Pre Walsall thoughts

If you’re still doing that shite Soccer-AM “Warsaw” thing – log off, buy a Franchise shirt, wear it, take a photo as proof, then throw yourself onto the M40.

So, it’s the next installment of the Biggest Game Of The Season™ series, and it’s at the Bescot tomorrow. Perhaps a six pointer, although beating Charlton on Tuesday made things a little bit easier.

It’s been a good mood all round since Tuesday, hasn’t it? Amazing what happens when you see a bit of positivity on the field of play for once – people actually, you know, respond to it.

Attacking football. What is this black magic?

If we have finally stopped mucking about this campaign, we might have picked (OK, stumbled upon) the right time to do so. Tomorrow and next Saturday are against fellow bottom feeders, and positive results in both of them may well save us.

The buzz from this week hasn’t fully subsided yet, and you’d want it to linger on beyond 5pm tomorrow. Suddenly, we go up to the Midlands tomorrow with more of a spring in our collective step.

Suddenly, we can win games after all. Hell, we only got three points for the first time in five games on Tuesday and look what it’s done to us…

Because of that, we simply have to approach tomorrow like we did the last two fixtures. Get on the front foot, try and get the first goal – and if we don’t, then we have to try and break something that we haven’t done since apparently January 2017.

Namely, come from behind to win a game.

OK, I haven’t got enough willpower to properly check that out, but I’m struggling to think of any game this season where we’ve done that. And in a season of pretty damning stats, that’s one of the worst.

It’s a mental feebleness that should not be broken but smashed up now. And while I would expect us to have a go at teams most weeks, we must do that again tomorrow.

Simply put, we’ve run out of excuses not to. No more waiting until it’s too late, or waiting for the business end of the season, because this is when it now matters.

That’s why I’m a bit worried about our approach tomorrow, not just because we’ve been here before too often this season, but there may already be a slight sense of “job done” creeping in after Charlton.

We are not safe. And we may not be until after Bury.

Go out to win the game 0-0, and we’ll be in trouble. Walsall need the points as much as we do, and you can bet they’ll be up for it. It should be remembered though, they’re down the bottom end of the table for a good reason too…

As has always been the case, the answer to this season remains what we do rather than anyone else. You have to assume that somebody below us will forget that they have to lose tomorrow, and for the other remaining weekends.

But if we sort ourselves out, we can make sure they don’t matter.

After tomorrow, we have four games left to save ourselves. It’s funny how all of a sudden this month is going quite quickly, especially after everything before Easter seemed to be one big grind.

For those who manage to be even more shit than we are, their games are now starting to run out. We can’t afford to slip up ourselves, but they definitely can’t. And they all have to better the results that we get from now on.

One suspects in Oldham’s case, their game at KM next week may settle this season once and for all.

I know a “thing” is made about not looking at the league table, and I understand the insinuation behind it, but I think everyone who can affect things on the pitch should be thinking of nothing else now.

Or to put it another way, it’s up to us whether we want to play Sunderland next season or St Evenage…

Twas ever thus, of course. Part of the current “uh oh, we’re in trouble here” mindset is likely down to us realising we’ve fucked things up too often this season, and we’re close to paying the ultimate price.

A deathbed conversion? Maybe, and while we certainly cannot repeat half of this campaign for 2018/19 – not without the post-Fleetwood reaction happening a lot sooner, anyway – it’s better late than never.

Suffice to say that everything is being put into staying up, and then sorting things out during the summer. After the last game of the season, or even during, I bet you’ll see a stampede for the exits – and not just metaphorically either.

Actually, if we do secure safety before the campaign finally ends, I can well see performances and results falling off a cliff. In a way that even for this season’s low standards may be shocking.

The three months of no football action looks very welcoming right now…

Still, we’ll have NPL to gaze lustingly at. Perhaps symbolically, the first proper signs of it getting torn down have been posted within the past couple of days – exhibit one, and exhibit two for your current perusal.

The existing structure was rubbish anyway, but until you start stripping it bare and knocking it down, you realise just how bad it was. I think even Feltham Arena just about managed to only be slightly worse.

Your editor passed the site about eight days ago, and the first bits of the roof were off by then, so things might (literally) start coming down pretty quickly now. It all depends how much asbestos there remains, presumably.

Once the side of the structure that faces Plough Lane itself finally gets torn into, that’s when it will start looking real.

It’s been stated before, but while I have some sympathy for any speedway fans seeing their old venue bite the dust, I have precious little for the doggers and stockies.

That got reconfirmed this past couple of days when apparently they’re still trying to rescue the Mick The Miller mosaic. How long have they known the old stadium was going to be demolished?

The cynic in me suggests that they knew damn well the bulldozers would be here by now, so they’re just trying to throw one final little delaying tactic into the works. It would be par for the course from some of the most petty bunch I’ve ever seen in such a project.

But then, that might be giving them too much credit. As we should have twigged over the past four or five years, the greyhound lobby isn’t that bright. And they probably aren’t organised enough to have known something like that was about to be torn up until it’s too late.

Yes, the mosaic should be kept and preserved, and if there’s nowhere else it can go, it should be on display at NPL. However, it’s not our fault, or Galliards, or the demolishers, or even LBM if it all ends up in a skip after all.

We know who would be to blame. Even if they still find it difficult to take any responsibility…