Back to our Roots

And that has to be one of the more clever puns I’ve written. Or crappier.

What a difference a week makes, eh? Before the Donny game, it was bracing ourselves for the inevitable decline into L2, and it was a matter of counting down the days before the dreaded “R” went against our name in the table.

This morning, after three straight wins and the nine points associated with it, things feel different. Very different.

There’s been much to slag the team (and club) off about this season, but I cannot fault anyone associated with the squad or the management this past seven days or so.

To win three games in a row is decent enough, and something we haven’t done since, well, whenever it was. To do it in such quick succession is another.

Keeping clean sheets in every single one of them adds even more to it, but to beat two of the teams that are in the top seven as well?

Mind you, I think yesterday might have been the hardest of the lot. Sarfend are in shit like us, and we all know about our records against teams on the decline.

We came off the back of two very good wins, and one could be forgiven if we’d drawn or even lost at Roots Hall. And when do we ever win three on the spin?

Apart from this week, that is?

If you’ve got a level of churlishness that can rival your editor, you may point out that we’ve only won by the odd goal, that Tuesday was a penalty and we were victorious at Southend because of some grade-A fuckwittery in their defence.

But as said after the Posh game – I really don’t give a fuck.

Teams that get themselves out of trouble have that bit of fortune, or more accurately that ability to create the luck at exactly the right time.

We’ll still need that for the remaining eight games, but we’re now three points adrift. And I’ll take that at this stage of the campaign.

It could have been even closer, the gap, but them’s the breaks. We cannot rely on other results going in our favour at all, but we’re lucky (?) that any good result we have will drag somebody else into the mire.

The league table not only looks healthier from our point of view this morning, but there are a lot of nervous teams around us right now who are starting to lose form. And not just Southend either.

I have to admit, I thought our season would be effectively done by now. That we’re still in with a chance – a good one, if not brilliant ATM – is testament to many things, but developing a spine at this vital stage is one of them.

We got in Wally Downes to make our setup more robust and harder to beat, and that’s exactly what’s now happened. Focusing on not losing the first half then trying to win it in the second is an approach that is currently paying off.

And you sense the players are buying into that.

I’ll happily state right now that I still think we’ll end up in L2 next season, if only because we’re relying too much on Piggy. Appiah will no doubt be fully fit for the Ghana squad next week, he can’t miss his latest audition in front of the TV cameras after all.

Hanson clearly played too many minutes this week, as he was “ill” yesterday. And while I like Folivi** we’ll need more than the solitary goal from him thus far.

** The fact he’s our most reliable striker insofar as he is likely to start every game just proves how bad the others have been.

Oh, and Jake Jervis is still here, apparently. I’d forgotten about him, but then so have most people.

That we’ve put on somebody called Jack Rudoni (yoof teamer, striker, not much more info about him) says a lot about our striker options. Whether we do stay up or we still go down, it’s pretty obvious what we have to do during the summer.

But I’d love those words to be rammed down my throat. I’d loved to be proved wrong and we stay up this campaign. I think the players themselves are now playing like they’ve got a point to prove.

It’s taken a while, but we look more like a unit now. That’s not been the case this season, on far too many occasions.

That said, I do not blame any fan who thought we were down after the Burton/Fleetwood horror shows. Because we genuinely looked doomed after them.

We’ve dug in, got the results and are now on an upward trajectory. More power to us. But let’s never forget that much if most of this season has been a depressing grind – if it wasn’t then why are we still in the relegation places?

Gillingham is the next cup final, but at least we get a week to enjoy that spring in our step. I’ve no idea what will happen, but it will be exciting to find out.

And I didn’t think I’d be writing that any time soon.

I guess there’s something metaphorical about the next stage of NPL coming into view this upcoming week. At least it answers a question your editor asked about the revised plans after Donny.

Your editor might pop along to that, and I doubt if I’m the only one sad enough to even consider it.

The club (justifiably) gets a lot of grief over its poor comms generally, and the seeming lack of info on our new gaff is one of the biggest bugbears of the lot. At times, I’m sure the club wouldn’t even announce when it’s fully built and open.

Personally, I think future updates should be on a frequent basis, just a simple “X, Y and Z have happened this week, in the next week works on A, B and C will commence” will do.

This is the most important thing to happen since 28/5, definitely in the top three in living memory, and people want to know information. And whether they’re “club owners” or not, they’re fully entitled to get that as well.

Still, things are definitely happening now, after being dormant for so long.

Trying to find anything on Merton’s planning website isn’t always easy, and you have to type in “stadium” on the Proposal Key Word to get anything beyond the headline-generating stuff. But what’s up for discussion this week can be found here.

I haven’t been through it in great detail, and most of it is self-explanatory. The recommendation is to grant the changes of conditions, and I expect most if not all of them to pass no problem.

We want to remove the cafe (there’s plenty of others around the area), and the creche. Never understood why there needs to be one, it’s not like it simply has to be in our development, and besides – would you leave your kids there when we play Franchise and their customers are lurking**?

** According to that Met Police submission, the highest percentage crime around the area is “Violence and sexual offences”. I offer no further comment.

Additionally, the cycle storage for the Guardian readers is now mobile, all 78 of them. Again, something that is probably needed on matchdays (how many do we have at KM?) but would get in the way if more permanent.

There’s the various design tweaks, which are simply too dull to go into, and to be honest none of it really jumps out at you.

The WPRA have stuck their $0.02 in, unsurprisingly. You can read their submissions yourself, but it’s five pages on air pollution. Because obviously they didn’t know they live by a busy industrial estate with many HGVs about…

There’s about nine other representations, including two from Name And Address Supplied. I guess she had nothing else to do that day.

Like last time, they all read like a WPRA plan of action. I can’t be arsed to re-read any of it, but it’s basically car parking spaces, the creche and the air pollution thing. Oh, and they’re not minor amendments, it’s all been sneaked through and there has to be a brand new planning application.

One suspects the planning people could guess what they were going to write even before it was put on paper.

I’m surprised not more was made of the proposed increase of hours for evening games, but at the VERY most that would be, what, ten nights a season? Besides, when do extra time/penalty games finish anyway? 2230? Everyone is usually gone by about 2315.

Anyway, I don’t think there’ll be too much trouble for most of it, and resubmitting in this manner isn’t that unusual for a project this size.

The most important thing now is getting it finally signed off with the contractors (not Andrew Scott any more but Buckingham – who built the Frenzydome…) and the first bits of concrete put into our section of the site.

Then it will start finally getting real and tangible.

I did note the current mock-up on the OS with all the earth around it. Maybe that’s what it will look like after all? It will be cheaper to build, and the view will be better than the RyPiss. Though one suspects the club will stretch the budget as far as a Portakabin for the dignitaries…