Miller Genuine Draft

Blimey, where did that come from…?

It has to be said, with more than enough justification, that if you expected Moss Brothers 3 Chuckle Brothers 1 you’re probably bullshitting even more than a Franchise fan in a courtroom.

Let’s face it, in this Most Important Three Games Of The Season (So Far) period, if we were going to come a cropper, it would have been this game. But something was different last night…

Lack of expectation? Maybe. But this is the AFCW we see all too rarely  – gutsy, determined, wanting to win, and with not a little skill to boot. We deserved the glow of the three points this morning, and then some.

So, what went right? Things like “playing players in the right position”, and “lack of micro-management”, and “Harry Forrester” and “Lyle Taylor in the middle”. Oh, and the heroic sports shrink was there last night too.

But when you overhear people at the end saying that was the most entertaining game they’ve been to for a good year or so, sometimes it might not be a bad idea to drop the snark for just a minute or two.

Last night was genuinely enjoyable. Not just for supporters, but the players looked happy too. Which is a big contrast to their general demeanour at Oxford a couple of weeks ago.

Just as THAT St. Evenage game became the turning point for our eventual success at Wombley, one wonders if the game at the Kassam was the one where things finally came to a head.

That wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in recent seasons either. Northampton was the start of our current mini-revival, and I wonder who this picture taken after Saturday was really aimed at?

Which leads us onto last night. As said earlier, in somewhat sarcastic tones, the fact that Forrester started and Taylor was in the middle makes a helluva difference. Funny that. But then, it seemed to lift the whole team.

We went ahead, and Taylor really took that well. Seriously, you forget what a good finisher he can be. Unfortunately, their goal was a good one and probably not one we could have done much about.

However, we didn’t sit back, try and go all negative and for once had a go back again. And blow me**, we scored again. And again, Taylor playing without the shackles on showing what he can really do.

** – OK, that is a request. It’s my birthday this time next week after all.

Oh, and did anyone else think he fucked up for the third one? The replay showed what a bit of a flukey git he was on the rebound…

But who cares? Taylor doesn’t – first hat-trick of the AFCW era in the Football League, apparently. Not that he didn’t deserve it, though many thought Forrester deserved the MOTM award.

Nobody played badly though. To be honest, I don’t think they dared play shite after Northampton, because imagine the mood if we had been on the end of a 3-1 reversal last night.

But all those who have made suggestions in recent weeks about how we should be playing, start writing to the club to claim win bonuses from last night and Northampton. We’re all owed them…

Plus points: We won. Played with freedom. Taylor hat-trick. Forrester. Proving what happens when you play players in their actual positions.

Minus points: Them scoring.

The referee’s a…: Wasn’t popular with some people…

Them: Fourth, though I’m not quite sure how. They seemed quite, well, Northern and looked pretty strong (physically), but if I’d travelled down from south Yorkshire I’d be a bit pissed off with that performance.

To be fair, their goal was pretty decent, although oddly they never seemed to put us under the cosh afterwards.

Not too bad a turnout from them for a Tuesday, though like most clubs they have a long-established London branch. I believe we’ve had a bit of advice from them over NPL, though somebody needs to tell their local hack it’s not KM that’s getting demolished…

Point to ponder: So why has it taken two and a half months for us to finally start playing properly?

I don’t believe that it all suddenly came together last night without something drastic happening beforehand. Whether there was a player mutiny avoided we’ll never know (and if there was, the club wouldn’t tell you the truth anyway).

But I’ve looked back at the games I’ve been to this season (Fleetwood, Blackpool, Franchise, Oxford and last night), and if we’d applied ourselves in just two of those fixtures like we did just under 24 hours ago, we’d be a lot better off.

I’m thinking of Blackpool specifically, where I still have the voice of the blokes behind me in my head saying we go out not to lose rather than to win. We could have got three points if we weren’t so fucking cowardly.

And that’s just the games your editor has witnessed. I wasn’t there for some of the real piles of goat semen, but people have been pissed off for a very good reason.

Obviously, for our collective mental health as much as anything, I hope this continues. The trouble is, as the games after Doncaster and Blackburn showed, we’ve been here before this campaign alone.

Which is why I’m not going to start sucking NA’s cock anytime soon. Yes, he can be very pleased at last night and Northampton, although it’s up to you whether you believe the comments about positivism 😉

But finding out the sports shrink was there again, and the stubborn, dogmatic, boring turgid crap that has been put out far too many times this season and last, I’m still finding it difficult to get totally carried away despite two wins on the bounce.

Why? As that Tubular Jonnings bloke stated on the last comments section, leopards don’t change their spots.

I’d love games like last night to be the norm, but we all know they won’t be. And this remains my biggest issue with the whole NA tenure – I can’t recall a manager who has to backtrack and/or gets reined in as much as he does.

You just have to look at the amount of times the tactics have to be changed, almost 180-degrees from what is planned pre-season. This time around, it may yet cost us our hard-won place in League One, and totally un-necessarily at that.

I think that’s why STTA’s comments about Wally Downes in the last writeup hit a chord with so many, because you do end up wondering what if we had somebody who is naturally pragmatic, rather than somebody who is forced to be.

If you’re on a low budget, you have to be more practical full stop. With NPL on the horizon, that’s going to become even more pronounced, and we just can’t keep bailing out with sports shrinks, drastic formation changes and “heart-to-hearts”.

Yes, I shouldn’t be saying this after last night, but it’s not a bad time to point any of this out. This game proves what we can be, and in truth should be, if only we’re allowed to. Because for too often, we’re not…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The students from Indiana behind me. Being from that part of America, they were probably excited at seeing things like aircraft. 2) More people than I expected, although £10 in the RyPiss helped. That said, I’m not entirely sure there were 3900 in the ground, considering some spaces around me.

Anything else? Yes, Lincoln at KM in the FAC has almost gone under the radar.

It’s not likely to get shown on TV, it’ll probably be the Saturday, and as a few intimated last night, if it had been at Sincil Bank it would have been a nice weekend away. As it is, though, it’s already got that banana skin element about it.

Lincoln will be up for it, we’re still vulnerable (especially if we go back into our shell again), there’s going to be a full house in the away end, and it’s the FA Cup.

I hope we keep that all in mind, because for so many reasons (finance and mental health) we need a decent cup run again. Sutton last year still gives me shivers, and that game might have been the catalyst for what we’ve only started to come out of in the last few days.

So we need to make up for that. We’re pretty shit in cup competitions anyway, and for that alone we need the excitement of possibly drawing Franchise Burnley in the third round. And yes, we need to get through this one and the next round before we can even think of that.

At least it wasn’t a non-league side. I don’t buy into this “easy tie” crap, because there was a certain fixture last season that was supposed to be a slam dunk. In hindsight, maybe we should have lost that game after all.

Playing some of the sides we could have got, especially away, would have been a test of the mettle and then some. There’s always one L1 side who suffers the embarrassing capitulation to a bunch of pipe fitters, so at least we can hope Hyde get the result of the round.

This all said, if our attitude is right, we should win this. I said “should”…

So, was it worth it? A Lyle Taylor hat-trick? I guess so.

In a nutshell: Watch us lose to Plymouth now.

25 thoughts to “Miller Genuine Draft”

  1. Fair play to NA for giving the players space to express themselves!
    An excellent game, and the “6 points minimum” target met already. However, we really do need to ensure we get at least a draw vs Plymouth. But we really should, and do need, to give them a second helping of last night.
    Let’s build on that, regardless, for the rest of the season. As with other areas of the club, I’m pragmatic enough to know we’ll have to keep hitting the reset button on NA’s natural tendency to micromanage.
    A long way to go this season, and some banana skins on the immediate horizon (Plymouth, Lincoln…) but at least we can see what *can* happen with the current squad and management.

  2. If the sports shrink was there last night and he is responsible for our recent return to form then why don’t we sack NA and put HIM in temporary charge until we get well back into safety zone. Just a thought?

  3. So, then. Ardley bins off 433 with Cody McDonald as a target man and goes with what is essentially 442 and Taylor back as a centre forward.

    And suddenly we start winning again. And Taylor scores a hat-trick.

    What a waste of almost three months! Yet another failed tactical brainwave ditched, although this one took longer than most.

    Ardley should spend pre-season fishing. When he starts thinking about football tactics, he’s a danger to himself and the club!!

  4. Hi all,

    I think that all these two wins goes to show that NA needs to play the players in the right position. No doubt, the wins will buy NA more time at the club. I am not so sure whether NA will revert back to the old formation and player set-up which are all the craps as per said. I do not want to see such woeful formation in which Darius is played as a forward. This is absolutely rubbish.

    Going forward, I hope that NA starts to give players like Egil Kaja. Hartigan, Afie Egan and other fringe academy players the starting first team place. There is an urgent need to start the overhaul exercise. No disrespect to Fuller, Robinson and those in 30s. The team require the self-renewal process. The fielding of the academy graduates in such circumstance is an ideal one. Egil and Hartigan have shown the promise that they are capable of staking the first team place on permanent basis provided that they are given the opportunity to do so.

    NA has been mentioning that he needs to protect these academy graduates. One of such ways is not to give them excessive first team place. I do not think that such approach is an ideal one. I opine that as long as the academy players shows the commitment and ability to warrant the first team place, there is no reason for the manager to give these academy players the first opportunities on a regular basis. My take is that NA might have been too cautious and micromanaging the team. I feel that such approach has hindered the progress of the academy graduates into becoming experienced and established first team players. I believe that there are some causalties in the past in which some of these released academy graduates could be gems in the making and some of them might have been victim of circumstances. I have seen such academy graduates having the hunger and keen mindset to succeed and I believe that they will benefit from the open-minded and free-rein approach if adopted by NA.


  5. How long did it take Ardley to do the right thing and play our striker up front? Not out the woods but much improved thanks to fan power 😉

    1. I think that it has been obvious to NA all this while. He just refused to change the approach as he strongly believed that his tactic would work out eventually. His previous tactics would have worked if the team has better-skilled players to handle the demand required from such strategy which require endless endurance and tactical skillsets.

      Of course, we do not have the budget to acquire such players who are likely to be of Championship calibre. This is no disrespect to the existing players at the club. I believe that the club being mired in the relegation zone, has woken NA out into the reality and he has to adopt the necessary changes to arrest the looming decline of the club in the relegation trapdoor. On the whole, I feel that NA need to be pramagatic in his approach. Simple formation and strategy is the way to go!


  6. The reality is that in this league you only need a couple or “runs” where you win 4-5 games in a block and you are almost safe. Which means this week is an opportunity not to be missed.

    The term I keep hearing about NA is that he is a recidivist. It’s so true. Time after time he tries to be too clever by half until it gets banged into him to keep it simple, play guys in position, be positive and aggressive and stop micro-managing. We roll in the sports shrink, the players arc up, he gets a blowtorch up his arse and somehow things are averted, AGAIN.

    I think the main thing saving NA is (1) he is a genuinely nice bloke (2) his heart is in the right place and (3) the other work he does behind the scenes has been invaluable.,

    You’d hope the penny will drop but I just get the feeling he has this feeling a superiority in terms of what he can do in this league playing Barcelona style football that he will revert to type. Which becomes more and more fucking unbelievable every time he does it because each time he does it we turn to a complete pile of horseshit.

    – 442
    – Play players in position (LTB)
    – Play the best players not best trainers (Forrester)
    – Trust youth, don’t banish them as soon as they are finding their feet
    – Don’t over coach
    – Be aggressive at all costs

    Only a win Saturday will make me think that this season is going to be anything less than a relegation dogfight to the death. Even a win on Saturday won’t stop that but it at the very least allows us to buy some time and go into January and buy the player we all said we were missing at the start of the season, a BTMUF Tom Elliot type


    1. Get you (recidivist) and Ben with his ‘opine.’

      Were they handing out free Thesauruses at the game last night for people to swallow 🙂

      Actually, had to look up ‘recidivist’ and then LOL – a convicted criminal who reoffends, especially repeatedly.

      SO NA!

      And you are so on the money on what we needed to do and continue to do.

      He HAS to stick with this, or someone somewhere in the set up needs to TELL HIM to stick with it, not to revert to type.

      Unfortuately like others I doubt he will and that is why I will still – for a while at least – accept that he may have to go, albeit now it looks extremely difficult to guess when.

      But a week in football can be as long as a week in politics!

      Still in shock though 6hrs after hearing the result this morning.

      But well done the team; can you please show me how you did it again on Saturday?

      1. Thanks

        To be fair I think is was Tudor that first called NA a recidivist.

        I wonder who it is that actually hauls NA into line?

        At a “normal” club it would be the owner, the one cashing his cheques. At AFCW I wonder who?

        I don’t think Erik interferes at all on the football side at all expect in terms of fiscal responsibility. I guess that means the Board as a collective whole has to haul him into line but what special skills do they have that won’t see NAs patronising them as well?

        Do we need an external Director of Football? A Harry Bassett type but one who just guides the board in terms of Manager management and provides NA some mentorship. Not suggesting a Director of Football that interferes with NA’s transfers or recruitment, he can stand or fall on those, but someone to provide some extra football nous to the board.

        Apart from being fans, do any of our DT board members bring any genuine football skills to the table? I suspect they are collectively the greatest legal and accounting minds in League 1 but what about football?

  7. Amazing what a ( correct ) change in formation can do. Even Soares and Trotter looked half decent in the spoiling, break play up, move ball on, defensive midfield role, allowing Harry to waltz about, looking for a happy LTB. That was good.

  8. Chuffed we got the points and that brainfart put his 2 most effective players….in their most effective positions.
    Until the next time he goes stubborn.
    One time too many already for me (and quite a few I spoke to last night).

  9. Saturday so huge now.

    A win gets the season going and potentially two wins clear of the drop zone. We’d be 18 points from 15 games with 10 games until NA gets the chance to fix this mess and sign the player we all know he should have made a priority, a Tom Elliott type replacement.

    Those games have 4 teams in the top third currently, 3 in the middle and 3 in the bottom (Gills, Bury and Oldham). 2 wins from the bottom 3 and a couple of sneaked results elsewhere and we could creak into Jan in reasonable shape.

    But for mine it all depends on Saturday, they’re all important but this Saturday is just critical in my book. Win and we can concentrate on the FA Cup with the Charlton game a free hit. Lose and we are back in the bloody mire, I just don’t trust this bloke to not revert to type if we lose this week.

  10. Methinks how we go against the other reasonably large group of similarly crap clubs will determine our fate.

    Just how seriously shit is this league when NA can maybe even get away with these antics of his

  11. Thought the ref was quite kind to Lyle Taylor last night – he could have booked him after each goal since LTB was pretty slow to get back waiting for the kick-off. Credit to the ref…………………….

  12. Ardley thinks the game is much more complicated than it actually is, which is probably one reason he’s always telling us that only a professional like him really understands the play. He then comes up with strategies that are over-complicated and ineffective. Last night we went back to basics and produced the most entertaining and complete performance for a long, long time.

    We’ll need to be patient on Saturday, though. Unlike Rotherham, Plymouth will shut up shop and try to hit us on the break. Look what happened when Shrewsbury came and did that. We didn’t have the wit to break them down. The improved shape and Forrester’s ability to unlock a defence should help though.

  13. Hi all,

    Long distance / occasional supporter here. And my last two games have both been really good wins so I don’t have the same frustrations you all do.

    A few here are complaining about NA micro managing… What does that mean in practice please?

    1. Hi Alexandra_Don.

      I do not recall Midson scoring a hatrick for the club. I think that it should be Kedwell getting the spoils during the non-league days.


  14. Micromanaging? Filling the players with a thousand bits of useless, confusing tactical information. Instead of – keep the ball, win the ball, enjoy your football, and put it in one net, and keep it out the other. I think that’s it.

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