Roll on May 5th

At least we won’t have football ruining things for the next three months then.

Sadly, that particular day is still a way off, or a further fifteen games to endure if you still have the will to live after League Two 0 League One 2. There is no dressing this up otherwise – this was shocking.

And not in a poor-but-honest type of performance either – it was genuinely dreadful.

I think reality hit those who are still expecting some fightback in the final twelve weeks this afternoon. Like Fleetwood, this was a must-win game that we not only lost but went beyond shitting the bed.

Apart from the blatantly obvious penalty that we were not given after about a minute, we didn’t offer too much more. The odd scramble here and there, but it was pretty feeble stuff.

Simply put – we are too poor to stay up.

Yes, the mathematics give us hope, but the performances and results don’t. The utter lack of quality throughout the squad was painfully clear, simple things like ball control and passing to a team-mate were beyond shite.

Oh, and Appiah’s hamstring went again. Did somebody say “unreliable”…?

So, what? To be honest, if somebody offered me the season ending now with us being bottom, but with a free shot at the FAC, I’ll happily take it. As somebody put it today, it’s a punishment beating every single week.

We’ve lost four in a row, been defeated five games out of six, not won in the league all year, and the positivity that was building up over Xmas has truly gone.

Why has it gone from looking promising to looking horse-shit again? Probably for the same reason as the promise after August going up in smoke – this bunch of players simply haven’t got it.

It’s not just ability that’s the issue – attitude is. More on that later. It’s pretty clear W&G are struggling to get much out of them, although as far as I’m concerned you can’t properly judge how good/bad those two will be until this time next year.

After all, previous managers have been given free passes for much longer, so our current management duo deserve a bit more time than the couple of people calling for their heads today.

It’s knee-jerkism, of course, and to be fair to AFCW – it does give managers time to perform. We all know what the club’s main failing is, and Walter needs to have a proper transfer window – two, most likely – before we start calling for the axe.

His post-match comments aren’t sugar-coating anything, and I expect he’s been even more blunt in the dressing room.

Sure, he was bought in under the premise of making this lot run through brick walls, but I bet he must be shocked right now how little spark they’ve got…

Plus points: It was still light after the final whistle.

Minus points: 3pm to 4.50pm.

The referee’s a…: Of course, it really doesn’t help when you don’t get a blatant penalty in the first minute that managed to look even more obvious on the replay…

Them: Probably won’t get an easier game from now until the end of the season. And yes, that seriously sticks in the throat to write that.

Their first win over us on our own patch, apparently, and unfortunately they didn’t need to work too hard for it. Started off brightly, and their first goal was pretty much inevitable. Quite workmanlike, but had enough strength in the right places.

Burton are a club we can emulate ourselves, though obviously we’ll need to have one big overhaul throughout the club before we can start doing that. OK, they ended up struggling in the Championship, but they did get two seasons up there.

Less than 300 turned up for them, but I bet it will be more than the amount we’ll take up to Walsall on Tuesday.

Point to ponder: Just how bad is the collective attitude of this bunch of players?

I know that the strong game-changing characters were pushed out during the summer, and not replaced like-for-like. And I know there’s been a “disconnect” for a good while – Walter himself said that after seeing the post-Doncaster reaction.

But alongside the wound-licking, I think there’s a legitimate growing resentment towards this squad again, and it’s down to the West Ham game.

Compare that wonderful 90 minutes with the absolute diarrhea that today and (though I was thankfully absent for it) Fleetwood. You know, the bread-and-butter games that actually matter.

The players have basically said to everybody that they only perform now when the TV cameras are on them. They only play well when they’re getting nice bonuses from the FAC.

Actually, that’s a bit harsh – it’s not just the cup competition. Playing Sunderland is also high profile, so naturally they decide to play better that very afternoon.

Still lost though.

Of course, you can’t expect them to turn up for the games like today, where’s there’s no TV cameras for them to preen about in front of. No nice juicy bonuses for the Fleetwood game, so they can go and have their manicures in the hairdresser.

And you wonder why people get really pissed off.

Again, that isn’t new. It’s been a bit calmer since the post-game reaction at Plymouth, Harringey and (especially) Doncaster, where it was genuinely hostile. But one has to wonder the reaction after the Wycombe game at KM, especially if we’ll likely definitely be down by then.

Remember that those particular supporters are the ones who will actually be at Mansfield and Tranmere next season, paying their hard earned money like they always do.

I don’t want to start singling out individual players, considering it’s a collective (lack of) effort, but no doubt Appiah’s hamstring will undoubtedly heal before Millwall next week. Still, he did give us three or four consecutive games this time round.

Sadly, we need the money from beating the Lions, and because of that he’ll play if genuinely not injured. It won’t happen, but if any player is fit for next Saturday when they’re not for Walsall – or if they put in another “effort” like today on Tuesday – then drop them and tell them their day in the sun is gone.

One reason I started this writeup off with the date of the day after the final game of the season, is that after it I won’t need to see most of this lot in our colours again. Many if not most of them will be gone, and the gutting of the squad (and hopefully elsewhere at the club) can begin.

They’re too poor to be effective, and they’re too unreliable to be hero-worshipped. The likes of Soares and Trotter are persona non grata now, and it’s a pity we can’t put even more of this lot in the same basement…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Quiet throughout the game. Very, very quiet. 2) “I’ve been in the pub and I can control it better” – the bloke behind me as yet another pass went astray. I expect him to be starting Tuesday, he can’t do worse. 3) What was that music Mikey T played as the players came out? Normally it’s some TV sports show theme, but can’t say I recognised it.

Anything else? Judging by the reaction even during the game, I think people are accepting we’re going down – and likely with a whimper as well.

Which considering it’s still mid-February is a shame, but I also get a very real sense that people have just had enough full stop.

I thought we were collectively going to enjoy L1, but it really hasn’t been fun. The enjoyment-killing, negative mindset of the previous regime has done a lot for that, and it’s difficult for W&G to turn it around in such a short space of time.

But losing most weeks this season has simply taken it out of supporters. It’s not just this campaign (we would be in L2 this season without Taylor, Darius and Parrett) and even things like the DTB elections prove that there’s a general yearning for something – anything – different.

That’s why the WHU game meant so much, and why the other games like today have felt worse as a result. The FAC was what we want to see most weeks, today/Fleetwood was just reverting back to pathetic type.

True, the current attendances have held up well (4003 today), but as the seemingly inevitable becomes ever more likely, they’ll probably drop. They were falling under Ardley, and even now I bet some who stopped going have yet to return.

I don’t think anyone wants to go down, but we’ll accept it more readily if it’s looking increasingly likely. At least once the initial horror of it happening subsides, we then have to start rebuilding and looking upwards again.

The only relegation your editor has experienced was 1999/2000, and before the whole Franchise shit raised its cancerous head – I enjoyed the following season more than most. Why? Because we got rid of a lot of junk and started winning games again.

That’s why I don’t fear L2 next campaign. I don’t think we’ll hemorrhage under W&G like we would have done under others, although there will be a lot of expectancy put on both of them.

Crowds will undoubtedly suffer, but our fanbase is quite resilient and if we’re playing well they’ll go upwards again quite quickly.

And while we won’t be able to get rid of everyone – at least there’ll be a fresh new squad that you would hope won’t have quite such a shit attitude as our current wankers…

So, was it worth it? Ha.

In a nutshell: Going down.