Points mean prizes

Well, that’s the attitude I’m taking right now anyway.

Football is full of truisms, some more palatable than others, and one of them is that if you keep clean sheets you’re half-way there already.

Which is kind of how I feel about our 0-0 draw against Wycombe.

By all accounts, it was the direfest everyone expected beforehand. A team low on confidence and ability, against a side not known for its, ahem, elegant approach to the game.

Expectations were low, and I think we managed to live down to them.

But we needed something from this game, and we got it. No matter if we wouldn’t score if we were still playing until Tuesday**, we would have killed for a clean sheet a couple of times this season.

** – I didn’t know we were playing Brighton’s thumb suckers in the fLeasing.com thingy this week. A chance for a few fringers before Saturday’s circus? Or some members of the starting XI…

I don’t find the zero goals-against stat and the return of Will Nightingale to be a coincidence. We’ve missed him badly.

And there are a few other straws to be clutched right now. NGW won MOTM and by all accounts had one of his best games since he’s got here. To quote somebody last night, it’s something when a player in non-league last season shows up so many of the squad.

The lesser spotted Adam Roscrow proved that he does exist in real life, and isn’t some accountancy creation like Kjetil Waeher was. Even more so, many have said that he looked promising when he came on.

OK, that’s a bit of a low bar. If you’re registered blind with a limp and flatulence, but can still kick the ball in the direction of the goal, you wouldn’t be our worst striker at the club.

Trott will need that confidence boost of a game without letting one in, and given he’s been called up to the England u21 squad he must be doing something right.

But we have problems. And not small ones.

These are issues that I think might be best highlighted by Wycombe fielding both Darius and Akinfenwa yesterday. Two very strong characters, and despite your editor’s continued reservation over the latter, two players who we’d snap up in less than an eyeblink again.

We’ve never properly replaced either of them since they left. Just like Taylor, and Elliott, and Fuller, and Bulman…

Whether Walter gets any sort of chance to at least semi-rectify that this next 48 hours remains to be seen. It is crunch time from now until the 1st January 2020, and we need something extra.

It will probably be a loan deal, especially as higher division clubs will be deciding which players are now surplus to requirements for at least some of this season.

In our case, it doesn’t matter if we get a player that departs next window, because this season is about staying up and nothing else (which won’t do much for the collective mood, admittedly).

In 18/19, it was what happened between late August and November that nearly killed us – not from January onwards.

The rumour mill will be spinning away, but as usual – nothing is guaranteed until they’re doing a cheesy grin on the OS.

As said last week, WD deserves a bit more help in the transfer market than what he’s received thus far. This month just gone should be a wake up call, if nothing else.

And thankfully, August is now a memory. Hasn’t been great, has it? Mind you, in theory the fixtures should be a bit kinder from now on.

I do think there’s been a bit of a hangover from last season’s heroics still, considering much of the current squad were here for the greatest of escapes.

But we can’t dwell on that – or live off it – for too much longer. We’re a month in, got just two points to our name thus far, and we’re misfiring as much as we ever were last season.

Though weirdly enough, yesterday was our first game this campaign where we’ve failed to find the net.

So, challenging times ahead. I guess everyone is collectively expecting more of the same as yesterday for much of the campaign now, which might start reflecting on attendances.

I note that we were still selling tickets before the game. True, it’s the last weekend of the summer holidays, and there will be some taking advantage of that.

But interest in watching us could be waning again. The product on the field is crap, and people will only put up with shit for so long. They were falling under Ardley, and we won’t be immune from that under Walter either.

Not that being at KM makes it an pleasant experience. Stories that the bars – again – were woefully understaffed and the queues were so bad that people were just giving up are sadly unsurprising.

They should be better (do we have a bar manager now?). Even so, one wonders whether the matchday experience at KM now can ever be improved.

This is our last full season here, and perhaps our last season full stop even if NPL doesn’t open next August. And I think that shows.

If people start making excuses not to go to home games, you can’t really blame them. Your editor doesn’t get to many KM fixtures as it is, and I’m usually happier when the games I do attend are away.

I doubt I’m alone.

One is left with the sense that the club is struggling to cope with everything again. Both in terms of getting it right on the field, and making sure it functions properly off it.

I won’t go so far as to say there’s a Darlogate III on its way, but the circumstances today are quite similar to the first two instances.

On the previous occasions errors were made because the club’s (semi-pro) structure and culture wasn’t adapting to what was needed.

Today? Well, it’s certainly true that there’s a growing number of people disappointed with Joe Palmer’s tenure thus far. They expected change, and more “professionalism” under him, but they don’t feel it’s happened.

That might be down to him, though equally he may be having to spend all his time fighting a lot of fires.

How to improve things at KM for this season? To be honest, I’m not sure there is an answer. Well, there is – it’s called winning games. That does have an amazing effect of lifting the mood, and we should try it some time.

Easier said than done, of course, but we’re due a victory. Next weekend wouldn’t be a bad time to start…