Two days later, it still feels damn good…
Recovered, yet? Or perhaps more accurately, have you finally managed to peel yourself off the ceiling? Doesn’t matter if you haven’t, we did something on Tuesday evening that was a genuine defining moment of the AFCW era.
It was so monumental that even your editor getting stuck at Dublin airport gate 306 for 4.5hours didn’t seem quite so bad after all. And as at least two people pointed out since the game ended, we would have lost if I turned up.
That gave me plenty of time to catch up on some post-Franny bashing reading material, one of which is the following report from STTA….
Even in the movies who could have penned that ending?
The franchise customers locked in our ground with their club-stealing leader to watch a proper football club and their fans celebrate a famous victory.
They don’t understand why we did a lap of honour for players and fans to share that moment, but then again why would they?
They have invented their own version of history, of course, but the facts remain 15 years ago a club was stolen, ripped out of it’s community for the benefit of a property deal 70 miles up the road.
The reasons – it was too arduous to bring a non-league club up through the pyramid and there was no chance of us ever finding a home back in Merton.
So let them be confused why it means so much to us to beat them in a league fixture (after working our way up from the ninth tier) shortly before work begins on our new ground at Plough Lane.
And for the record, I don’t buy them being that fucking dim. The reality is they can’t acknowledge the extent of our success without admitting that the club they support was founded on lies and deceit, a shameful existence that will always undermine anything they achieve on the pitch.
You see, they don’t get to experience moments like those we enjoyed at the final whistle on Tuesday night. Because to experience that emotion a football club needs a soul. Something Milton Keynes FC will never have.
You could sense the atmosphere walking into the ground. A mixture of desire to win, hatred of the opposition and legitimate Dons fans bonded together for the evening ahead.
And it got to the franchise.
Their players looked uncomfortable, no doubt briefed beforehand on what lay in store but I think surprised by the ferocity of the hatred spitting from all 4 sides of the ground. Paul Judas Heald clearly rattled by the abuse from the John Green end before we even got underway.
Whilst it got to them our boys looked energized by the support, visibly growing an inch as they took the field. I think they understood that losing this game wasn’t an option, not only for us but for their season too.
90 minutes football would decide whether this season was a success or failure and they were about to deliver.
The first half was cagey, I thought we had more possession but didn’t create many clear goal scoring chances. Franchise struggled to get into the game and from early on looked like they’d rather be somewhere else.
Second half we came out to attack the home end, everything seemed in place for the outcome we all wanted. We just needed a spark, we needed our star players to deliver on the big occasion and LTB didn’t let us down.
62 minutes on the clock Lyle delivered the ball to the back post, Barcham nodded it down and Jake Reeves arrived to slam it into the franchise net, cue scenes around KM, this was definitely happening.
And Lyle wasn’t done. 68 minutes on the clock he picked up the ball again wide right. This time he cut inside one frannie, went past another and buried the ball in the bottom corner.
We’d normally be nervous even at 2 up but not on Tuesday night. We enjoyed every bit of that last 20 minutes, the only complaint was that the 6 minutes added wasn’t enough.
Because we were rejoicing in their misery, soaking up every moment of their most uncomfortable night. We sung plenty of songs but I particularly liked ‘why the fuck are you still here’. Seven words that summed up our disdain for them.
There was no response. The franchise had been put in their place by Wimbledon’s football club and they had nothing left to say.
Plus points: the atmosphere, the result, reaching 50 points and pretty much everything else between 7:45 and 10pm.
Minus points: franchise in our ground, they have enough to stay up.
The referees a: great example of how it should be done. Thought he controlled the game and occasion expertly. Shame we’ll need at least one more promotion to benefit from that standard of refereeing on a regular basis.
Anything else: it would be unfair to single out any player, from 1 – 11 they were superb so I’ll use this section to congratulate the Gaffer.
Make no mistake his cock was properly on the block on Tuesday, and he came through with flying colours.
We’re not always great under the weight of expectation, our mental frailties have been exposed before in big games this season but Neal got them in the right place for this one. He played them in an attacking system they understand and motivated them to give us another memorable night in the Ardley era.
So was it worth it? I don’t need to answer that.
In a nutshell: Only one Wimbledon
Normally I do very minor bits of editing on pieces of copy that I receive, including such things as capital letters for team names. In this case, I’ll leave it as it is – I won’t even give them the dignity of an upper case letter at the start of their name…
Yeah, that’s slightly petty. And maybe not mentioning them in our programme beyond the absolute bare minimum could perhaps be considered that as well.
But then you remember it’s Franchise (sorry, back to capital letters again), and then you suddenly twig they’re lucky we blanked them.
The more I’ve read since Tuesday, the more I’m convinced that it was the perfect evening. They came to us and simply didn’t want to know, on or off the pitch. We did the complete opposite, and we’re still living off that glow even up until this sunny Thursday afternoon.
After Northampton, we needed to at least put on a performance when it really mattered. Defeat against them wouldn’t have been unthinkable, but it would have been immensely difficult to swallow, especially twice in a season.
It’s quite easy to forget now just how much was on the line before Tuesday. As an actual game, it was merely a mid-to-lower table clash, and as such wouldn’t have made too much difference in the table.
But this was more. Much, much, much more.
A lot of realisations were made on Tuesday evening that goes beyond even just beating them. Afterwards, many were saying how cathartic it was, and this particular fixture was always the final major psychological hurdle for most of us.
OK, as said last week, the first game against them at NPL or a playoff final will be like that, but now we’ve finally faced them on “our” patch future encounters won’t have quite the same emotion.
People may well have moved on in one regard, because they’ve come across them first hand – many for the first time – and they saw they weren’t all that after all. An empty shell of an organisation, if you will.
That’s what happened to your editor when he had to cover their game against Fulham, although even then there were occasions I had to really bite my tongue and count to ten (walking past a couple in their late 50s wearing Franchise scarves was the one that almost did it for me – I’ve never supported the Cottagers so much in my life).
True, that experience was part of the reason why I’ve been the other side of the Irish Sea for the past two days, but we collectively realised the difference between AFCW and Franchise, if we didn’t know it already.
Everything we do comes from the heart. Everything they do is contrived and comes from a script.
I’m reliably informed that when we go to their plastic shithole, we’re loud and proud and let them know who we are. They apparently keep their heads down on their own turf, presumably not willing to cause a fuss.
On Tuesday? We were even louder, even prouder and really reminded them who AFCW are. All they could muster were some half-hearted attempts at pretending they weren’t supporting Liverpool on 14th May 1988.
We’ve known for the last 15 years that Franchise are liars. Don’t believe their lies that they’re somehow merely in the crossfire about what happened, and that the poison only flows from us to them.
They have thrown some seriously nasty shit against AFCW and (individual) AFCW fans over the years. Tuesday was the ultimate payback for all that, and it was the evening we bided our time and then finally swung the knockout punch with perfection.
You know those age-restricted Youtube videos, where some mouthy pikey chav gives it the big one then gets sparked out with one punch by a boxer? That’s kind of what this week turned out to be.
Obviously, violence is wrong and we should never hope that a Frenzy ends up in A&E for mouthing off at one of our fans. Honest. But on a broader scale, this is why I’m glad we haven’t suffered fallout from any nawtyness – zero arrests is a genuinely impressive achievement, all things considered.
I’m in no doubt Erik Samuelson and co were dreading this fixture, not just on the field, and the only incidents I heard were a) Franchise fans throwing coins, and b) something hitting the Frenzy team bus afterwards.
How true either of these are I don’t know, but considering we’ve hardly heard anything about the latter even from Frenzyville, that might simply be a case of urban legend.
There are two reasons why it went off peacefully. Or three if you count the fact that we won 2-0 and were too busy rubbing their noses in it. Firstly, maybe it was a subconscious realisation from all concerned, but I think people did hold back on the red mist after all.
Whether that was the message from the club getting through, or maybe it’s because we don’t have much of a hoolie problem to begin with (and never have, at least in the 30+ years I’ve been supporting us), people went about it in an almost textbook AFCW way.
Secondly, the police presence and ticket arrangements helped big time. I know some found them restrictive, but for this one game they simply had to put up with it. I would expect us to repeat exactly the same setup the next time they come to KM, because it’s better to be overcautious for this one.
I don’t doubt there are a couple of things all concerned would do differently, though you need to go through the exercise in the first place to know that.
I did find it amusing when the OS said that no Franchise fans would be allowed in our bar areas. Speaking of those mongs, the bubble arrangement worked perfectly, and so did their beamback. And it’s a real shame that there’s no stories coming from the Frenzydome about how they all fucked off.
Some got upset that Franchise made a bit of money out of it. Personally, I think it was a (literal) small price to pay – and is it true that they only took 200 at most to KM? It does help when they hardly turn out, and the ones that do look like rabbits in headlights.
Which leads me to Wankie turning up…
Whilst enjoying my umpteenth pint of Beamish (not Guinness), I was watching SSN with ES and NA getting interviewed, but with the long haired blubbering vagina arriving flanked by a couple of gorillas, with that dodgy grin of his.
After we’ve beaten his lifelong (sic) club, it made the false aura of bravado even more funny to look at and mock.
Leaving aside that apparently they had to hold the sniffer dogs away from him, his whole raison d’etre for turning up backfired on him big time. When he was claiming he was in two minds whether to turn up, he was merely being his attention seeking self.
It’s no coincidence that the Sky cameras were there just as he was walking in – I’ve seen them at plenty of press rooms around the country, and they know exactly where to go because people tell them.
A publicity stunt, pure and simple. Wankie has never been “brave”, and he wouldn’t have even turned up without hired goons flanking his every move. Presumably they hold his straw when he’s kneeling down in the toilet, too.
If you remember the last proper update, the important battle was to win the psychological battle, because this hurts people more than a good kicking behind a pub at closing time.
This was the worst of all outcomes for him. Firstly, he saw his team car-crash right in front of him, at the worst possible venue to do it.
His plan of turning up, to lord it over us and rub it in our noses backfired spectacularly. He wasn’t there to support Franchise, he was there to get his ugly mush in front of the telly, with a victory over us to boot.
Christ, he wasn’t even in the relative safety of the Frenzydome beamback. Instead he had to look around and see how a proper team with proper fans do it, and he couldn’t even slink back to his own safe space.
He’ll never admit it, but I expect at some point on Tuesday evening he wondered if it was all worth it after all. You think of how painful that was for him, especially on a silent coach journey all the way back up the M1, that he somehow has to justify that.
And he couldn’t even play the victim card because nobody even attempted to twat him. For somebody as insecure as him, who needs the publicity for everything, hurting him mentally was better than not hurting him physically
Make no mistake, Franchise and their bastard offspring are in anguish, and in deeper ways than they’ll ever let on. Christ, there was one Frenzy on Twatter who was claiming that his side “were the better club”.
There’s bravado, and then there’s just outright denial in the face of humiliation. We shouldn’t be surprised that they’re pretending they’re not hurt big time by this – after all, they’ve pretended to support a pretend football club since 2002.
I make no apologies on focusing on them for most of this update. As Danny Baker once said, half of it is them losing as well as us winning. And just as it is a rivalry (albeit it a unique one), they do define us to some degree.
If they didn’t, then Tuesday wouldn’t have mattered. But what they’ll never understand is that every single AFCW fan wants to see them gone. Full stop. And not just the decline into League Two and further down, though I expect they’ll survive this season.
As for AFCW, we overcame a big psychological hurdle on Tuesday in so many ways, but one of them was the 50 point barrier. We’re still 99% safe, one win may guarantee safety but two definitely will.
Given this week, it’s ironic that we’re facing a side on Saturday who did it the way Wankie and co should have done, instead of thievery. Nobody hates Fleetwood, at least as far as I know.
The rest of the season might get quite interesting, although our first priority is to make sure we don’t fall flat. We put everything into Franchise, and you’d hope we don’t pay for that with a series of losses as a result.
We won’t reach the playoffs (famous last words), but now we can focus on what we need to do next season – and we have nine games to play around with. Pre-season for 2017/18 almost starts now.
I could go on about our trip to the Fylde coast, but be honest – you’re not thinking about the next match even now, and you probably won’t until about 3pm on Saturday. Emotions run deeper than you realise over this.
SW19 called the whole buildup a circus, and the next time we play them I’ll probably call it that again. Despite everything, we’d still happily never play the fixture unless we really have to – even with Tuesday still in mind.
But AFCW changed just a little bit more this week, it overcame something that has genuinely bothered many within the club for a good while, and it came out of it with heads held high, the moral highground and three points to boot.
Should we be “scared” of Franchise any more? No. Although I’m going to keep quiet about suggesting the second time we play them at KM might be more, ahem, interesting – in a Karl Robinson at Charlton scenario.
However, there will no longer be a first time of dealing with them, at least in terms of playing at our current home venue. We know what to expect now, and half the problem with them is that previously, we’ve never known how to properly handle it.
Us and Franchise will never be “normal”, although those who refuse to even accept their existence are pretty much a small minority now. And probably the same very small minority who still try and fight 2002 in 2017.
For the rest of us, we can deal with them. And a 2-0 win, where we played well and they didn’t, and where they finally got reminded who they were – and who we are – and with us proving the point we’ve known even pre-28/5, helps. Funny that.
Not bad for a pub team. Not bad at all…