Sticking the boot in

You see what I did there? Boot? Northampton? Cobblers? Bwahahahahahahaha.

OK, that was shit, but I don’t do drugs and therefore need something to get me through writing up about Sixfields 2 Killing Fields 0.

So, what can I say? I would like to say that this was a better performance and it’s only a matter of time before we do start winning games convincingly again. However, if I did that I would be lying.

You may have heard some comments about us having a bit more in attack today, and even on occasions we showed a bit of spark. But the trouble is that we were relatively speaking, having a bit more in attack. We were relatively speaking, a bit more lively, though needless to say that once they scored, the game was effectively over.

And that’s the trouble – it’s all relatively speaking a better performance than at Burton and Bradford.

But we’re still shit. And we’re still in urgent need of a new approach.

Once again, the players did that huddle thing beforehand, although this time with SC doing the pep talk. Again, like Southend, one wonders if it’s a genuine attempt to rally round or whether it’s a front for our consumption. Personally, I think the players are playing for their own pride now, as they don’t want to be seen as relegation fodder. That’s as much a reason as any why the youngsters especially are trying hard.

I don’t doubt that certain individuals are fighting for their jobs right now, in fact I would expect that as the absolute bare minimum. That’s why Seb Brown was dropped and why Jaimez-Ruiz came in today. To be fair, he aquitted himself well.

It’s been said a couple of times recently that if we had more of a spark we could have won our last two games though. And I don’t actually think we’re that bad a collection of players. Note I used that phrase rather than “team”, by the way. But again, even when we’re relatively speaking “better” we still looked second best and cannot complain about this latest defeat.

The question is, now what? While we can still guess what these “number of actions” were in that statement, obviously one point from a possible six and exiting the JPT weren’t some of them. We’ve made Stuart Cash do the amount of training sessions that one expects from a professional football club (and I’m sorry to labour the point – actually, I’m not – but there is no justification at all for a supposed Football League club like ourselves to have such a Conference South level arrangement).

We’ve done huddles. We’ve brought in yet more loan players. We’ve dropped people like Seb Brown and Warren Cummings. We’ve forced players in on their day off. We’ve got an Olympic gold medallist to do a first half rally-rousing team talk. We’ve brought in the promising youngsters probably a bit earlier than what they would otherwise expect.

We’ve tried harder in games. We’ve no doubt changed the tactics. We’ve probably had some serious one-to-one sessions between the manager and the players. And we’ve had a statement telling us all that measures are being taken.

None of it has worked.

And now I’m genuinely scared of what will happen to us.

I have to say that I don’t listen to TB’s interviews any more, because they somehow manage to deflate me even when we’ve won. But today, I got to hear him on BBC London afterwards. I scribbled down what he said, and this is the jist of what was said:

Pleased with the first half

Started second half brighter, but too many heads went down

Can’t look at excuses

Even if we had created a chance and scored Northampton would have created more.

Got to patch everything up.

These were all paraphrased. The following isn’t.

We need to defend better.

Gee, thanks Captain Obvious. No wonder you’re still the manager. I bet that’s why you’re still in your job, because you tell that to the Football Club board and they pronounce you as some kind of managerial genius that only the foolish and ignorant mock.

I think the comment made soon afterwards was “indifferent”, and if there was any doubt that we have now gone as far as we can then that interview proved it. It just seemed so bland, like it was going through the managerial motions. It was almost like we had just had a defeat after a run of a couple of good wins and a few draws, and not from a side that hasn’t won since the opening day and has shipped more goals that anyone else in the Football League.

He’s either very good at hiding his real feelings or he is genuinely in denial about how bad things have come since November last season. No wonder Stuart Cash was doing the pre-game prep talk, perhaps there’s the off-chance they might listen to  him a bit more.

I think this problem was highlighted by the interviews before his, namely one by John Still and the other by Lee Cook, who scored for Leyton Orient this afternoon. Both seemed to be much more “with it”, or at least assured in what they were saying. If we had such enthusiasm in charge right now, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we’re in at the moment.

Still in particular may be dealing with the Daggers, but there was this air of confidence that you expect them to pull away from danger. That’s how he came across in the interview. TB on the other hand just paused a lot and came out with some vacant sounding soundbites.

I don’t think I’ll listen to one of his interviews again, unless I’m contractually obliged to. And somehow, I may not need to…

Plus points: It was a nice, sunny day. Little bit of passion from the younger players.

Minus points: Still losing without much fight or conviction. Defence still shit. Never likely to come back.

The referee’s a…: Did he fail to give us a penalty? Mind you, we got away with a couple of things ourselves. Paul Priddy was seen talking to them beforehand, presumably as a plea of leniency.

Them: Player wise, I’m not totally sure they’re streets ahead of us, but unlike us they’re set up as a unit and were deserved winners. They seemed bigger, fitter, and more willing to chase down lost causes, which if you’re limited isn’t such a bad idea.

But then, Aidy Boothroyd managed in the Premier League and doesn’t feel the need to push round pegs into square holes.

They played some NTFC related song to the tune of the Red Flag, which made it sound like a Labour Party conference circa 1977 or the opening theme music of a Dons Trust Board meeting. Oh, and they had a mascot that banged a drum. Two modern football cliches for the price of one…

Point to ponder: I wrote these notes after the last time we played at Sixfields, on Valentines Day this year. Are they prophetic? Or perhaps more accurately, should I be reading them on the 8th September and finding just about everything written coming to pass?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Sitting in the very seats that Franchise fans were in last Tuesday, and nobody receiving an STD from them. At least, not yet. (2) Further to the above comment about the Red Flag being played before the game, the Liquidator was as well. I offer no further comment. (3) Speaking of Northampton, are there a lot of Wolves fans in the vicinity? I ask because somebody from Anthony Nolan approached me before the game and asked me if I supported Northampton or the team from Molineux…

Anything else? I expect we’re going to hear some stories about certain people being seen at games (in fact, I mentioned one last week). But there seems to be a bit of a trend about seeing people who may be helping in an advisory or consultancy capacity.

It’s an idea I would welcome, providing it’s used correctly. If it’s to “help out” TB/SC, then it’s not going to work at all. We all know that our current manager doesn’t want anyone bar Cash and Bassey helping him – ask Marcus Gayle. To bring in somebody to add something to the coaching staff will just cloud who has the authority, and would cause tension. Not to mention that it would just be seen as a fudge, and that the Football Club board really is too weak to make a firm decision.

If it’s more advisory as in increasing the football knowledge of the club, then I’m all for it. We may currently have Dicky Guy and Ian Cooke to pick their brains, but with all due respect to them they were briefly involved with Division 4 in the mid-to-late 70s, and you would be right to ask what they really know about the modern game.

The club may well appear (and act) like it’s still stuck in non-league, but it really struggles with not having anyone who actually knows something about the football industry. Especially the one that is the Football League. Should there be a managerial vacancy before too long, it really wouldn’t hurt the club to have somebody who knows the football culture to ask the questions of a potential new boss – questions that somebody like Erik perhaps wouldn’t know to ask.

Ideally, I’d like a football man on the Football Club board – maybe two would be better, but certainly somebody whose view and knowledge of the game comes from the era of digital TV and the internet.

I doubt if you’d need to pay them – although they would be worth every penny if you get somebody clued up – and I don’t doubt there are enough ex-WFC people about who would give us what we don’t have.

I’m simply throwing a name or two about here, and I have no idea what they would really bring to the table, but if somebody like Harry Bassett or Alan Cork just acted as a wise old bird giving advice to the club’s board, it would be a lot better than what we have now.

After all, the current board may have done a lot in the last decade, but they don’t know everything. And if this season does become the season of massive change in the club, then let’s do it properly…

So, was it worth it? *cough*

In a nutshell: It’s really not funny now.

20 thoughts to “Sticking the boot in”

  1. My kids are Northampton Town supporters, so I sat with the Home fans today. Just behind the away dugout. It was the first time my kids have seen the Dons since we played WHU pre-season. After about 20minutes, my 12yr old son said to me – ‘there are still problems with your defence’. Yep.

    I spent the whole game watching Aidy Boothroyd hardly move, or say much. But when he did, people listened. He had the support of the players and the crowd. If I had to choose between the two managers for who I would want to work for, it wouldn’t be TB. The crowd could not believe how bad we were. They liked Sammy Moore, but ‘Imagine watching this lot every week? It’d drive you mad!’.

    Poor finishing from Northampton cost them today. I was expecting them to get 4. It was a case of when they scored, not if. Okay, I thought we were likely to score, but as my son pointed out, this was a top 6 side playing a bottom 6 side.

    Cash & Bassey, IMO, are out of their depth, and they will cost TB his job. It’ll be a shame to see him go in this way, but league survival is too important to throw away.

  2. Wimbledon as a team are so bad I want to cry,fucked off with the piles of shit the away supporters have endured.I cannot travel to watch that shit anymore.

    1. Great comment. Surely this must sum up how most Dons fans feel at the moment. Message to any Kool-Aiders out there who are left – it’s over!!!

  3. I don’t think the DTB are instilling any confidence in the fans currently. What will it take before Erik and the rest REALIZE that TB’s time is over and that they are flogging a dead horse. I have no time for TB’s comments anymore, as it is the same old shit from someone who is lightweight in this division. I’m really scared like yourself about what our fate will be if the current decline continues and it doesn’t help when you see teams like York and Fleetwood doing much better than us and having progressed more than we have, considering we have been in the FL one year more and demolished Fleetwood when we went up. I think we have reversed in our style of play and TB should now go and let us move forward. I think even forest green in the conference would beat us convincingly right now.
    I strongly feel if we get a manager and coaching team with FL experience we will shoot up the table, but if this is allowed to continue any longer than it doesn’t bode well. I think your suggestion of Harry Bassett or Bobby Gould as director of football would be good, as they would screen any potential manager for AFCW to ensure we make the right choice and don’t hire someone like Peter Reid.
    Erik is being too soft on TB and this could be suicidal for us. I hope Erik and the DTB have already started looking at potential replacements for TB, because we cannot continue at this rate for much longer. The league table should ring bells for them if they have forgotten what its all about.
    I’m quite disillusioned right now and feel sick in thinking pre-match, that how many are we going to lose by today. Please DTB and Erik, do the right thing and remove the current management team and make a fresh change which will salvage our situation.

    Mike Basset England manager reminds me of what TB’s team are like right now, with Lonnie Urquart (car salesman) being Stuart Cash.

    Utterly disgusted by the current plight of AFCW.

  4. Simon Bassey has only played lower league football and is a London Taxi Driver,I wonder how many other teams in our league have a coach of this magnitude???

  5. No point in continuing my recent comments. TB is not going to go with dignity and Erik still sits in his chair waiting for something to turn up. It isn’t going to happen Erik – for pity’s sake take some decisive action before it’s too late!
    On another subject touched on by REPD and many fans in particular this season is the dreaded budget and the Board. The Board have enough people with financial experience (especially Cookie) to have recognised the present scenario long ago.

    When the Dons were first elected to the FL in 1977, they had a fan base of between 2000 and 2500. By “fan base” I mean fans that can be expected to turn up week after week at home games. The meteoric rise from Division 4 to Division 1 actually hindered the growth of the fan base simply because of its rapidity. Despite this, Plough Lane was able to accommodate far more than Kingsmeadow and, with the help of neutrals wishing to see a top game and more “away” supporters space available, the gate often well exceeded the fan base figure. This, of course, continued into Selhurst Park days where gate figures improved considerably until the dark days of the Franchise came upon us.

    By that time, the real Dons fan base had reached between 5000 to 5500 with quite a few more on the verge of joining. When the “Big Bang” happened and Erik and Co. performed the miracle that was and still is AFC, the fan base had not dwindled by very much. With little time to act, the new Board chose Kingsmeadow as its base. Fine at the time, maybe, but never going to be big enough to suit the aspirations of the Board nor, ultimately, the fans.

    The Board have been whining constantly recently about budgets yet in seasons past, we have been turning people away from the ground because it is full. What a waste of revenue and, possibly, the loss of new fans. Erik has told his story of how he came to watch and love the Dons. Unfortunately, his and other Board Member’s visions have failed to take the fan base into consideration. With the Board’s oft stated intention of getting Wimbledon back where they belong, they missed the point and we are now seeing the results.

    Sorry to have gone on about this if it has been discussed in depth before but I think that Erik and all the Board should think carefully what they say about budgets when they MUST have been aware of the consequences long ago. Bit like they MUST know by now that we are going down unless they move NOW!

  6. Another Sunday, another morning of reading comments from fed up Dons. Another morning of hearing Terry say that we were beaten by a better side, that our defence needs work. Another day of hoping we will see the OS put up a statement that Terry has departed, another day of hoping in vain. TB will not resign, so put us out of our misery. Sack him now Erik, otherwise the fans will not turn up to watch the shit that’s on offer. I am coming down 230 miles to see the Accrington game in 3 weeks time with 7 mates, it will be my last game for a while if I witness the crap I have already seen this season. This time last year I was full of optimism, full of pride and I couldn’t wait to see my next game. How things change, I dread Saturdays. Yesterday I opted for gardening over listening to Radio WDON, I couldn’t bear it. Look at our record since Morecambe on 8th October last year, I’d absolute shite. What’s changed? The players have, the management team haven’t and therein lies the problem. My 7/1 bet on us going down is getting more valuable by the week but I wish I could rip it up with us sitting at the top of the league. Being a Don was something to be proud of, something (particularly as a Yorkshireman) I was proud to tell anyone. Not now, I am embarrassed to say I am a Don. Sod off now Terry and back room staff before its too late and let us become proud Dons again.

  7. After going to yesterdays game,i was relieved to only lose 2.0, and fairly happy with the performance. The first half we, at least held our own, and couldve gone in 1.0 up at the half. I thought Bennett going off at ht was a killer blow for us, as he looked to be our best player mopping up all that came his way, and he wouldnt of let that 2nd go in, if he was still on, and thats when our heads really dropped. Dissappointed with Cummings again. Too 1 footed, and too many hospital passes !!! The youngsters looked very good, and are developing.

    I reckon Brown will go, after the magic 10 games, but least we were competetive for 70 minutes today, and watching, you could see our weak links, which i believe, can be filed once our players return.

  8. Unless there are changes, we’ll be a Conference side again next year.

    We’ve not looked like winning a game all season (let’s not kid ourselves, we mugged Chesterfield) and we keep witnessing the same mistakes and hearing the same comments afterwards.

    1. I agree. It’s a false position, We should have 1 point not 4. It’s not good enough, 10 games is too too many before we act. 15 points from now, we will still have 4 points playing like this. I’ve just watched the Foootball League Show and they said confidence is draining from AFC . We need a management team who can build that confidence back, the one we have have proved that they are incapable of doing that. Sophie did a better job and that Is a poor state of affairs.

  9. The most worrying thing apart from Terry’s refusal to leave is that we have lost heavily to the teams in 14th and 15th places. Drawn against the team in 22nd place and beaten ( unjustly) the team in 17th place. The team in 8th beat us yesterday. We haven’t met any of the top teams yet ( although TB thinks all the ones we have played so far are worthy title contenders) so god help us when we do. We need some help and fast but I fear we won’t see any changes until mid October.

  10. For fuck sake REPD what do you expect TB to say, we were great! You expect ‘football people’ to come and advise for free, get real they all want money and we just dont have it. This is becoming a bloody witch hunt, be carefull what you all wish for.

    1. What is the famous myth about an ostrich? If you or anyone else really think that burying our heads in the sand is going to produce results, then they had better join you, TB, Cash, Bassey and Erik on cloud cuckoo land.

      Nobody is expecting free advice (that only comes from “Underdog!”. What we expect to hear from TB (and have expected it for a long time now) is coherent, sensible remarks.

      Another fan quoting the budget. Basically, if it is broke, don’t fix it! If things carry on as they have been for almost 11 months now, the budget will be cut even more. You quote TB’s own words about “careful of what you wish for”. What most of us wish for is a team capable of at least picking up points and winning matches. This is no different to any other fan of any other club. If the present Management cannot or are incapable of giving us anything at all then we need to look elsewhere – a fact of life in the football world and in many other businesses too.

      Like it or not, AFC is part of the football business and if no action is taken pretty soon, the business arm will suffer too. If this means taking radical action and speculating to accumulate, then Erik and Co. will have to do it (and the quicker the better).

      1. Yellow Peril are you Terry Brown in disguise?

        Serious question!

        If you are please resign so AFCW can move on.

    2. You will be surprised how many people in football will work gratis/for peanuts just to keep in the game.

      After all, the brother of Ian Dowie did exactly that for Dave Anderson.

      As for “careful what you wish for” – we can’t be any less motivated right now…

  11. I think it was me said “be careful what you wish for” a couple of blogs ago, and I’m not Terry Brown.

    Like any professional football club, finances underpin our endeavours and success. On a glass-half-full view of life the view might be taken that to have reached and be maintaining a position in the Football League in such a short time and with such scant resources is nothing short of miraculous.

    I take that view.

    I also recognise that things aren’t right at the moment. The way we are losing brings into question Terry’s ability to build and motivate a squad and formulate tactics at this level. The bland assesments and commentaries from Terry and the club simply serve to antagonise the supporters.

    I do think the time has come when something needs to change.

    But we are not a rich club and I think we must all recognise that it is very much the “art of the possible” in considedring replacement managers. We cannot pay the highest salaries nor make available the amount to spend on players that other clubs can.

    Just one little anecdote – few years back Bobby Gould got appointed manager of Cheltenham as relegation from Div 1 loomed, and I thought I’d go along and watch the last few games of the season (and sort of pretend it was Wimbledon and FA Cup Final day again, but walking distance).

    It was rubbish. They played The Great Escape music and Bobby would get them all in huddle at the beginning of the match. It was all headlined locally to be a big news story and the town and the crowd and the local media were right behind them.

    And they just got a lot worse and showed no backbone and got relegated and Bobby Gould looked like a prat.

    As I say, careful what you wish for.

    1. “But we are not a rich club and I think we must all recognise that it is very much the “art of the possible” in considedring replacement managers. We cannot pay the highest salaries nor make available the amount to spend on players that other clubs can.”

      Agree that our budget won’t be the biggest, although at the same time we have been able to afford to keep one of the division’s top scorers on, plus at least two players AFAIK are on £1500 per week supposedly (one being Pim).

      So budget wise we may have more than we let on. Erik did after all give TB in his interview all those years ago a far lower suggested sum than what we actually have…

      I don’t think the point is that we have to push for the playoffs, I don’t believe the club can handle that at the moment without growing off the field too.

      What we DO need is fresh ideas to make this side a mid-table outfit, which it should be regardless of budget. We look further away than that ever right now, and hence that’s why we need the change sooner rather than later.

      I know some will say that we should be happy to just be in the FL, and I understand that viewpoint to a degree (though I think we should be aiming higher than that) – but we don’t look guaranteed to stay up in the first place.

    2. So you’re a half glass full kind of guy but yet you view the prospect of a new manager with a half glass empty viewpoint 😉

      I think you summed it up pretty well Dons4Div4 but it doesn’t take a Bobby Gould figure or wages (I assume that’s the reference there?) to get us out of trouble. We need a manager with different qualities than TB. The best managers in the lower leagues are managers that can inspire a team to play above themselves in the manner of perhaps a Martin O’Neill team.

      TB is a great Conference manager and granted if he had a budget that was perhaps near the top of this division he would do fairly well I’m sure.

      But the club has to evolve and we are no longer one of the bigger teams and that means adapting our approach.

      One last point about budgets and money if you want to bring that into why we should keep TB…. I’d counter that if you added up the money made on signings/new contracts/loans in/cancelled contracts for players we signed and then shipped out in the last season and a bit, if we’d shown a little more prudence and a lot more rigour around signings then budgets wouldn’t be so much an issue.

  12. Terry Brown from the OS this week… “We want to make it more upbeat and positive. We will put an attacking side out on Saturday and I want the momentum of the whole week to be positive. We will be watching DVDs of Rochdale and we want to take the game to them as we are at home”.

    What do you do if you concede 15 goals in 4 games?

    Learn how to attack better of course.

    Forget bringing the ‘defense’ coach in for extra sessions (He’s probably got a backlog from his day job to catch up on).

    Is this TB coming back all Spartan, “With his shield or on it”?

    Thank you for all the good times Terry, I will never forget that trip to Manchester. But can we rip this plaster off now. Its more painful the longer it takes.

    1. Just dissecting TB’s comment today and while I like the idea of mixing it up and creating a more upbeat mood but I wonder if this is the last throw of the dice to find a formula that works in the short term?

      That defence is going to take weeks and weeks of full time SuperCash coaching to learn to be a unit, time which Terry doesn’t have according to this article:

      That was written before the Northampton game and presumably the three game target which TB brings up was the result of the meeting with the board a few weeks back.

      I think something had to be done so fair play to TB for changing it up and having the balls to lay it out in print. By 6PM Saturday we’ll know if Terry still has the team and can bring them together or not.

      Just some spurious statistics that I found interesting:
      Last 6 home games form: 2011/12 WLWW 12/13 WD
      Last 6 away games form: 2011/12 LDL 12/13 LLL

      Since we haven’t won away since Jan at Gillingham it makes our next two home games all the more important doesn’t it!

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