We came, we saw, and unfortunately it ended up Stiffies 1 Horns 4. Well, in truth it was probably a fair reflection of the game, though it must be said we really did take them on for the whole 90. The gulf in class between us and their reserve side (no Ardley, Gayle or TB sadly, which left some pretty miffed) was obvious : if Leatherhead and Dorchester showed we could do it against teams two levels above us, then today showed what happens against those at least 6 or 7. Most of Watfords goals (except the 4th which looked 100 metres offside) were due to defensive errors, and plenty were giving Ray Merry stick. Still, we kept going, and our goal through Bolger was genuinely deserved.
Other than that? Well….
Plus points: We scored. Pressured well. Put some nice movements together
Minus points: Defence looks shit. GK position weakest. Men vs Boys on occasions.
The referee’s a …… : Anyone remember that ref who used to come from Bookham (or was it Great Bookham?) that John Motson made the SAME crap joke every single time? Well, it was him. He did give some decisions in our favour, amazingly. Linesman one Mr Fish, and suffice to say managed to miss two blatant keeper-out-of-area decisions. Plus ca change, as they say in various parts of Germany.
Them: Sadly, no obvious first teamers, in fact probably a majority of them their youth team. Which as said before should put them at least 4 or 5 levels higher than us to begin with. They all looked about 14 regardless. Few Horns turned up, though Vile took more than they did. Having QPR vs Watford wasn’t going to bring in the crowds at KM. They did seem to be put out a bit whenever we pressed, and against a better team than us their goalie will struggle (somebody suggested that he would be in the Ryman before us). I reckon that our players are more well known than theirs, though there was somebody called Scott Fitzgerald playing up front for them…
Point to ponder (1) : When was the last time we had a designated home pre-season friendly? Last I can remember was either 1985 or 1986. Been a l–o–n–g time certainly. I think we lost that as well.
Meeja whore: Your humble and esteemed editor getting interviewed in his Cork City top for Sky Sports AND appearing in Womble Underground Press as well. No autographs please.
Sing me a song, you’re a singer: Couple of ditties being vocally expressed with passion. Nice to see the Champagne Song back, though the rather large “WHORE” at the end of the song did startle. One of their number was likened to somebody who masturbates, but apart from that it was a little bit silent. Nice to see the Grolsch John Smiths stand take their usual inspiration from a well-known piliar of the religious establishment, though I think they could have chosen better than trappist monks. Oh, and “5-4, we’re going to win 5-4” did push the optimism barrier further than what is deemed legally safe.
Point to ponder (2) : When was the last time it rained at a game at KM? Seriously, I don’t recall it raining once last season. Granted, it got a little bit chilly down the hardcore Athletics End, where you are immediately primed for arctic conditions. Not like you namby-pamby lot down the cosy West Bank with your quaint little roof. Weather? Wouldn’t know it if it came up and hit you on your over-protected faces. Pah…
Millie Dowler Fund: At the end of the day, it was all in a good cause etc, and 2059 pledging Â£12059 (did they add a “1” on the end of that or what?) was nice. Good to see her family enjoying the occasion, though having O2 sponsoring it was a little bit too subtle for many people.
Point to ponder (3): I wonder if teams like Watford should send their reserve sides out to play in levels like the CCL? OK, perhaps Watford would walk it, but even so, putting them in somewhere like Ryman Premier wouldn’t hurt them or other sides. Especially with this restructuring malarkey. The rate things are going, plenty of talent will be playing in the non-leagues soon enough anyway.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Looks like they’ve got some decent catering finally. The foot long sausage looked edible enough and the tea didn’t taste like it was 4 days old. (2) Overhearing some young kid yelling “Oh yeah, I love your bum – not”. In the words of the Avalanches, that boy needs therapy….. (3) Meeting two prospective female partners of the SW19 readership, proving that you can read this site AND get laid at the same time. Does not however work if you are the editor of this site. I think I must scare women. (4) Speaking of the female section of our fanbase, the ladies performed before the game and then went around afterwards, panting, sweating and asking for money. I’m told there was a ladies football game as well.
Franchise FC watch: Christ, them again. Right, they beat Torquay 1-0 and 13 of their remaining gimps went. Wankelmann is bailing them out of the Hockey Stadium fiasco, so looks like the hockey people have predictably dropped their trousers and bent over obediently after all. Their first game up there could be ……. Cardiff. Buy shares in MK-based double glazing companies now. Meanwhile, another stealth game, this time up in NI against Glentoran. Typically, the IRA are on ceasefire and the UDA/UFF/LVF/UVF/IVF/MFI/RUC etc are testing their weapons against each other, so no likely nobbling of various people. Work is being done up in Belfast, so there may be hope yet.
Anything else? Aye. Basically, the reason why we’re here in the CCL and Watford’s players are playing for a first div outfit is that they can shoot whilst we slice it. That’s the major difference.
So, was it worth it? Suppose so, the Dowlers did very well certainly.
In a nutshell: Can’t remember the last time I saw a game soaking wet, getting cold and watching us get stuffed off the park.
Meanwhile, the new CCL fixtures are out, and it’s caused a bit of irritation in some quarters. Why? Well, firstly, we’re playing Feltham at the Chernobyl Bowl first game, after that particular little fixture was announced a couple of weeks ago unofficially. Some reckon it’s because the Feltham chairman also happens to sponsor the CCL, though I suppose if any of us were in the same boat we wouldn’t have the moneyspinner team to ourselves first game. Wouldn’t we?
Anyway, obvious modern football commercialisms aside, seems like having 8 out of however many games at KM in the evening is causing problems. It’s reckoned that losing Â£5k per midweek game, not to mention lack of JD, merchandising etc etc can bugger us up. My opinion is this : we will be playing a grand total of, er, 3 more games in the evening than last year. And we managed all right then. Ultimately, we don’t make the decisions of when we play, and while I suspect some KM evening games will be moved anyway, I suppose it is “proper” to have the league making the final decisions as opposed to powerful, over-mighty exterior bodies. Been there, done that, got the Commission report. Some people are crying foul already though, though are you really surprised that it’s been worked in such a way that it’s going to get money out of us? If you are then you could be considered very horribly naive.
In truth, I suspect that most people will still go to most of the games, and I doubt if attendances (read : revenue) will drop THAT much more than normal. Yes, midweek home games can be a pain on occasions, but they’re generally easier to get to anyway. If you don’t like it, quite simply don’t put your money in. Worked before – I didn’t like paying Â£2 for Y&B last season, so I didn’t buy it. The fact it finished low down in the best non-league programme table is probably not the curse of SW19 – and let’s face it, earning Â£1m in 3 weeks isn’t going to make people think we’re going to go broke anytime soon.
One final thing, isn’t it more advantageous for the team to not have to travel to somewhere like Merstham in the evening?