Cobbled together, part trois

Recovered from the shock of winning a game yet?

To be honest, I don’t think even we would have got away with limping away from Sixfields with a point or less. And the reaction to this win has been quite an interesting one.

Before that, STTA was there to witness history:

Let’s start with the positives. He changed the formation and the personnel, couple of weeks late but we finally ditched 4-3-3. Replaced it with what looked like 4-2-3-1 to me.

Darius returned in the centre of defence next to Will, Soares and Trotter played in front of them. Then we had 3 across with Barcham left Kaja right and Harry tucked in behind Lyle, who played up top on his own.

And it was an improvement, not a huge one but our defence looked less likely to concede and we had forwards playing close enough to each other to actually link up successfully, if not very often.

But we still reminded me of an old car with a stripped down engine that a trainee mechanic is trying to put back together. We have some decent parts but they’ve not been put in the correct places so we splutter and misfire our way through the journey.

And we’re lucky the game at Sixfields was the equivalent of an afternoon drive in the country. Yes, they were garbage, by a distance the worst team I have seen this season. They are missing numerous first team players including their only goalscorer, and it shows.

So let’s not dress this up as the start of our ascent up the table. The truth is we scraped home against an abysmal team by 1 goal.

All the game has confirmed to me is that we are going to spend the season battling relegation, but also – as long as we avoid injuries to key players – that it’s a battle we should win.

There are going to be many more disappointing afternoons than good ones. We are going to get beat regularly but if we can win games like this against the Northamptons, Oldhams, Plymouths and Gillinghams of the league we can avoid the trap door back to League 2.

So we set up slightly differently and brought in a few fresh faces. Most important was Darius, he’s a massive player for us and whatever the formation we need to keep him fit and at the centre of our defence. He’s a natural leader and we had noticeable more fight in the side with him on the pitch.

Egli Kaja also got his chance. Maybe unlucky to be up against the only decent player Northampton have in David Buchanan, their left back. He did well though and for me deserves another shot on Tuesday.

The other change was Harry. I heard in the week he’s not been exactly over doing it in training, which explains why he’s only now starting a game 6 weeks after arriving.

His main focus on a Saturday is where he’s drinking and what lucky girl is receiving his alternative set plays. However, the lad does have ability and it probably summed up the quality on show that a half-fit Harry won the game more or less on his own.

Plus points: a goal, ditching 433, Darius back in defence.

Minus points: Deji on the bench while Fuller plays. Trotter stuck in 2nd gear. No place for Hartigan.

The referees a…: decent enough sort. Dealt with a couple of rough challenges by Andy Barcham and John Joe O’Toole, both rightly yellow carded. Home fans didn’t like him but that reminded me of us at KM, plenty blaming the ref when the problems lie elsewhere.

Them: awful, I was worried when they appointed JFH that he’d turn them round and we’d have to look elsewhere for 1 of the 4 teams worse than us.

On yesterday’s evidence he’s got his work cut out. They carried even less threat up front than us (yes, I know) and if last weeks result is anything to go by they’ll concede loads.

Point to ponder: You learn a lot about people in a crisis so the last few weeks have been an interesting period.

What’s clear is that despite yesterday’s result there are plenty of supporters who don’t want Neal Ardley in charge any more, even if we won 3 straight they’d still prefer we were looking for his replacement.

The football hasn’t been particularly enjoyable since he arrived but what has tipped the scale to the point where he now seems out of favour with the majority?

He’s stubborn which irritates people. On more than the one occasion he’s been condescending to the point of offence when talking about fans understanding of football. And then there was the pally behaviour with Karl Robinson.

All easily avoided and no doubt contributions to the swing in feelings.

But I think the clincher is abandoning our identity as a football team to go in search of ‘progression’ by playing a fast tempo slick passing style that we’ve not seen in decades of supporting the Dons. And did we want that sort of team anyway?

When reflecting on our current position I considered a hypothetical situation, would I prefer AFC Wimbledon to be playing under Wally Downes management – playing a direct style, being a bit nawty, having a big lump or 3 and playing mostly long ball, territorial and set piece stuff?

I’m not saying Wally is my next choice for manager but for reasons of identity I’d be tempted by that scenario. I’d certainly look forward to attending games more than I do now. Not for the spectacle of football that would await but because it would feel more like my club.

We’d be inhospitable, particularly so when the franchise or Charlton manager were in town. We wouldn’t have tweets from our vice-captain saying it was good to see the away crowd, we wouldn’t have the first team coach chatting to Lewington on our pitch or our manager embracing Karl Robinson at the end of a game.

We’d be Wimbledon and having fuck all to do with them.

I don’t know if the answer lies in this direction but I do think a by-product of abandoning the club’s identity is you lose some of what the supporters attach themselves to.

When I read fans views over various social media channels I sense that separation and I’m not sure results on their own can rectify the damage.

Anything else? Yes actually, fucking Lyle Taylor. He can sprint about putting challenges in to stay on the right side of the crowd but what about jumping for a header occasionally?

Every time a ball comes towards him in the air instead of jumping he arches his back into the defender. 9 times out of 10 the referee awards a free kick against him and every time without fail he waves his arms around like he’s been hard done by.

This is one of those problems that lead many of us query what the strikers coach is doing. Have we even got one and if we have why don’t they teach Lyle to jump for the ball and win a header?

And finally…: so up next it’s two home games against Rotherham and Plymouth. I expect us to lose Tuesday, we always do after a win and Rotherham will be sufficiently organized to deal with what we have on offer.

But I think we’ll sneak another 3 points next Saturday. Luckily I will be at Barcelona v Malaga instead but I’ll be watching from afar and if we are to stay up this season it’s a game we need to win.

So, was it worth it: spoze so

In a nutshell: we scored a goal

A win is indeed a win, and this weekend does feel a bit nicer than other recent ones. Certainly the ones after Blackburn away.

And you have to say, it makes going to KM to watch Rotherham on Tuesday just a bit less tense. Certainly there’ll be questions beforehand, like can we record a second win on the bounce? Or – shock, horror – keep the same formation for a second game in a row?

It was good to find out Harry Forrester was a) starting, and b) scoring. Goals, that is, not what he got up to in a Northampton nightclub.

I don’t think he’s a bad player at all, and those sort of players you often have to indulge a little bit – turn a blind eye to how well (or not) they do in training, and what they can do where it really matters instead.

After all, would we have got those lovely three points yesterday without him?

Darius returning in his proper position is always going to make a difference, in a good way too. In a team that sorely lacks characters throughout (and not just on the field), he’s a bit of a beacon in that regards.

I’m glad we resisted the temptation to put in Paul Robinson instead. Just as I’m glad we didn’t stick with the failed 4-3-3 bollocks. I think that might have been an act of stubborness too far.

But the mood is slightly better than it has been recently. The trouble is, winning yesterday was a minimum requirement and nothing more…

We may revert back to awful type on Tuesday. In fact, many deep down will be shocked if we don’t. And the same comments will get made, the same frustrations will come out, and the same conclusions we’ve had for so long will be reached.

Yesterday could have been a League Two fixture, and if it had been you wouldn’t have been surprised at either the result or the gameplay. As it is, it was a L1 tie between two sides with varying degrees of shitness.

And that’s why I think there’s been a lukewarm reaction to it.

Sure, three points is nice, regardless of who you get it against. It’s good the formation was finally changed, that players were (starting to) get played in their right positions. But as somebody put it last night, it’s like being hungry and settling for a McDonalds’ cheeseburger.

I was going to give NA a bit more slack this morning, because he did at least change things. Whether he simply had to we’ll never know. And while his post-match comments showed he was obviously relieved, he wasn’t going overboard.

Tuesday certainly gets more pleasant (or at least less unpleasant) for him, and not just because of that pre-game hospitality announcement thing** he has to do.

** – I can’t imagine he likes doing it, and Terry Brown certainly didn’t, so why do we continue with something like that? 

And if the support had finally turned on him, not only would there be no way back for him, but it wouldn’t have been a nice ending to his tenure.

He’s been given a reprieve, but STTA’s comments above about him are very interesting…

It’s definitely true that there were plenty of people yesterday saying “oh great, we’re stuck with him” after we won. Even those more supportive haven’t become emboldened, and started to crow about him again from the rooftops.

It’s also definitely true that this season has damaged him, perhaps permanently – a stubborn choice of tactics that are poor and an almost (if not actually) dogmatic approach to transfer dealings can’t be ignored when you’re simply not scoring goals and winning games.

Questions that haven’t been asked before are now getting aired. Like is it true our strikers coach is Simon Bassey? If so, why? We’re told his biggest asset is scouting, so he should be doing that full time rather than teaching Lyle Taylor how to jump.

But what’s become the biggest truism of all is this – many people haven’t fallen out of love with Neal Ardley, because they were never in love with him to begin with. And now that’s clearly showing.

Sure, he’s definitely respected for what he did when he took over. We are a much more professional outfit on the field because of him, something definitely noted by those on the DTB and others in the club’s hierarchy.

There was obviously Fleetwood, where he deserved to stay up as much as anyone, and of course Wombley and promotion to L1. But the criticisms of him have always bubbled underneath the surface, and they’ve been much more aired in public this season (and last).

And one is left with the very real feeling that if there’s a club statement on the OS, thanking NA for his work and wishing him well for the future, the majority of people will not be upset.

This “disconnect” isn’t anything new. Even when he was playing for WFC, I don’t think he was universally beloved. One needs to pick up a few copies of Yidaho or Go Jo Go (remember them?) to suggest that things haven’t changed that much.

Also, this week your editor came across a draft of something I wrote in 2014, where I said that people were falling out of love that season with our current manager.

The reason for that was a boring style of play that stifled things, and a approach to everything that could have come from some academic think tank rather than a football club. Yes, I could have written at any time since about January this year, and probably well before that.

OK, I can understand his pally act with Kunt “Karl” Robinson, primarily because managers and coaches do have to be cordial with each other away from the field. Though the optics of doing that in public look bad and tone deaf.

I’m not going to state whether Harry Forrester’s training should keep benching him, although as said above if he’s playing well and scoring goals then he shouldn’t be. NA wouldn’t be the first manager to not handle such players, and he won’t be the last.

But things are definitely different, or perhaps more telling returning to what they were before we suddenly hit form in late 2015/early 2016.

The identity thing does have a bearing on it, especially at times when the “Wimbledon Spirit” is nowhere to be seen. Granted, it’s not 1986 any longer, and a lot of the 1990s was definitely un-Wimbledonesque.

But at the very least we should be showing a lot more bottle than we have done, and simply going “fuck you, we’re Wimbledon”. Too often we don’t even get that.

People will continue to give NA verbal support, but I suspect they do that because he’s AFCW’s manager and not NA himself. That’s what I sensed at Oxford, before the reality on the field bit in its soul-destroying way.

If Alan Reeves, or Chris Powell, or Nigel Adkins, or even Karl Robinson himself became our boss, you know what? They’ll just start chanting for them at their first game instead. OK, maybe not the current Charlton boss, although my warped sense of humour would find it quite funny if he did.

But STTA is right when he says that even a good set of results won’t change the minds of a lot of people now.

Yes, the club will want him to stay, and yes – it wants him to lead us out at NPL if that ever happens. But increasingly, they may be in a minority who do…

44 thoughts to “Cobbled together, part trois”

  1. Glad of the win (which my daughter told me unbeknownst of my instructions to my wife not to tell me and probably ruin my Saturday – yes it is at that stage) and to hear of a change in formation with people playing in their correct positions.

    It’s a start. But I to fear revert to type at KM on Tuesday as NA will see it (rightly I guess) as a different type if game: a home game.

    That of course should be one where we start off on the front foot and attack but will we?

    The stubbornness and disconnect has made me tgink of Wenger and Arsenal in many respects. Though he has 5 years v 21 there are such similarities. I guess I am saying if he continues to turn it around tgat is fine but there is that underlying malaise about his tenure and style.

    Interesting observations about our players reacting to O’Toole and the lack of passion that identifies us as Wimbledon. NA in truth was never front ans centre if that and it shiws in hus teams: low yellow & red card count.

    We couldn’t be that ’86 team today but I am sure we could be a bit more of a stylish Wycombe?

    Certainly questions still need to be asked and if that is at board level it needs communication outward so we know. Otherwise undue oressure and heresay rule.

    And unrest off the pitch is a sure fire recipe fir disaster on it.

    In some ways I am glad I cannot make Tuesday. will be a hard game and getting anything from it I WILL believe is a good achievement.

  2. We’re in the bottom four, fucking boring and Ardley’s a gobshite, of course we’ve had enough of him.

  3. “We’d be inhospitable, particularly so when the franchise or Charlton manager were in town. We wouldn’t have tweets from our vice-captain saying it was good to see the away crowd, we wouldn’t have the first team coach chatting to Lewington on our pitch or our manager embracing Karl Robinson at the end of a game.

    We’d be Wimbledon and having fuck all to do with them.”

    Agree 100%.

  4. Great read. We seem to be in state of flux at the moment, not knowing which way to turn. And yes I love LTB, but he sure is a bit of a primadonna.

  5. Any manager, over the space of a number of seasons, is going to accrue a fine number of ‘negative moments’. And yes they start to add up, in a section of fans’ minds.
    Whilst true, my main – and only – issue is NA’s intransigence to the realities of League Football on a budget: i.e. we will never be the lovechild of tippy tappy Barcelona and honour without blemish Corinthian Casuals.
    “We are Wimbledon, who the fuck are you?”
    That’s the core of our identity,
    And at the core of it, and with all due mutual respect, NA thinks he’s better than us. Which is why he keeps trying to change our DNA, and ends up over and over with some Frankensteinian monster instead. Almost every time.
    I am grateful for him keeping us up in 2013; for booting the Academy into an effective and successful conveyor belt; for all the behind-the-scenes techie Director Of Football type stuff he’s accomplished; for the post-Satanage spurt and getting us up to L1; for getting us to midtable obscurity in the first season in L1… but that long stretch into the dying of the light of 16/17 season, where the Great Thinker really cemented in. He thought he had time to dust off his hobby horse (with the lure of the Chelsea-quality pitch at KM). He let players go (willingly and otherwise). He got his wishlist in (supposedly).
    Surely, he has to now realise, a quarter way through the season already, that’s it’s got to be back-to-basics now, with a dash of letting the players play (even a couple of those Allen Iverson types who don’t do ‘practice’ slide onto the teamsheet).
    It’s a results based business. I don’t give a flying fuck about “controlling the game”, being perpetually and mystifyingly “unlucky”, how fucking well someone does -or not – in training. It’s what happened in 90 minutes FFS.
    Keep us in L1, and job done. Another feather in his cap, and ours, and he can go find a club that will properly fuel his aspirations with the fondest of send-offs.
    Of course, he might manage to hit on a magic formula again, a la 2016 – but tbh it’ll only be a brief respite before his recidivism kicks back in.
    Face facts. And Ardley loves facts.
    A leopard can’t change its spots: and that applies to our club’s get-into-em DNA just as much as NA’s innate safety-first bookishness.
    But he’s our manager, and – as long as he does his best, and allows the players to do the same – he will have my support.

    1. Hi Tudor,

      This season will be a tough one for the club. As the editor has mentioned that this will be a season in which the club will have to battle relegation all season, there is no doubt about it. I think that NA knows it and he needs to get down to the basics of winning games. The 4-3-3 formation is useless for the club. This formation might be effective for other clubs which have much more financial resources. We are bound to suffer relegation if the manager continue to be stubborn and utilise such formation. We simply do not have such players to display the effectiveness of NA’s strategy.

      Our problem now is the strikeforce. Both Taylor and McDonald are currently out of form. I wonder whether it is feasible to give Jayden Antwi-Nyame a chance. I know that this will be a risky move. Is it worthwhile for a risk?

      Any suggestions?


    2. Wow. How well put sir! If we got a mid-season MtM you’d need to say that to him. Or if you didn’t I’d read it to him!

  6. The worm has turned because under Ardley watching AFC Wimbledon has become a chore.

    We play unnecessarily over-cautious football that is not only dull but ultimately self-defeating. That’s why we are in the bottom four.

  7. 6 goals this season & in the last 20 games. Even with the win Ardley has to go.

    We all know now the club’s not going anywhere under his management. Think the board have to be brave and stop holding on. If we get someone in by mid November then he’s got time to assess the squad pre-January and finally as a group of fans we can get behind someone new to push the club onwards and to better places.

  8. Little left to say: we are in the death throws of Ardley’s tenure due to HIS predictable intransigence.

    Zero sympathy left for him.

    When not if.

    Perhaps an attendance of 3300 on Tuesday might sharpen up the boards thinking.

    Let’s bloody hope so.

  9. I think the board have already noticed the drop in gates, hence adults for £10 and kids for a quid this Tuesday

  10. Oh! Mr Ardley
    What shall we do?
    You’re boring the tits off spectators
    While you’re taking us down to League Two
    They’ve started going shopping
    Or staying in the bar
    Oh! Mr Ardley
    What a silly man you are!

  11. Funny how these teams that zoomed to the top of the league early doors
    Are starting to falter – whereas 4 of the bottom 6 clubs won on Saturday!
    Maybe a bit of levelling out is occurring now that the summer months are
    Can anyone, seriously see Shrewsbury gaining promotion?
    If we are somehow away from the dreaded drop by year end – will we still
    be baying for NA’s head ?

  12. We are planning to support Neal with cash in the January window so whilst his approval rating with the fan base may be at an all-time low there is very little chance of a change of manager this season.

    Also a couple of point on attendances:

    I think we’re something like 94% season tickets now? If we are an attendance of 3,300 in the league is impossible as all ST holders are counted whether they’re there or not.

    Second point is that our attendance figures may be a little lower but away numbers are down 30% on last season. In the first 6 home games of 2016/17 average away gate was 570, the opening 6 games this season it’s 415.

    1. A 1-0 win against a very poor side is not going to change my view on wanting Ardley out. Smacks of desperation when he takes our two most dangerous players off and replaces them with defensive players. Very boring tactics as always. On Tuesday would like to see Hartigan back in for that waste of space Trotter. Not sure what he did wrong to get dropped. Would also love to see a three of Will Deji and Darius with Francomb and Kennedy wing backs. But it won’t happen

    2. If that’s true, that’s really depressing. He’ll bring in experience that may or may not keep us in league one but it won’t solve the bigger issues. The club won’t be going anywhere. Really hope the board sees the light.

    3. How do you balance the 94% with 3600 attending v Rochdale?

      The board may feel comfortable with the turgid football driving people away as effectively they have sold a high proportion of season tickets. But I’m fairly sure that the drop in program sales, bar sales, carvery sales etc with each stay away will be of concern.

      If not, why not..

  13. Not sure if I agree that the fans have turned on Ardley, at least not the ones who were there in the away end on Saturday, who were singing his name in the usual fashion. He is someone I root for – lest we forget, we are defying gravity being in League 1 (if you consider the size of our gates and facilities. I know you can point at the Rochdales of this world but, for every Rochdale, there are also your Lutons, Coventrys, Swindons or Notts Countys slumming it in L2) and NA is the person responsible for getting us there. I want him to succeed – and success for me is keeping us in this league – and hopefully Saturday was the start of a new approach, with fewer square pegs in round holes, that will help us get more of the decent squad we have. All that said, if we fail to score on either of the next two fixtures, I too will be back in meltdown mode.

  14. 4th from bottom team beats 3rd from bottom team, big deal! NA has taken us as far as he can so it’s time to say thanks and part company

  15. Well said Dun Cow. I see all this constant moaning on here and WUP about NA and agreed everything has been far from gate since March. However, every game I have managed to get to over the past 18 months home and particularly away – most still seem to be behind him. We need to see some improvement in the goal drought and agree having a good moan is part of being a fan. However, there needs to be a bit of reality check – we are in League 1 and in the main during NA’s tenure have served up pretty standard ‘entertainment’ value for this level. Leagues 1&2 are light years from watching the Premiership and I think that is maybe part of the problem for some. I’m old enough to remember the early years under ‘Harry’ Bassett. The ‘entertainment’ level was certainly no better then – thankfully the board stuck with him.

    1. The entertainment under Bassett was very high indeed due to the goalmouth action. It may not have been pretty but it wasn’t boring.

      Ardley’s stuff is boring and ineffectual to boot, hence the misery

    2. It is probably better we moan on here than in the stadium isn’t it?

      But I don’t think it will be too long before that might start if there is not an improvement; in results or style of play.

      Look I don’t want to have NA leave but his intransigence is at the least annoying and to the club I love dangerous.

      I was there during the Bassett earlier years but I cannot recall not being entertained or for that matter worried that much by relegation.

      But that was an event in that time and this is one now.

      All I think people really want having analysed things is to see the KISS principle applied; simple formations; players playing in the positions they have since they were probably youth; once going forward continue going forward; midifled supporting attacks; midfield supporting defence; leavine one person up; having someone on the back post for the overhit corner; having a right footed player play on the right and a left-footed player play on the left; have ashot from outside the box; hit the ball first time (often even if you don’t hit it well the surprise element catches out the opposition); put in a decent tackle even if you do give the foul; support each other at a throw in by actually moving to receive the ball; run into space; jump for the ball; have a guess where it might bounce next and go towards it; talk to each other; show some fight and spirit; etc etc etc…

      Sorry went off on one there a bit…

      But you get the gist!

  16. It was great when we marched through the divisions under ‘Harry’. Undoubtedly my most fondly remembered years supporting the Dons. I was pretty young in those early yo yo years but remember vividly the ball regularly being hoofed over the north stand and plenty of abuse and moaning from the West Bank and south side. Happy days, but what we didn’t have was wall to wall top level football on the TV to compare it with.

    1. Even allowing for the ravages of time distorting things, even the worse under Bassett was never as poor or boring as currently.

      Nor did it ever last as long or as unchecked as it has been since 2016/17

  17. A welcome win yesterday. We weren’t great but we were better than them. The puff of wind in our sails probably won’t make it to Tuesday as we will get Sutton or leatherhead away in the cup and we can start worrying about tickets.

  18. My last word on memories of ‘Harry’. Overall they were fantastic times and certainly a lot more enjoyable than the last 12 months! The point I was making is that ‘Harry’ did take us down from Div 3 in his first full season as manager (admittedly after securing promotion the year before) and I’ll always be grateful that the board didn’t panic and sack him then. No question, NA needs to get some real improvement in results and performances in the next couple of months – just IMO he has done enough over most of the past five years to deserve the chance to do that.

  19. The whole nostalgia around ‘my club’ and ‘we are wimbledon who the fuck are you’ is valid for a particular generation, but not necessarily for all Wimbledon fans, and if we were playing tippy tappy and winning games no one would care about the style being un-Wimbledon.

    In fact, I’m sure people were moaning about our style a couple of years ago when our only tactic seemed to involve pumping a long ball up to Bayo.

    I don’t buy the ‘this is the style we should play’ line, ultimately because no one cares about it when you’re winning.

    1. True. Some of the TB years involved some lovely football (relative to level) in the BSS and BSP. I remember bringing mates to KM and telling them not to expect “old fashioned Wimbledon” tactics.

      If NA wants to sort things out without having a big target man I’m fine with that (after all, how many other L1 sides rely on one? And how many of such players seem to be around?) but my faith in his ability to actually sort it is wavering if I’m honest and the football since January 2016 has been pretty poor to watch whether we win, lose or score.

  20. So we are now onto “Style”. I don’t wish to denigrate those who have an opinion about this although I have to say that I am never sure what style of play we are adopting (that is, if we have ever adopted a particular style at all). I keep reading from NA and members of his Staff that they (“we”) are going to do this and that; training has gone well, new tactics etc. etc. The problem for me is I don’t see any of it – we go for 442, then 352, then 433 – we are supposedly going for a passing style but we don’t. We had “Big Men” up front (until this season) – we hoofed it up to them; we had a striking partnership playing 442 – it worked (until one of them fucked off!). We had another striking partnership playing 442 – it worked. Did we continue with it? No, we started messing about with 352 again – it never worked so we started playing around with 433 with all sorts of players out of position – it hardly ever worked and the players (as with 352) didn’t have a clue what they were supposed to be doing so we went back to 352 again! When we had no “Big Man” up front, despite all the “passing game, possession based football”, we still hoofed the ball up to men who were not capable of playing that way because they were not built like a tank. We wasted our main striker for months stuck out on the wing and we probably are responsible for fucking up any decent youngster we did have by watching them play well (or certainly better than a lot of them on the field) and then immediately dropping them to the bench or back where they came from.
    If all of this is in the name of “Style”, then I must be very much mistaken as, the descriptions I have used IMO contradict any specific type. I put it all down to “tactics” and the use of pre-match “Stats” quoted by NA on many occasions where he set up the team supposedly to nullify the opposition in accordance with the so-called stats he had on them. If I am correct about any of this then any projected “Style” could be thrown out of the window long before the kick off (even more so if the players hadn’t a clue about what they were supposed to do). My feeling has always been that NA got himself and the team into a rut that he still believes he can get us out of. If this is not true and all the rumours about budgets, NPL etc. are the key to his survival, then I am extremely disappointed. If it is the case, then it is a very serious and unhealthy situation and means that it would be impossible for Erik and Co. to put ANY pressure to bear on the Management Team right up to the end of Neal’s contract (whenever that may be).

  21. 1 down and 2 to go in NA’s personal trilogy of destiny. If he believes he can turn this around, then I personally will back him, even though it’s been an absolutely turgid run. He’s definitely on very thin ice though.

    1. Hi all,

      In my opinion, NA will usually change his stance when the situation does not improve. It remains to be seen whether he will continue his approach for the Rotherham game.


  22. 3-1 home win against Rotherham United. It will be a sweet night for the club which moved out of the relegation zone.


  23. Well blow me. The Ardley idiocy gets put to the side and we get a good result.
    Hardly anything to be smug about now, is it?

  24. Indeed. Pleased we’ve got some goals and some points but not sure that finally doing what everyone was pleading with him to do weeks ago (i.e. playing our best centre forward in the centre and forward) makes Neal a tactical genius tbh.

  25. SW19 writeup currently being typed out by the collection of monkeys, so this section now closed.

    You can wait until lunchtime 😉

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