Oink Oink

Well, it was either that headline or “Bringing home the bacon”…

What a rather nice weekend this has turned out to be. A win, a good one as well, Liam Trotter netting and so has the new signing (and man of a thousand sus-scrofa related puns) Joe Pigott.

I’m surprised nobody has given him the nickname “Lester” though, especially those who find pork-related quips a bit of a boar…

That and us out of the drop zone, Franchise in it and their manager getting the chop (I promised no more pig puns), it’s all quite pleasant. Which is a change from many weekends this campaign.

So, what went right? Just playing the basics well I guess. By all accounts the first half was pretty shite, and is it true that Taylor is still taking the corners? If so, why? Unless the only person on the training field who can take a set-piece properly is still our manager…

Your editor was at Reading v Brentford yesterday, with an internet connection that matched the shiteness of the iFollow feed**, so I thought that Trotter scoring was a piss-take that was just a bit too far-fetched.

Before I left the Madejski, Sky Sports News showed our goals, and Piggy’s one looked like an effort I would expect from a target-man. A goal five minutes after coming on for the first time for AFCW. That’s in, er, Nathan Elder territory.

** – I don’t get to listen to iFollow, but this has apparently been the big issue with it for the whole season. If I’d paid for it, I would seriously be considering the small claims court right now, because money is being taken for a service that simply doesn’t work when it should. And just as bad, nothing seems to get properly done about it.

Yesterday a false dawn? Well, I remain 50/50 about our survival chances right now, simply because we’ve played some awful teams recently. We’ve got the February grind (seven games in a month) to come, and we’re still vulnerable to injuries and/or a loss of form.

Contrary to what a couple of our fans are saying this morning, we are not safe right now. A surge up the table is not guaranteed, and history can point to many teams who have a little good spell in January but then slip back quite quickly.

If we get to March relatively unscathed, then yes we’ll probably be OK, but this season more than most – we’re not safe until the mathematics say we are.

Complacency kills.

For now though, at least it looks as though we’ve finally found the roadmap to L1 survival and have twigged that we’ve had it the wrong way up for three months. Something even the Brentford journo yesterday commented on (“why does Ardley always get it wrong in the summer?“).

Better late than never, I know, and if we do still go down I’ll be pretty pissed off with how we fucked our chances early on. But you do sense there’s a glimmer of light, and maybe more than that.

I think we’ll help ourselves if we do manage to snag another striker, even a loan one, because we’re still over-relying on Taylor/McDonald (Pigott might be one of those players who isn’t so effective when he starts).

We’ve undeniably done ourselves a favour by our recent signing, but I can’t shake the nagging feeling we’ll need to do a little bit more business.

Speaking of that, we’ve got our new Chief Operating Officer. Welcome to AFCW, Joe Palmer. Somebody who has knowledge of the wider footballing world, outside the AFCW bubble.

He didn’t seem to have a good time at Sheffield Wednesday, though it’s not the best run club, and I suspect his time at Shahktar Donetsk is more the reason why he’s now an employee with us.

The Ukrainians sounded a bit like us recently, and the bit about making standard entry cheap but charging top whack for corporate boxes is something I expect may happen at NPL.

The FT label him as a “smooth talker”, and he’s been involved with marketing at Pompey. He may be somebody who is a bit of an arsehole, or somebody who might rub some people up the wrong way, and because of that he might be the ideal choice for us.

See, AFCW needs an upgrade. The club’s hierarchy isn’t getting any younger, and I think that’s starting to show. Not so much grey matter but grey hairs. Palmer does appear to be somebody from the modern world of football, a bit like how David Barnard was all those years ago when he came to WFC.

Somebody with different – fresher – ideas will be a great injection for the club, especially if he’s given a bit of clout. I was going to say the club has too much of the chicken-in-a-basket mentality, but a search on Google suggests my definition is 30 years out of date…

We might be expecting too much from his role, but his background suggests that’s exactly what we need right now.

In the next couple/few years, we will be moving to a 10-11k stadium. We’ll need to replace the current CEO with a properly waged one (and the COO’s salary isn’t going to be peanuts). We’ll need to grasp the nettle on marketing, hospitality, commercial, even down to getting a dedicated ticket office.

That might give an idea of what a COO actually does. Trying to find a definition on t’internet isn’t easy, simply because there’s so many of them. The following explanation from this page about startups might be as good as any, though:

Keith Rabois says “you’re constantly fixing things,” which you are. You are also constantly solving problems you haven’t solved before. Problem solving in an ambiguous environment should be a founding COO’s core skill.

One suspects Palmer will find quite a few things to fix.

I’m glad that we haven’t employed an AFCW fan for this, I think we’re much better off getting people in who don’t have any connection. I’m also glad that the club has seemingly recognised that it needs to move up to the next level.

The remit officially looks like it’s to take over a lot of what Erik Samuelson and Dave Charles does. But maybe the COO position hasn’t just been created to reduce the workload…