Firstly, sign the Historic England thing if you haven’t already. It will make you feel better…
Done that? Good. We’re covering all bases here, and it’s better than having just one final lapse of concentration and us getting fucked.
Which is exactly what happened to us at Salop 2 Slop 1.
Sometimes, I think there is such a concept as the footballing gods, because while we may not have done enough to win – we certainly didn’t deserve to lose.
But then, we rode our luck with both Coventry and Charlton, and it’s typical that we finish our best performance for a while with a loss.
A deflection from a free kick** and just that one final bit of doziness in the 89th minute (and boy, that’s painful to write) cost us a point that might prove valuable at the end of April.
Well, that’s how the theory goes, anyway.
** – though it should be pointed out that their free kick came in part because one of our midfielders dawdled in the wrong place and let them grab the ball off him. Simply put, we should never have conceded that foul to begin with…
More on that later. For now, the bad news is that it’s another game without a win. Oxford seems a long, long time ago. And suddenly, the gap between us and the drop zone is getting too close for comfort.
In a seven-day period where we needed four points, we ended up with two. And those could have very easily been zero without our own late shows.
The good news is that yesterday we looked like a team again. We pressed forward, we hit the bar, Elliott’s goal maybe should have stood, and yes, we finally – FINALLY – found the target away from home.
In other news, the ravens at the Tower of London have just made a block-booking at the Raynes Park Travelodge.
I forget when I wrote the following in my notepad, although it was before Barnett replaced Taylor, but I scribbled down word for word “we can win (or lose) this”.
We were pressing for victory, although unfortunately so were Shrewsbury. You can guess the rest.
Perhaps the senior players had one of their “heart to heart” sessions that we’ve seen in the past? Maybe the very real threat of going down has shaken us from our slumber?
Maybe playing a formation that the players actually like and feel comfortable in helps? One thing is for sure, we looked a lot more effective than we have done in a while.
And yes, I’ve written that after a loss as well.
NA pretty much nailed it in his post-match interview, except for the “little blip” comment. Presumably scoring our first league away goal since British Summer Time ended in 2016 is considered “little”…
Plus points: We scored away from home. Looked better.
Minus points: We lost. Unable to put away chances.
The referee’s a…: Bit of a picky bastard at times, though he didn’t do too much wrong.
Them: Just had that little bit of extra cutting edge that ultimately undid us – knew that we’d shit ourselves if they ran at us, and that’s what they did.
My first visit to Shrewsbury since that awful FA Cup game back in the very early 1990s. I’m sure that was a Sunday game from memory, and I don’t think I’ll bother coming to Shropshire for another twenty-five years (where we’ll lose again).
Their ground is one of those traditional out-in-the-sticks places, which makes economic sense but also makes it identikit. I’m sure there was also the obligatory Frankie and Bennys “restaurant” around, though I didn’t hang around to check.
At least there were a couple of chippies nearby. And yes, once we get Historic England out of the way, we can start talking about how you can even walk to NPL from Tooting Broadway…
The locals did seem like a mixture of Welsh (more Welsh than Cardiff, apparently) and Brummie, which might explain that rather strange banner they had – “Breathe on ’em Salop”.
What other part of the country celebrates halitosis in that manner? Mind you, it’s all a bit weird up that part of the world anyway – people in Wrexham and Chester sound more Scouse than half the people from Liverpool…
Point to ponder: So, are we in a relegation battle? Not quite, in truth – but we are looking over our shoulder right now.
It’s become pretty clear that we need wins, and quick. The next two games are close to must-win as you can get, because they’re a) winnable, and b) going to boost our morale tenfold if we do.
Yesterday – and other times this season, to be fair – did at least prove that we have some fight in us still. And as pissed off as I was leaving Shropshire yesterday, if we can play like that for the rest of the season, we’ll be comfortably in L1 again for 17/18.
I mean that as well. We won’t be so unlucky every week from now until Oldham at KM, though obviously we can’t do too many more wankfests like Coventry and Charlton sounded.
And if we do hit a purple patch again, then we’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about.
One wonders if the increasing pressure on us to get results is starting to creep in. That can work in both ways – we almost tried too hard to get that away goal yesterday, and there’s going to be some very shredded nerves for the next couple of months.
It might scare NA into keeping faith with some of the senior players, even if they’re underperforming, because it won’t be a time to blood the youngsters.
But as somebody pointed out yesterday afterwards, why not start Nightingale instead of Robbo? At least he’s not playing for his retirement carriage clock.
On the flip side, we do have a lot of games left. The fact we’re looking over our shoulder in February may not be a bad thing, because that’s enough time to just get the momentum back with us again.
Imagine doing the same in April and realising your form has deserted you.
Of course, we actually have to do it from now until the last game of the season. And as those who have watched us over the years will know, if there’s an easy way and a hard way, we always choose the latter…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) We scored away. I repeat – we scored away. 2) Sadly it means we can no longer sing “We’re the Wombles, the mighty Wombles, we never score away”, to “Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Feels like a part of contemporary culture died yesterday. 3) Wonder if Mr E Samuelson enjoyed his birthday yesterday? Those of you who have theirs in the close season should consider themselves lucky.
Anything else? Yes. I won’t link to it for obvious reasons, but the Franchise OS is reporting that they’re doing a beamback to the Frenzydome for the 14th March.
While the room they hold it in will look like the Maudsley Hospital that evening, it does seem to have upset quite a few of our supporters.
The reason? They’re making money off the back of us. And it’s apparently against the AFCW ethos to do that.
Personally, I don’t give a shit if they are or not. They’ll have to spend whatever they make cleaning the dribble off the floor afterwards, and the less of the cuntstains that go to KM the better.
As stated on here and elsewhere, that evening is going to be, ahem, “unique”. More pointedly, I think the club have realised that after Charlton, the less opportunities for things to go wrong the better.
I don’t doubt the police have had some say (or a rather large input) into this. I doubt if that will be the last restriction for that evening, and whatever they suggest I expect the club will approve of.
But let’s focus on this beamback. Why hasn’t AFCW made mention of it yet? Knowing what I know about how Franchise operate, I expect it was agreed to announce it at the same time and they broke that agreement.
They’re that petty. Not just with us, by the way – I know one journo who had his entire quotes for the Monday papers lifted verbatim by the local Franchise press on the Saturday evening, which is a big no-no.
Why are we agreeing to this to begin with? As said earlier, do you want any of them there that evening? It’ll be bad enough if it’s a bubble match** with only 200-600.
** – for those who still don’t know, this is a bubble match. And I think the FSF are wrong to oppose them for this particular occasion, although I also wonder how much of the “FS” bit they represent at times…
Won’t it make us look bad if they get a load at the Frenzydome? Again, does that matter? Like it or not, if we give them 600 for KM they’ll take it.
They took close to 2k when I had to cover them at Craven Cottage, and you’ll just know they’ll turn up at NPL too. Sadly, they do have some support, and we have to accept that.
And shouldn’t we be treating them differently than other teams? That’s part of who we are, surely? This, I suspect, is where AFCW needs to rides roughshot over a significant percentage of its fans.
I’m in no doubt that those involved in the running of the club would love to ban every single bit of Franchise representation, even down to the players.
But in the real world, we can’t quite do that. We all want to be in the Football League, right? Or indeed, playing any sort of competitive football. Well, them’s the rules and you either follow them or you just play shit and meaningless friendlies for eternity.
Against clubs who pass the ethics test, of course.
We treat them as “differently” (ie badly) as much as we possibly can anyway. They will get minimum hospitality, for starters, and I would guess the EFL are aware that our relationship with them is like no other between any other two of their member clubs.
If we want to host Millwall, or Sheffield United, or Bolton, then we have to host Franchise as well. We can’t pick and choose that, nor should we.
Some of our fans may feel we’re bending over backwards for them. I think it’s simply a case of AFCW growing up, and your teenage years are always the most painfully emotionally anyway. We’ll cope, and we’ll be better for it.
Besides, we can always “accidentally” cut the cable for their beamback…
So, was it worth it? Hmph.
In a nutshell: Roll on Gillingham.