Rough and common

Look, you can do your own “Posh” joke yourself…

I suppose it was a shame I wasn’t at London Road yesterday, otherwise I could have used “Thomas Cook 3 Lunn Poly 2” for the scoreline.

It doesn’t really matter though. After a bizarre week, it was no real surprise that we lost again.

Reports seem to vary between us greatly fighting back, giving them a nervy last ten minutes (from the Peterborough point of view, no less), to 3-2 flattering us and a lousy first half to boot.

All are probably true.

The long and short of it is this – we’ve lost again. That it might have been expected is irrelevant, because we’re now definitely in trouble – and we’re just reaching October.

Yet the focus this morning seems to be as much on (gasp) scoring two goals and (double gasp) only being an offside decision away from a unlikely (and much welcome) point.

Some may criticise that approach, suggesting we’re avoiding looking at our losing record and we’re merely doing some deckchair rearrangement.

They may be right, but I’d rather that attitude than the soul-destroying, downbeat negativity that blighted a certain previous regime in this same situation.

Arguably it kept us up in L1 last season. Will it keep us in the division come May 2020?

The odds on that aren’t good at the moment, but let’s see where we are when – OK, if – we win a game again…

You don’t need me to tell you what’s hanging over us right now. Or as it shall be termed from here on in – WallyGate II.

You can imagine the tagline right away : First they came for his Twitter, now they’ve come for his William Hill account.

There was an interesting post-match comment from GH in the local Peterborough paper, though you’ll need to register to read the whole thing.

I’ve been in football a long time and it’s the first time a manager’s been suspended when I’ve been involved, but the players have come in & sometimes it’s a new lease of life for some who have been out the team and think they’ve got a chance again.

Which does beg a question – Walter dropped them to begin with, and if he comes back, will they become ousted again?

Being a caretaker manager in this situation can’t be easy. WD is still the manager, could return by the time we host Rochdale, yet GH could easily be in charge come Saturday as well.

Who do the players answer to right now? GH? Walter himself, still? They seemed to react in the second half, anyway, and one wonders if they know more of what is likely to happen with our currently suspended manager.

You’re not going to get any official word, but there are one or two little snippets about. Such as in yesterday’s Daily Mail, which you’ll need to scroll down to.

Who knows how true it is (my gut feeling without any inside info whatsoever is – there’s no smoke without fire), though getting charged for placing bets under your own name isn’t a bright thing to do.

Regardless if it’s only £1.11**, as one bet is supposed to be.

** – is it me or does something that low arouse suspicion as much as a £100k flutter?

Walter might be in more trouble though if the QPR allegations are correct, especially as the FA tightened the rules around that time.

Only this month, Jordan Stevens was banned for six weeks, while Paul Scholes got fined for placing bets only this year, though he was a director at Salford City.

The PFA themselves make this very clear, although the LMA don’t. Which I put down to the social media savvyness of its members rather than anything else.

We’ll probably know the outcome of what happens about this time next week, but as the last SW19 updated suggested – keep an eye out on any leaks in the papers…

Whatever happens, we’re in a state. And people are openly talking about relegation already. It’s probably too soon for that, but we escaped it with the skin of our teeth last season and it’s obvious we didn’t do the necessary to remedy that.

Your editor was at QPR v WBA yesterday, and one of the local Albion journo types suggested that they needed a stint in the Championship to reset themselves as a club.

It’s working for them so far, they’re top. Would us going down to L2 give us the reboot this club badly needs?

To be honest, I’m not sure. I’d rather not suffer relegation full stop, but it’s certainly true that four seasons after Wombley, we’re as out of our depth as we ever were.

I accept that we may well be a L1/L2 yo-yo club for the foreseeable future, and should relegation happen you can’t say the writing wasn’t on the wall.

What concerns me about potentially going down is that AFCW never seems to learn any lessons. You’d hope demotion would send a massive jolt through the club – but would it listen?

If you put your hand on your heart right now – can you honestly say we wouldn’t be fighting against dropping to non-league again this time next season?

It doesn’t help when you hear that the combined total of people on the FCB/DTB is about fourteen. That’s simply too many, and that just makes it bloated, over-bureaucratic and inefficient.

Yes, I know that NPL has engulfed things, but the physical construction is now under way (more later) and excuses for not changing things ran thin a long time ago.

While I’d rather not go down, if that’s what is needed to reset this club then so be it.

Especially kicking off at the new place next season, where the expectation of us to do things “properly” becomes too big for even this club to ignore.

And speaking of which – it only took twenty eight years

There’s very little to make you feel good about AFCW right now, but this erection surpasses just about everything.

It’s finally happening.

It was nearly four years since the LBM decision, and since then it’s been endless further planning applications, s106s, and other such delays. It almost made NPL an abstract concept that wasn’t ever going to start.

Even when the old dog track got flattened, it sometimes felt like a cruel illusion to eventually show that this is what we could have won.

Well, now we’ve got something to look at. And it will get even better as the months progress.

I’m surprised there wasn’t some ceremonial thing about the first steel structure going in. Actually, I’m not at all, but that doesn’t matter – it’s more important that it gets built ASAP so we can have a proper look around.

And with the talk about rebooting, it becomes harder to resist change. Much harder.

I’m sure there’s some psychology study explaining why seeing something physically tangible changes attitudes. Even if there isn’t, you’ll know what I mean when I say things can never be the same again after that picture.

Why? Because now it actually gets real.

Now, you have to properly figure out how to make it work. How to get the corporates and hospitality generating funds. How to fund it without going under. Indeed, how to properly function as a club with this shiny (?) new structure we’re responsible for.

It’s the difference between planning to have a baby and then deal with the realities of getting pregnant.

Even down to something like what to do if NPL opens and we’re a L2 club. Its whole business model is built on getting people through the door and them returning every other week.

How do we now properly deal with that reality, especially when we’re losing games and people are starting to make excuses not to turn up?

That said, 432 went to London Road yesterday, which isn’t a bad turnout at the best of times.

But a new era for the club has started with that very picture, and that’s not hyperbolic to say that. In future AFCW related history books, the entry will likely read “As the club struggled on the pitch, it had new life breathed off it with the construction of its new home”.

To be fair, AFCW always writes new chapters, even unintentionally. I didn’t realise it, but today is the 12th anniversary of us going to Debenham LC. It felt longer, although it should act as a reminder that we’ve come a long way in just over a decade.

That does not mean we should rest on our laurels. If anything, it should prove that we must always keep adapting and reinventing ourselves – something I believe we’ve currently lost the ability to do.

Because we know what happens when we don’t…