Reisefieber

AKA we’re all going on a European tour…

The video above, from the criminally underappreciated Die Toten Hosen, means something along the lines of “Nervous excitement before travelling”, apparently.

Which we shouldn’t be feeling for what after all are just two PSFs, but this has a bit more to it than yet another ninety minutes against Reading.

Your editor is going, and will be doing a writeup around Tuesday or Wednesday (I’m flying out tomorrow and not back until Monday evening).

By the sound of it, quite a few others will be joining me. The game against Kaiserslauten sounds a pain in the hinterteil to get to, and I think most will be at Kickers Offenbach a day later.

But Frankfurt is easy enough to get to, there’s enough hotels around and they haven’t jacked up the prices for our visit.

I fully expect a few weissbiers to get consumed by the time we start on Saturday, and that’s not just the players as well.

This kind of trip is one of those “bonding” ones as much as anything for them, and we’ve had the Wexford pissup trip already. Maybe Walter just likes travelling during the summer?

That’s been confirmed with another game in La Manga on Tuesday, against Aaron Ramsdale’s AFCB. Live on their telly service too. I assume we’re going straight there from Germany?

As we head to Deutschland, we do so off the back of losing to Brizzle City on Tuesday.

That was a game of two halves, and then some. The goals we let in were simply weak defending, but when the subs came on, we looked more like I hope we will once the proper season starts.

Nesta looked decent again, Rudoni impressed many as well. There’s clearly some work needing to be done with players knowing where their team-mates are, as there was some passing/headers that went nowhere.

Up front may be some issues if we’re just relying on Piggy (Pinnock managed to disappoint again). When Roscrow came on, he did seem to get into the game a bit more, and I think we may need to just be a bit patient over him.

The game also saw the return of Michael Folivi, whose (re)signing might well be Walter laying down the gauntlet to Appiah. Who was named on the bench but didn’t feature, by the way.

Anyway, he (Folivi) impressed, forced a good save from their keeper and like our new Welsh Wizard scored from the spot. And even had a little tangle with their #23 afterwards…

And I think the last 30 minutes or so suggests what may make us next season – the ability to knuckle down and get goals/points again.

When it was 3-0 I did think of that Reading 7-0 gubbing that ultimately scuppered Terry Brown’s era, although I don’t think we’re nearly as bad now as we were back then.

Don’t forget as well that we’ve played two decent Championship sides too, both of whom at times showed why they’re a level above. We won’t be playing that quality most weeks.

As written after Brentford, there’s no obvious alarm bells ringing afterwards. Maybe a concern about the striker situation again, although we do still have a month after the season starts to rectify that if need be.

Speaking of signings, the return of Seddon rumour won’t go away, though how much of that is simple wishful thinking I don’t know.

The longer he stays at St Andrews, the more tenuous the reasons he’s returning after all will be. By mid-August, some will claim he’s coming back because he farted something that sounded like “AFC Wimbledon”.

I’m joking. I think.

He may or may not be in our shirt next season – WD likes him and I’ve no doubt if something can still be done we’ll try it. But he’s going to be the new Billy Knott at this rate.

Anyway, the big news this week was – finally – the screenshots released by the club for NPL.

Home sweet home, indeed.

Suddenly, it starts looking ever more real. Not quite as real as the Sky Sports News piece from the building site just outside Lidl, with Walter and John Scales (and if anyone has a link to that…).

But much more real than it has done for the past 28 years.

That kind of thing does make you want to start giving money to Seedrs. That said, the club should have co-ordinated better with them to release this first, before the cash grabbing.

Show the images first, then start saying “looks great, doesn’t it? Give us your money”.

What’s done is done though, and work productivity among AFCW fans this week has plummeted due to looking at all those pictures.

I do note that if you look at the last one, it shows there will be posts in the way for three of the four stands. That might still be subject to change, but if it isn’t that would be a shame. I’d rather we focused on that rather than some of the other things we’ve planned.

For the first time I can remember, there’s some indication of what we’re actually going to get in the new place.

We’re getting a pub, open to everyone seven days a week. I think that will do well, if the amount of people who you see in By The Horns in any given evening is to go by.

Plus, it’s an area where just about every boozer bar the Corner Pin has closed down within the last 15 years or so. So much for the doggers/stockies keeping them open, though I’m surprised any landlord put up with them for long.

Oh, and it must be called either the Sportsman or the Batsford Arms, preferably the former.

A “fan zone”, which is basically a meeting point for everyone wherever they’re sitting. Presumably this doesn’t extend to away fans…

I think they’re basing it on the current KM arrangements, where you can all congregate outside the bars at half time. Though that’s mainly because people want a pint, a fag, and somewhere to breathe normally.

The museum sounds promising, and your editor may have one or two things for it. As long as it’s not pokey, and doesn’t whitewash anything, that will do well.

Especially when you consider that apart from Morden Library, there has never been anywhere physical where people can go and see the history of not only AFCW, but WFC and the Old Centrals too.

It will be quite emotional for people the first time they step inside it.

There’s plans for a Conferencing suite, and that’s something that could be a legit money spinner – if marketed properly…

The announcement that the capacity is now 9000 will disappoint some. Though that might be enough for a while, especially when you go to somewhere like Gillingham (11k) or Wycombe (10k) and you see a lot of empty seats.

Shrewsbury is a similar size to NPL anyway, and there seem to be few complaints about that.

Plus of course, it can be expanded, which is the important thing. Obviously, necessity and finance will dictate what happens later, and I get the feeling the next big project after NPL will be a new training ground.

Like most similar sized clubs, we’ll be relying on the executive boxes to make us some coins, and the big revelation is that there will be managers technical areas either side of the tunnel.

I thought we were going to have them shoved in the corner? That would truly make it “unique”, and probably more entertaining to watch than some of the games.

There’s the usual stuff about concession stands, and to be honest I think the fans zone might be a place best avoided unless you’re sitting near to it.

One thing that is practically de rigeur these days is a proper family enclosure. And don’t underestimate the importance of a good one, especially if it makes the sprogs want to attend a second time.

There’s a very long list about the inadequacies of KM, but a lack of proper family facilities is one that isn’t fully appreciated…

True, some of what’s written is the melodramatic prose about returning home, and I think we should prepare ourselves for a fair dollop of that in the next year or two.

But this is what you want to see. And the only thing that will surpass it is when the cranes at the site start working on our bit.

That’s not the whole story, of course, and the club were doing some of the media rounds recently. The SSN piece mentioned earlier notwithstanding, we were in the Standard, the Mail, the Sun and City AM.

The last two are the ones that give out more info. And my first thoughts are that we haven’t managed to get stadium naming rights sorted yet.

It sounds like we turned down a betting sponsor for it, which (as the youngsters say) is virtue signalling of the worst kind. After all, this thing needs to be paid for, and we literally cannot afford to be virtuous.

Doesn’t stop us taking Sky Bet’s shilling for the EFL sponsorship, strangely enough.

Hopefully, something decent can be sorted that won’t fall foul of the AFCW Purity Test. Or some of our supporters could simply stop being overgrown students…

As for the fan naming bit? I can put up with it for a season, though I would hope it’s properly vetted. Knowing us any game against Franchise will end up getting sponsored by one of their window lickers.

There is a precedence for this kind of thing – when the naming rights for the “new” Boston Garden came up, they did some 24-hour rebranding for whoever was the highest bidder that day.

And as it’s only going to be for 20% of the fixtures, I can tolerate it for that particular campaign. It will be that type of season, before normality finally kicks in.

Those who put their money in via Seedrs are going to get their name on a “permanent” plaque. Well, until it gets ripped out and thrown in a skip again, when the first refurb takes place**.

** – at the time of writing, still no official apologies to those directly affected by SeatGate. But thanks to whoever it was after Brizzle City who helped locate my mum’s plaque/seat in the pile of them on the Chemflow end.

Clearly, it had been in a skip, and that symbolises something described to your editor last week as “institutionalised contempt”. But at least one person gives a shit…

What does stick out is the whole “urinal” thing. I’m hoping that was just a joke, but sadly I don’t think it is.

It just comes across as tinpot, and that those who are tasked with ideas have already run out of them.

While NPL is genuinely exciting, and will finally right the wrong of 1991, I have this nagging feeling that we’ll handle some of it poorly…

Finally, the EFL released a statement on Wednesday about the continued mediation with Franchise over the use of their “official” name.

To be honest, it’s not something that particularly riles me – calling them “MK Dons” is something down my list of taboos with them.

Sure, I’d rather they folded into the most painful oblivion we can think of, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Like cockroaches, they will always be with us.

And really, my views on this haven’t changed from when it was first announced in April 2018.  There’s only so many times you can fight old battles, and if anything I’m surprised we got away with it for so long.

And while the club correctly gets grief over its attitude towards supporters, its priority here isn’t to placate fans but the governing body.

They’re not treating us any different than anyone else, indeed I believe Franchise had to do some hasty re-editing on their OS whenever our name cropped up to our “proper” name too.

It’s all still in mediation, although the EFL clearly put it on the backburner until we drew them in the Carabao Cup. Which says more about the EFL than anything else.

So while the whole thing isn’t ideal, to put it mildly, I don’t think it’s worth repeatedly getting fined over something where the symbolism isn’t what it was anyway.

Besides, and this will mark me out as being a bit old fashioned – the best way to stick it to them is to stuff them on the field of play…