ll continue to cope. It may force us to be a tad more, well, realistic about some things, but that doesn’t hurt.

As said above, I’m a little bit jealous of their trip up to Old Trafford because it’s a good draw to have. But only a little bit, because I’ve seen WFC play there on more than a few occasions. If AFCW ever got to the third round and got such a tie (OK, if AFCW ever got to the third round…), we’d love it because that’s what we used to do many a week during the regular season.

For Crawley, it’s the pinnacle for them, and will go either one of two ways for them : either it solidifies them as a group and as a club, and Project Promotion becomes a reality, or they will become distracted and go on an Oldham-esque decline when they fought on too many fronts.

The first scenario, as explained above, will get our collective goat for this season but long term won’t affect us. The second scenario is an interesting one though – it could cost them promotion this season.

See, we’ve been there and done Old Trafford, and the FA Cup. It was only 28/5 that put us in the backwaters  in the last eight years and made us “enjoy” FA Trophy defeats to Uxbridge, Woking and Workington. We are in everything but name and league position a League club, with a League mentality to boot. Crawley on the other hand have a history of doing fuck all – a few promotions here and there, but nothing major.

This evening, they are like a dog with two dicks. Understandable really, as for most of them they have never seen their team play at such a venue. It’s their cup final, and suddenly Project Promotion feels like doing their homework on a Sunday evening. We know ourselves what happens when you get distracted by something down the line, and if they keep up a winning run in the league then they’re better than we give them credit for.

But as we know ourselves, their whole setup is based on a huge amount of ego, even more money and a great deal of paranoia. SW19 doesn’t  bother to listen to a post-match Steve Evans interview, but for somebody with a lot of money at their disposal, they don’t half treat any perceived slight at them badly – more than any team confident in itself should.

As their manager downwards is one who relies on emotion and shit judgement, they could actually get extremely carried away, especially if they win a couple more league games, and start playing the mind games thing against somebody who would spit them out for breakfast. Then what? Apart from Evans voluntarily going to jail to save further humiliation, that is.

Our task in the weeks and months ahead is just to put our heads down, don’t  join in the trash talking and just put more and more points on the board. Drawing Yernited today could end up being the worst thing to happen to Crawley, and we ought to be good enough to take advantage of that.

Evans and co secretly consider us a threat, Luton don’t. Even though the Hatters looked quite ordinary against Gateshead, whom we should have won 4-0 at. Get involved with the inevitable mind games and mud slinging and we’ll lose out – we’re not chavvy enough nor dare I say clever enough to get into wars of words with other people. As the old saying goes, never argue with an idiot – they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with their years of experience.

We may not yet be on the edge of achieving something big, and to be honest I expect us to lose out in the playoff semi finals. But for the first time this season, I’m starting to wonder if we’re still up there for a very good reason. We’ve yet to put on a rich run of form, and now wouldn’t be a bad time to start.

Doubtless this mood will change when York stuff us 5-0 again on Tuesday…

Incidentally, while I’m here, a bit of site news. As you’ve probably gathered, match reports in the traditional SW19 style (sic) have been pretty thin as of late. And in truth, they’re likely to be sporadic for a while.

Basically, I am finding right now that if I’m at a game, I’m doing something work related, which means I don’t really fancy writing something up in the usual fashion afterwards. That said, I was going to do Barf, but I was still pissed off by Friday…

And to be blunt, I’ve lost enthusiasm for writing them right now. Doing updates like this and the recent one on Selhurst is fine, and quite enjoyable – it’s far easier to write about a new angle, or a new happening, than just constantly repeating that we’re no good in front of goal, we need to put XYZ on loan, we need to spend some money etc etc. It’s tedious to constantly write the same thing, and I imagine it’s worse having to read it.

It’s not my intention to stop doing match reports altogether (although I seem to have stopped doing front pages, but that’s partly down to a long-term software issue), but I wouldn’t hold your breath for them quite so often at the moment. SW19 never used to do match reports for every game I went to back in the early days, and this is just going back to that for now.

Guest reports could be an option again, but there were some issues with them which still continue to leave a bad taste in my mouth even now. Not that any poor contributor will want to deal with me when I’m in sub-editor mode 😉

But then, the whole AFCW internet “thing” doesn’t seem as lively or vibrant as it once was. It Must Be Dons is long gone, ditto Big Tissue (which was a paid gig), Anon Don is moving to America soon, Wise Men Say disappeared almost as quickly as it came, Maliniok’s one is in Polish and reads more like pass-notes for the kabanos munchers, and the guestbook(s) are more meh these days.

Perhaps people  have just simply lost interest? There’s not much new stuff coming through, and certainly nothing I would consider “must read”. While you get happenings that jolts everyone up once in a while – THAT FA Cup draw springs to mind – you tend to get more stuff from the Surrey Herald these days, which may indicate that proper journalism always wins out in the end.

Which is I think blogs generally are on the decline – I’ve no idea about Facebook, but anyone can join Twitter and for 140 characters or less you can put your thoughts down immediately and without having to worry about layouts or fiddling with WordPress. And let’s be blunt – most blogs are crap. Often poorly written, don’t tell you much, unoriginal or (worst of all) deadly dull to read. Not to mention there’s a nastier tone in many a comments section these days.

SW19 is still here, I’m not planning to go away just yet, although I am looking forward to taking this place in a slightly new direction (and I don’t mean downwards). At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a renaissance of Womble related literature, but maybe it’s a welcome lull before the (hopefully final) push towards the new ground in Merton we all want and need. And that’s something that will take a lot of effort.

Of course, if we finish top at the end of the season…

10 thoughts to “Rouge Diablo”

  1. Your right. Somethin ghas changed. I think its just that with all the disruption of the weather and rearrangements people in a way have got out of the ‘routine’ of football watching and comment. Not that they arent doing these things, its just if they are like me at the moment its more than likely I look up and suddenly realise I should be down at KM!

    Also whilst things are going ‘reasonably well’ theres a lack of things to talk about. Hence all the comments about Crawley recently. OK, we are interested in them as they are probably our main competitor for the title at the mo (yes, Luton are close but dont have a similar potential points advantage over us if they win their outstanding games) so its natural but its going a tad beyond that towards an obsession…

    But we lack something to fill it. Ok I dont want the days of politics and the election again. Also with a drop in visable internet profiles of past posters on whichever forum your group is limited and the breath of discussion suffers.

    Certainly I cannot see at the moment why some of those past posters havent returned to the WUPGB. I guess they have other things to do with their lives. I dont live there but its a nice to have in the background. Its certainly not as vitriolic as it use to be. Perhaps people need to be told that….

    I like your format and such Rob but I also appreciate that a published item needs sometimes to move on and reformat. I’m always happy to provide if you need but dont totally give up on the old format….

    Remember, if it aint broke dont fix it….

    But only you know that from your web stats, dont you?

    1. Right now, as I type this, I’ve had 420+ reading this site *today*, and will have similar numbers during tomorrow, so people are clearly still interested in stuff being written.

      Further stat porn seems to suggest I still get between 700-1000 people reading a report over the course of a week. Certain events (ie the Franchise draw) spike that somewhat – Millwall in the cup got at least 1300, probably more.

      So I think there is definitely a market for decently written “alternative” viewpoints.

      I’m not drastically altering SW19, in fact it’s going to be a bit/lot more like it is at the moment. It does keep the site “fresh”, there are a couple of articles I want to sit down and do, and more importantly means I don’t feel I *have* to do a match report, and enjoy doing one when I do write one.

      As for general online stuff, people have simply moved on. I met a known face a couple of months ago who used to read WUP daily but now reads it once every fortnight, if that. WUP (the fanzine) is hit-and-miss too, it’s actually improved in recent editions, but again didn’t publish recently due to lack of material.

      Are people bored? Or have they just hit a brick wall, mentally speaking? I don’t think talking about the DT/politics is that interesting to the average fan…

  2. Will miss the post-match updates which are always well received here in Sydney. Appreciate what we can get though so keep up the good work in whatever form it takes!

    1. Hello,

      Another Sydney based AFCW fan here. I agree about missing the post-match updates but the in-depth articles on this blog are well worth it.

      Thanks for the hard work, SW19.

  3. repd, i’m a follower of afc, i’d like to say fan but that’s not really true. i followed wimbledon, when afc was born i was in manchester and it became strange seeing a new beginning from afar, i knew nothing about afc other than the radio commentary, random chat on w&ww and sw19. it was strange as i knew everything about us before, kimble’s random punts upfield, sullivan’s inability to kick backpasses out of his own half and chris perry’s miraculous ability to out jump duncan ferguson. since moving back to london i’ve been a few times to see the dons. i struggle with it, it’s not the non league part, it’s that i’m 6’2 and the view is pretty bad at busy games, my mate’s are shorter and there’s is inevitably worse, oh and i’d rather be at the bar ’til kick off than going in early and getting a good view. yes there are probably other reasons too. anyway i’m writing this as you’re my source for reading up on the dons, i still have them in my heart, even if i’ve lost my love for football, maybe i would’ve grown out of it anyway. your reports/ writing are invaluable to me as i cling to the club i once loved. just thought i should write this, there’s probably a few other people like me too. and yes, writing this does make me think i should get my ass down to norbiton again soon, it’s a bit like looking at friends re-united to see what people are doing without actually seeing them. thanks again for your mumblings, they’re keeping me in touch with afc, adam

  4. I really enjoy what you have to say. It is the most interesting and often most informative place on the internet for keeping up with goings-on at AFCW, both on the pitch and behind the scenes. Living in Cornwall, I find you do a great deal to put flesh on the bones of the sparse factual reports I (gratefully) peruse from the BBC and the OS.

    Keep writing as often as you can, and please do encourage guest contributors to rattle off pro-forma match reports when you can’t. I hope the demise of the “song sung blue” section is temporary, and let’s have more “points to ponder” & TiStF items please!

    Thanks for helping to keep me as interested in AFCW as I am.

  5. Your output is much appreciated SW19, perhaps particularly by those of us who don’t live locally any more.

    The only thing that sometimes niggles is what a short memory you seem to have. We were having a real ding dong of a season with Crawley back in 1969. Three FA cup games before we eventually saw them off, then the biggest Wimbledon win I’ve ever seen – thumping them 9-0 at home in the league. Hat tricks for Ian Cooke and John O’Mara (went on to become a full Republic of Ireland international, goodness knows how), Peter Shreeves (future Spurs manager) at left half, Graham Roope (Surrey cricketer) in goal.

    The way you neglect to make mention of any of this leads one to wonder whether you consider 40 years to be a long time ago or something. 😉

  6. I’d have put you down as a wet-behind-the-ears-late-thirties-something REPD, maybe early forties. You’re lack of references to the old non-league days is a bit of a giveaway.

    At 56 I’m just starting to give the grumpy-old-man persona a run out, and I have to say it does seem to come all rather naturally. Did hear somebody say once that one of the few compensating aspects of getting older is that there’s ever more women to fancy (because they’re all becoming younger than you). He was right you know!

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