Manic Sunday

At least we didn’t ruin the Sunday roast for the millions (?) watching on TV.

I suppose we can’t really complain too much about Oiks 2 Posh 2 in the end. It was a game that could have gone wrong, but didn’t, and we didn’t shit the bed for the Sky cameras.

And I think we learned a few things today.

The most important one is the lesson that has failed to be heeded for so long, and not just this game – anyone who has wanted us to attack from the off, with two men up front and others playing the right position can feel a bit justified right now.

Taylor’s goal after 36 (or was it 37?) seconds was the dream start that I didn’t think we had within us. OK, it did feel we tried to win the game 1-0 by defending for about 89 minutes, and we all know what happened.

But there was something a bit refreshingly old skool about our second effort that went in – a long punt, Cody McDonald getting hold of it, and he finally – finally – found the net. He needed that, and so did we.

After that, it did seem a bit flat. Maybe the shock of two goals in one game poleaxed us? Perhaps we used up the maximum amount of time per month that we’re allowed to have efforts on target?

But it proved that the negative, safety first, let’s-hold-it-goaless-until-there-is-ten-minutes-left-oh-shit-we-have-conceded approach doesn’t work. It will never work, and quite simply it doesn’t deserve to work either.

Have a go, like we did today, and you may let goals in, but you stand a good chance of adding to the scoresheet yourself. It’s more successful than going for the 0-0, or 0-1, and is much nicer to watch, too.

Funny, that.

I can also see why Jimmy Soares-Trotter (three human bodies but the player is one) is as popular as a fart in a lift. Actually, while Soares can have moments of semi-decency, Trotter seemed to get mentioned a lot today.

Much in the same way as Jozef Fritzl gets mentioned in discussions about good parenting, in case you’re wondering why.

While there might be a protection issue about Hartigan, at the same time shoving him on the bench doesn’t do anyone any good – especially as he’s been the most creative midfielder we’ve had this campaign.

We are in a relegation battle, but players like our youngster won’t make things any worse. Other factors may damage his career, but playing in games won’t be one of them.

Thankfully, McDonald and Taylor are finally being allowed to play alongside each other (I was going to write “with each other” but that would be taking the team bonding thing too far). Again, it shows, and almost got us a much needed win.

It’s by far and away the best (OK, only) tactic to use all the while Appiah’s crocked, especially as Taylor isn’t put out on the wing like he’s been ostracised.

Put Forrester in the right position too, and it’s no surprise that this was the best result/performance since Rotherham. Though whether he’ll be here after January remains to be seen.

Time will tell if we actually learn what worked today, and figure out that it’s not a bad approach to have. It would be nice, especially as you can look at today, to point out things that could be tweaked without getting worried/annoyed with the fundamentals being wrong.

Of course, the two best games recently have been today and Rotherham. Which were the last two your editor have been to. I’ll graciously accept all the plaudits…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Having a fucking shot on goal. Taylor. McDonald. Coming back after being 2-1 down. Having more of an all-round clue.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Going back into our shell after going ahead. Our midfield. Still some obvious weaknesses.

The referee’s a…: Got more than a few cheers when he awarded us a free kick, which might explain the general viewpoint of his all-round performance. On the plus side, at least he didn’t fall for their #11 doing his own WW1 tribute, by falling down like he’d been hit by a mortar.

Them: Like a lot of teams in L1, they’re not significantly better than us, and if anything their ability to keep out goals is as good as ours.

True, they forced Long to make two saves late on, and maybe they could have felt that they had the better chances overall. But it does prove that there’s isn’t that much between the vast majority of sides in this division, ours included.

As mentioned above, their player was fatally wounded after his little discussion with Trotter, and therefore didn’t deserve the abuse when he rose from the dead and was able to take a corner. We should praise him for losing his life after the clash but was able to carry on.

Decent turnout by them, and their mascot (a giant bunny called “Peter Burrow”) was seen demonstrating beforehand other uses for a large carrot. In other news, Haydon the Womble has a rather unusual grin on his face.

Point to ponder: Can we give the whole whinging about the Lowest Budget In The World Ever™ a rest, please? Especially as most of our problems this season are nothing to do with it.

I don’t listen to NA’s post-game interviews any more, but apparently he was going on about it again, and it seems like it’s going to be the standard party line from now until about Domesday.

Today proved that we’ve struggled because we’ve played the wrong tactics with the players we’ve got. We have also had the wrong approach in trying not to lose rather than go out and win.

That’s nothing to do with money and everything to do with attitude. True, we’re not as rich as other clubs, so you have to cut your cloth accordingly and find something that works according to what you can afford.

You have to be much better with your scouting and recruitment, because you (literally) can’t afford to make mistakes. You have to use the loan system well, your yoof system too, but it’s more than achievable if you know what you’re doing, and don’t have an obsession with being a Poundland Barcelona.

A certain club called “Wimbledon” was very good at dealing with a tight budget. That was Wimbledon FC by the way, an entity that in some ways had much less spending power back in the 1980s than AFCW has today.

This club plays the victim card a bit too often as it is, which gets quite irritating to listen to, and the bleating just comes across as excusing failure – it’s as if there’s absolutely nothing we can do to improve things without spending lots more money.

It’s very un-Wimbledon, and back in the day we used to laugh at other clubs who complained how broke they were.

I suspect the real reason for it is that we don’t have the resources to sign the type of players who can play negative football for most of the game before nicking a goal. Therefore, our alternative is what we did today instead, and maybe let a few goals in return. But I’m sure I can put up with that…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) No poppies on the shirts, although we wore armbands instead. Given all this poppy fascism stuff about, I’m glad we were a bit more circumspect. 2) 4220 there, at least officially. Were a few empty spaces around me, though that’s probably nothing to do with non-attendance. 3) If you’re wondering why our game was today on Sky, the last couple of fixtures they’ve shown were at Pompey and Gillingham. In other words, look at a map…

Anything else? I think the club does need to issue something about NPL, because the whole s106 thing has gone on for a long time and people are asking questions about it now.

Even if it’s just a straightforward “the lawyers are looking at the wording”, then at least it will be something. Because it’s gone awfully quiet, perhaps too quiet, and I would state it’s more important to us than even staying in L1 this season.

True, AFCW got bitten this time last year over making predictions, and it’s going to be cautious, but it’s now gone too far the other way.

Supporters – all supporters – are entitled to know the current state of play, because we’re the ones who will be expected to help drum up interest to fill seats. People give a lot to the club, and it’s not a one-way street.

I’ve seen odd snippets of Galliard’s advertising for the new site, and you could be forgiven for thinking there won’t be a new stadium next to it. Your editor (and no doubt some of you) keep getting asked what is happening, and like fuck I know anything myself.

Are there problems? Is it “imminent”, as that dumb LBM councillor stated a couple of months ago? Has the project been scrapped and the club is just waiting for the most opportune moment to tell everyone?

OK, I’m joking with the last one. I think I am anyway, and I don’t blame anyone for thinking that it’s not going to happen after all.

After all, the club’s comms isn’t the best, AFCW can be secretive when it doesn’t need to be. We won’t get a running commentary about the s106 progression, but even a simple “we understand the frustration but it is coming along. Honest” type message would get appreciated.

And who knows, it may even happen before December. In 2018…

So, was it worth it? Yeah, it was OK.

In a nutshell: Better than watching Highway with Harry Secombe.

42 thoughts to “Manic Sunday”

  1. Our somewhat flukey goals masked a pretty toothless attack and lack of clear cut chances (!)

    Happy with the point but I’m not seeing this as a corner turned by any stretch

    1. Kentish –

      Seriously, ours were flukey? What about the one off the shoulder of their player/Barry Fuller that would another day have sailed over the bar. That was flukey!

      From what I recall I don’t think a player of theirs touched the ball before Lyle put it away; it happened because for once he hit it first time and the goalie really didn’t see him doing that. That rarely happens at League 1 level.

      And what was wrong with Cody’s goal. Latched on to the ball protected it well from the defender and buried it.

      Simples.

      OK they will be disappointed as much as we would be to concede such a goal, but you have still got to take them. If we miss our player gets moaned at; it they miss we laugh. Except for their fans its just the way it would be for us.

      Your comments come across as slightly disappointed that we really did attack today and have chances; you sound like you have goal quality predjuice.

      OK they had two chances where George had to make saves and I would agree out shots on target need to improve.

      But we are getting there… think it was either Trotter or Soares (cant tell them apart at distance who could have scored with 30s of the start of the second half…. only missed because the defender in front got the faintest of touches that took the ball enough on to the top of his head.

      Overall an encouraging performance and certainly more entertaining.

      I agree no corner turned yet but sometimes you have to accept you have to create the right path of the vehicle into the bend so you come out the other side successfully.

      And REPD is right… this is the way to go because we stand a chance of winning and if we dont we have at least gone down fighting with perhaps a modicum of entertainment thrown in

      1. Flukey is perhaps the wrong word. They came from defensive lapses rather than good play IYSWIM, ie they were caught cold for the first and caught napping for the second.

        Other than that we didn’t create much and could easily have lost.

  2. Another one for truth stranger than fiction, our sport psychologist went in the rygas instead of on the bench. Wonder if that was to listen first hand to the drivel some people discuss about the drivel on the pitch….

  3. Harry was there today. Interesting. Great game. Reminded me of how entertaining football can be… I remember a lot of games being 2-2 in Ardleys first few seasons. A target man up front today would have helped the ball stick a bit more. Shame Trotter didn’t get sent of for the “headbut”. How embarrassing was that reaction from thier player! In external interviews Ardley does mention “a few little problems” holding up NPL. What could it be?

    1. Bassett, comes to quite a few of our home games, so wouldn’t read too much into his attendance.

    2. Here’s what Ardley said, nicked from somewhere else:

      “As always with these things, there’s always another little problem so it’s taken longer than we hoped, but we hope it’ll be good news soon and we can get cracking, look forward and start planning”

      If we’re in the “lawyers are going through the wording” stage, it would make sense.

      Again, though, the club doesn’t help itself over its comms…

  4. Did Nil put Cody and Lyle down the middle to avoid ridicule on the box?
    Having just watched the game back, George Francombs contribution was truly woeful – spent the game making half ars tackles because he has no physicality – and posing at dead ball situations. Always chasing players from being a second behind everyone else’s reading of the game. Lovely 90 minute display of hoof ball from Deji. Thought Trotter or Soares (jesus, what a fucking melt) might just of had enough football sense to of offered themselves for the pass from Deji….
    Lyle’s 89 minutes of petulance but he does – unlike Nil – see that when Forrester comes inside (which he has to if he is to get involved in the game at all which Nil doesn’t understand…) with Fuller on his zimmer, that there is a glaring hole….and he does (and did so twice) make that 70 yard run to go and plug the hole.

    Ardley has broken this squad/team. Posh are utter garbage on the road but we conspired to hand them the game.

    Still, we have the continued silence from Samuelson and Charles (or is it disdain?) to pick over where the S106 is concerned and the frolicky skoolboy cake promoting man child with the mike in complete denial about the horseshit that is our first team squad and management.

    Those that I watched the game with on the box (the posse watched the U18’s) pissed themselves looking at our bench of fatties in milk bottle glasses and a trainee physio who was utterly clueless when called into action. Their words not mine.
    We are so fucking non league. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    1. Malman, your comment regarding the trainee physio is uncalled for even if you attributed the quote to others, you made it clear you agree with them. She is a fully qualified doctor and deserves a bit of respect.

  5. Felt like we were playing with 9 men again.

    Trotter and Soares spectators for the majority of the match, for the countless time this season.

    Both put in a woeful display, one paced, disinterested, totally out of their depth, and clearly over the hill.

    One gave away the penalty, the other the free kick that led to their goal.

    Both needless, caused by their lack of pace.

    Dropping both may go some way to reviving our fortunes.

    1. Totally agree. Don’t know if Hartigan is the answer, but he surely would be better than those two in CM. The penalty challenge was so brainless, as were most of each of their actions throughout.

  6. It was interesting watching today. Basically we know what’s coming in January. A massive target man & hoofball extra-ordinaire. I don’t mind that too much. Would rather see Ardley stick to what he can do than get us relegated doing what he can’t.

    That said it’s awful to watch. Such depressing football so lacking hope. No wonder the players look a bit blahhh.

    The thing that gets me is that Ardley’s had over 5 years to assemble this & this is all we’ve got. There’s no advanced tactics. Little Players running off the ball to create space, virtually no ability to keep the ball for more than a second so hoofing it forward is the only option.

    With a decent coach, we could get a lot more out of the players we’ve got. It’s a shame it’s so unprogressive.

    1. Absolutely. It’s been more or less the same shit for five years.

      Flat back four, two defensive midfielders who aren’t allowed to score goals, knock it long, hope for the best. Low risk, low reward.

  7. It was in these columns just a few weeks ago views were had that we couldn’t go down, because four of the (then six) teams below us were so bad. A few weeks later, several of those are above us, and those still below either have the same points as us or as near as dammit…

  8. Malman: the ‘trainee physio’ who was a fully qualified doctor volunteering to help the club and has more qualifications than you could dream of? Piss off.

  9. Was Trotter playing right wing in the first half?

    It’s a shame we didn’t try and go for the win in the second half, we only made 1 sub and that was bringing on a left back.

    I worry that with Abdou back Ardley will revert back to playing the 3 wheelie bins in the middle

  10. Kingsmeadow goal fest. Clever tactic of having no one in right midfield. Still, 4 goals, some handbags, and a goal for Cody. Must ensure that 1 of the 3 defensive deadly diggers is injured each week. They can take it in turns.

  11. Totally unrelated but congrats to Alan Bennett. Double winner with Cork city, player of the month as well. He’ll be enjoying European football next season

  12. A fair result but it would be Posh more likely feeling it is 2 points lost.

    We desperately need 4+ points out of the next three games which are against bottom half teams.

    There are some grounds for optimism if we are within a point or two of safety on January 1. Kwesi, Parrett, Meades and Hartigan (assuming Mr Cautious is “brave” enough to play him) as ins, along with a big target man and an attacking midfielder effectively gives us 6 new players in this side.

    NA will have no excuses so he should shut the fuck up about his budget and start doing his job

  13. NAs comments in the programme were definitely a surprise. Saying, that with our budget ( yawn ), we should be in the bottom 4, is basically saying that if we stay up, then he’s a bit of a genius.

    1. I accept that the level of financial resources is a factor in success but the way NA is calling out this card now he is struggling is pathetic. He would be a lot better off looking at himself

    2. All commercial and sporting operations operate within a budget… yeah even Man City have one written down on a bit of paper somewhere. So its a matter of what you do with it and how successful you are. That’s a major fact of managerial life and if you think you are being short changed, there’s the door…. Or just get on with the job. End of.

      P.S. See the following article for what can be done on a tight budget and distant location:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41902664

      1. Interesting article, JP. Shows success can be achieved on a small budget, but it requires a talented manager….

      2. Agree completely. The budget is one thing and it is what it is.

        However, playing Soares and Trotter (down the right too) week in week out has nothing to do with budget but just plain old poor selection.

        I really want Ardley to succeed but I’m getting fed up with the same turgid team selection every week. I feel like our current predicament is not budget related but is actually poor tactics and team selection.

        The way we are playing means we’ll deserve to be relegated at the end of the season.

        Looking at the other teams in League One makes it all the more frustrating as most of them are poor too.

        1. The way NA speaks, goes to show that he has no confidence in getting the team out of the relegation zone. It is like a slow wallowing in the relegation zone. The club management has no courage to do the right thing in sacking NA. 17 games have passed. We are in a serious relegation woes. Who can we, the supporters turn to since the club management does not appear to be concerned of the current situation which the club is currently in.

          NA has recently gone to the Plough Lane and makes some comments on his trip.

          http://www.skysports.com/football/news/21423/11120851/afc-wimbledon-boss-neal-ardley-returns-to-plough-lane

          The way he gives his comments, shows that he does not have the confidence of guiding the team out of the current woes. I think that it’s high time for the club management to make the decision now. There are still 29 games and the new manager has the time to rectify the current situation.

          Does anyone here have the links to highlight the concerns of the supporters on this forum to Mr ES and any of his fellow club management counterparts? I believe that we being as the club supporters will not want the club to be relegated this season. I think that every effort counts in persuading the club management to make the appropriate decision immediately.

          Any takers?

          Ben

          1. Just read the sk sports article. There’s a lot of I and me from NA. He also refers to the team as them. Might be lost in journalistic translation, but sounds a wee bit hollow to me

      3. We need such manager who can produce results with shoestring budget.

        Apparently, I do not see it in the mould of NA. I do not understand why NA is not inclined to give his confidence in the academy players as well as playing the players in the right position. I think that he is resistant to changes. Such mentality will lead to relegation for the club.

        Ben

  14. We played a midfield diamond, with Soares at the base, Barcham on the left, Trotter on the right and Forrester at the tip. Having 4 attacking players on the field (Barcham, Forrester, Lyle and Cody) meant we created more going forward but also left us much more open. Still, better to draw 2-2 than draw 0-0 all day long – much more fun for everyone involved. On budget, it’s not how much you’ve got but what you do with it – not signing one of Abdou or Trotter (Meades can also cover in midfield, if we need him to) and instead getting a fourth striker would have made a huge difference. I just hope he’s not trying to manage our expectations for when we don’t have the cash to sign a striker in January…

    1. Think I need a cherry picker then to see above the formation because I never really noticed that; thought it was a traditional 4-4-2.

      Explains the gaps in front of Barry then….

  15. Looks to me that performances are improving. There seems to be a bit of a bond developing which means they’re working harder as a group, maybe it’s the flack they’ve been taking or maybe it just takes a while for any bunch of players to become a team. The other noticeable improvement is we now have a leader – the TV cameras showed its Darius doing the talking in the huddle so regardless of who’s wearing the armband I think he’s in charge now.

    All this means we should continue to improve but our problem maybe lies in other results at the weekend. Impressive wins on the road for Plymouth and Northampton, and you’d expect Bury to turn things around. With no teams guaranteed to struggle 4 relegation places seems like a lot to avoid.

    Whether we stay up will depend on many factors but injuries and what business we can do in January are the obvious ones. Whatever happens I’m looking forward to it, the end of last season was the most tedious I can remember so give me a full blooded relegation scrap every time.

    1. Know you are pro NA but you make some good points. We also have some good players coming back from injury.

      A fourth striker, a big bastard up front, is required as well as an attacking goalscorin mid.

      We may survive, it’s 50/50 for mine, but the season is one that is showing all the signs of going backwards development wise and of a manager losing his way.

      NA does appear to be a very stubborn man and that is a poor poor quality in a manger. It’s why he refuses to play Hartigan, it’s a statement that “he knows best” and he’ll do that to spite his critics which is a bad trait.

      Clearly Erik has his back and I fear that keeping us up will be “job done” by the Board despite the turgid shit we are being served up and the academy caterers being wasted by a manager too gutless to let a kid make the odd mistake.

      If we go down, he must go and it is a sad state when I believe some fans would prefer that to another season of Ardely-ball in league 1. And if he doesn’t then I think the club will be in serious shit

      1. I would like to see Hartigan given more games but I still think this idea that Ardley picks a team that he knows isn’t the best he could select, just to prove the fans wrong seems very far-fetched to me. It is his job on the line, not ours.

  16. We will stay up and hear good news about NPL soon. I think us Wimbledon fans have always been the most anxious football fans out there. You can understand it in a way, after all we have been through.

      1. I hope to see some improvement in the club’s communication to its fans who do not know what is going behind the scene.

        I feel that some form of open-ended communications are made in the near future. This will reduce the space between the club and fans.

        Ben

    1. The reason why we are anxious is because we love and care for the club. This is a fan-owned club which is unique in the footballing world. This club aims to punch its weight above all odds.

      Ben

  17. These next seven days could be pivotal. Two good results could lift us up several places, but two poor results and we could be 23rd (or 24th) this time next week. What then ?

    Bury have tough-looking fixtures (though both at home), and the other two below us are on a bit of a roll. Interesting that the combined Home form of Oldham and B Rovers is – won 8, lost 8, no draws.

    1. Hi Dazza,

      The 29 remaining league games are all pivotal in the club’s survival in League One. I think that NA need to start using the academy graduates in the first team. He needs to change his approach in these games. There is no point in placing the oldies in the middle of the park and try to defend the games in the hope of nicking one goal in front. This is not the way to play the league games. He needs to take the game to the opponents and adopt the attack-oriented approach. I fear that AFC W will suffer the same fate as below like Azzuries who persisted on using the oldies and ended up not qualifying for WC.

      http://punchng.com/five-reasons-why-italy-failed-to-qualify-for-2018-world-cup/

      This will be the fate suffered by the club if NA refuses to use the academy players in the first team.

      Ben

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