As I write this, the temperature is reaching 14/5/88 proportions, the cricket season is well and truly under way, and I’ve realised that I haven’t updated for a while. So…
By now you should all know who we’re playing next season. Some intriguing ones, not least the trips to Essex. Get your tetanus jabs now. As a lot of the Essex ones are nowhere near the train station, it might be a good idea to start saving up for a new motor, or get used to coach travel. Somehow, I think Maldon Town on a wet Tuesday in November could be a litmus test for our collective commitment.
There are some more local games as well. H&R seems a goodun, though you’ll probably need to park a little way out, like Merton Park, to stand a hope of getting a space. Hendon will be a good revenge mission, Slough need a spanking as well. And Fisher as well, though it’s a shame they aren’t back at Rotherhithe this season. Leyton isn’t too bad to get to, or Harrow Boro. And when we go to Redbridge it will be like the old days of going to West Ham, though hopefully without the threat of being sold jellied eels or offensive weapons.
And how could we forget Worthing? Confused? Well, remember Withdean 2000? You know, they were quite a big team in the CCL. Anyway, they were run by a guy called Alan Pook, who if I recall correctly didn’t seem to like us too much. In fact, here’s a nugget from the W2K report from August 2003 (and it’s not in the archive, but that will be rectified when I get round to it) :
Fight night: Towards the end, there was a rather public scuffle involving two of our more pugalistically minded supporters. Some punching and a flooring (with W2K style kicking) but it all passed off peacefully. Rather strangely, one of those breaking up the fight was a Mr T Walgaar. How the mighty have, er, fallen.
Now, my memory is a little bit hazy on this, but I seem to remember Pook – or one of his henchmen – being involved in this above fight. In fact, I remember reading that he indeed started it. Anyway, Pook is now at ….. Worthing. In fact, he’s the first team manager. So while seeing Worthing may bring images of tacky seaside resorts and retirement homes to the casual Womble, it’s really like an old reunion….
Oh, and Bromley and W&H are with us. Can’t have everything I suppose.
Also up are the long awaited pre-season friendlies. Couple of things. Firstly, you may note that Bognor is a rather stupid 12.30pm kickoff. Apparently, it’s because they’re doublebooked with a wedding or something – non league football, can’t beat it – though it puzzles me why they can’t do both at the same time. Perhaps we can get Joe Sheerin to conduct the ceremony? He certainly won’t be playing…
Looking at the list, apart from possibly Aldershot and Crawley, there aren’t many games this time that jump out at you and smack you in the face. While we know that PSFs are really supposed to be about giving the squad a run-out, it would be nice to have at least one game that gets the juices running. Last year we had Brentford away and, if memory serves me right, Watford at KM. This pre-season is quite dull by comparison. I don’t expect Chelski or Arse to come down, but I really hope that we tried to get at least a QPR or Palace team down, especially considering the informal links between us and the two sides.
The obligatory Ashford Town (Mx) seems quite a nice Saturday afternoon, certainly for some plane spotting, but the Ks game could cause a little bit of ill feeling. Especially if Ks really haven’t paid their rent for this year. The very fact that some people are even talking about boycotting this game should be a sign that a small-but-growing percentage of our fanbase are getting a bit fed up with acting the benevolent landlord.
OK, Ks have been pretty much rogered from behind sans vaseline by Khosla, and it may be too soon to start turning the screw on them, but if nothing has been rectified by this time next season, we should tell them to fuck off. Seriously. Given the choice, I would rather we play somebody like Sutton instead, even if it’s because they’re a higher level and I do genuinely believe our recent success has come through high class pre-season preparation. It’s not AFCW’s fault that Ks are fucked, so I don’t see why we should be Florence Nightingale with them.
Elsewhere, some players have come in and some have left. You know who they are, but I don’t know what they look like half the time so I won’t bother expanding 🙂 We have thankfully been spared the Princess Diana-esque blubfest this year, like what we saw over Kevin Cooper’s departure*, there is now an acceptance that no player stays forever at AFCW. With regards Bolger, he was one of the now tiny band of players at AFCW who were there in the first season. It’s only really Matt E who is likely to be playing regularly for the club now. The CCL seems a lifetime away.
* – incidentally, Mr Cooper was seen at the Horsham v Bromley playoff with none other than the Eames clan. Feel free to spend the summer fleshing out your favourite conspiracy theory. Or was that last season’s task?
One final thing, tomorrow is the three year anniversary of THAT decision. I was going to write an article on it like I have done for the last two years, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just point you to an irony that came within the last couple of days. It comes from the gob of former BBC MOTD roundup guy and opportunist tosspot FA Executive Director David Davis about Liverpool’s CL pariticpation next season. Even if you’ve read it before, read it again.
“We think there should be a place for Liverpool in next season’s Champions League for sporting reasons and for the wider interests of European football.”
Somehow, it is impossible to make a further comment…