Anything happening tomorrow?
To be honest, I could happily put Franchise v the Disenfranchised (copyright today’s Metro) on the backburner for another fourteen years, but for the purpose of today you can wait until further down.
And no, the thoughts aren’t worth waiting for.
In the meantime, at least we got some reward for winning at Curzon. A game that the more you look back at it, the more we smashed, grabbed, shat on their floor and filmed ourselves shagging the chairman’s missus afterwards.
Sutton at GGL is what we have to look forward to, and if we couldn’t get a Prem/Championship side, this is a decent enough alternative.
It’s local (and probably easier for our fans to get to than KM), it’s a club many have a soft spot for, we’ll get a very good turnout and yes – we should win it.
You know, like we should have won at Curzon. Oh wait, we actually did…
The incentive(s) should be there, and I don’t just mean local bragging rights. One would expect us to put in a much better performance than last Sunday, put it that way.
We should be much better focused, far less complacent, and while away in the cup on a 3G pitch can be a great leveller, it does provide an excellent chance of getting into the fourth round.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the game is on the Saturday and it won’t be on telly. The TV companies have a hard on when it comes to Prem clubs in the third round of the FAC, so those expecting BT Sport to cover us again have been left disappointed.
If this tie was a second round one, it would have definitely been shown. Although it has to be said, both BT and the BBC have managed to show stunning unoriginality in their choices.
Millwall v Bournemouth and (especially) Bolton v Palace would have been far better ones to show than Spurz v Villa (I mean, really?).
But then, anyone who gets through to the fourth round gets a much better chance at a glamour tie, so there’s our motivation right there.
That’s to look forward to. This week saw us finally depart from the much unloved ex-JPT. Send all condolences to the club offices.
Chances are we’ll get a fine, because we didn’t fully adhere to the rules of having the requisite number of starters. Or something. And one would hope we’ll do a whipround for it.
Nobody is upset by it, bar the money we might have got, but it was suitably farcical in the end – playing Tom Elliott and Reeves in a nothing game, to lose it and potentially pick up injuries and a fine is a symbolic clusterfuck.
I guess the idea was to play something understrength and assume we’d win anyway. If we looked like losing, why risk our better players in the second half?
We misjudged this a bit badly, and we’ll be £5k lighter because of it. Mind you, it seems very difficult to avoid fines in this competition, and the whole thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
It’s hard not to think that the increased prize money is a bit of a con, because you have to jump through so hoops and effectively have to play your best team to get it.
And with smaller squads, and in our case battling in two proper competitions right now, it’s something we could now all do without.
Personally, I now hope that two u23 sides get through to the final at Wembley, because that’s what this joke of a format deserves.
Hardly anyone will turn up, press coverage will be very lukewarm** and I’m not sure even Sky will bother showing it.
** – I’ve covered about three of the last four finals for two national newspapers, and there’s a very decent contingent in the press areas. This season, even the Press Association aren’t bothering sending people to games.
When even the Football League CEO and egotistical fuckwit Shaun Harvey is admitting doubts about the tournament, you know it’s destined for the scrapheap.
It will be a shame, because the finals themselves are decent spectacles, but it’s always been downgraded and won’t be missed by anyone.
I remember how little the Barnsley manager talked about winning it last year, instead preferring to focus on the playoffs that they eventually won.
And the big problem for the ex-JPT is, L1/L2 sides can get to Wembley in the playoff finals. And trust me – winning that is a lot more enjoyable…
So we’re done with something that’s pointless, as irritating as a dose of the clap, and ultimately leaves you feeling dirty – and not in a good way.
Which leads us into tomorrow’s circus.
I’m glad it’s at 1pm, because it means it finishes two hours earlier than normal. And after that, we can get on with the rest of the season until March.
Fans seem to mainly fall into one of two camps over this – you’re either like your editor where you’d happily ignore it, and find it irritating, or you really can’t wait to get into there and get into them.
There’s apparently 2000 of the latter there in Frenzyville tomorrow, and with luck they’ll all come away suitably joyous.
The discussion about turning up, giving them money etc was ended four years ago this month, and other people have different levels of tolerance.
I certainly don’t blame anyone who’s younger than 20 chomping at the bit tomorrow. 28/5 was fourteen years ago, and we’re getting the first generation of fans who were toddlers when it happened.
And yes, it makes anyone over 35 years old feel old.
They’re not going to have the emotional scars of that fateful day in 2002, and their views and attitudes are going to be different to those a few/many years older than themselves.
Did somebody say “generation gap”?
There’s an aside coming further down, which may or may not be relevant, but those with longer memories who want to be there might be feeling a bit of schadenfreude even before the fixture starts.
Tomorrow’s game in Buckinghamshire shouldn’t be happening anyway, but it really shouldn’t be happening. After all, we’re just a pub team from Kingston, right?
It’s a league fixture, and one where we’re above them in the table. And in many ways, we’ve already claimed victory.
It is just one game, and while I think we’ll lose tomorrow (because Curzon showed some weaknesses that we need to sort out), it might not matter much beyond a ruined weekend and dropping of three points.
Many still won’t go, but with the exception of the uber-obsessives the bulk of our fans have simply moved on. This will be our fourth fixture there, and while the game at KM will be another psychological hurdle, it’s almost become strangely routine.
It will never be “normal”, even for those younger than 25 years old, but it is a rivalry, and one that is on very equal terms these days.
And that’s as much a complete failure on the part of Wankie and co. Again – this game shouldn’t be happening, but it shouldn’t be happening…
One final thing, and as mentioned earlier – a bit of an aside. Yesterday, the results of the latest round of DTB elections were announced, and there’s a bit of angst this morning about the age of all those who won.
Then again, that probably reflects the age of those who voted to begin with.
You could write a whole article on the generation gap that is sneaking up on AFCW, and at some point I will. But like the whole Franchise thing these days, those who are still motivated because of 28/5 are becoming fewer and fewer.
NPL will further dilute that, especially as for many it will be seen as the final closure of a journey that started back in 2002. Or more accurately, 1991.
Moving back home will change a lot of the club’s DNA anyway, it’s impossible not to. Hell, it will change when Erik Samuelson steps down, especially if somebody younger with (dare I say) fresher ideas comes in.
Not to mention that if our calculations are right, there will be almost double the amount of people watching our games. A few might want to get “political”, but in truth the vast majority won’t.
True, the DT has increased membership, but how much of that is down to the Back In Two Ticks campaign, a yearly donation and/or getting ticket priority for big games is anyone’s guess.
Judging by the turnout (which are probably the same 400-500 or so who always vote in it), I think you can make an educated assumption.
The DT won’t be going anywhere soon, but it needs to start re-inventing itself and asking what it wants to be in the NPL era.
Does it still want to harbour dreams of being a mass movement? If so, it will need to bridge not only a generation gap but an enthusiasm one as well.
Remember that Wimbledon fans only became “involved” because of the whole MK bollocks. Your editor can remember some piss-poor WISA turnouts even at the height of Dublin, so the idea that our fanbase is politically motivated is a bit of a false one.
As tomorrow’s game suggests, people have moved on from 28/5. And by the look of it, not just by attending matches either.
Do you make it more exclusive? I’m talking about £10 a month rather than £25 per year here. Those who want to get involved and have a say in the direction of the club, but it will root out the uncommitted.
Those who want to be placed on ticket priority schemes will be catered for in some way – there’ll be a genuine need for a “traditional” supporters club, a la WFSC (remember that?), if there isn’t one already.
Yes, it makes sense for the DT to be that, but apart from a yearly vote and an ability to get tickets before general sale, you don’t actually seem to get a lot for your £25.
Some will say that it will put up a barrier between those who are motivated and those who aren’t, but that’s the case right now anyway. After all, you don’t get elected onto the DTB unless you’re “known” anyway, and that’s been the case for a number of years.
It might of course simply end up being a product of its time. Remember again that it wasn’t set up to entirely run up a football club – its original intention was to eventually buy a stake in WFC.
Events obviously changed things, but once we’ve played the first game back at NPL, what then? Many volunteers are apparently thinking of calling it a day after the first season.
You can bet that Erik and one or two others will step down and enjoy the fruits of their labours. Not that you can blame them, it will be 16 years of running a football club and that might be long enough anyway.
The current DT voting block is a relatively small one, presumably older and much less resistant to change. Go on – suggest even raising the fee to £30 p/a and see how far you get.
Those currently on the DTB work very hard – some of it almost being a full time job – and they won’t be around forever. Like the volunteers, they may want to get their life back after 2019/20.
While NPL will get the loins moist, this is a club that needs to know how to expand its operations and the way it does things. And yes, that will require the DT to adapt, even if there’s some real resistance creeping in.
Of course, if you want to get people involved, we could always suggest the club moves to Weston-Super-Mare. Hell, ask tomorrow’s opponents on how to do it…