OK, so maybe we won’t get relegated after all (see last week) – as somebody said to me today, obviously the anti-depressants didn’t work for the Dover game. Thankfully, they’ve kicked in for Michael Havers 4 Michael Howard 1, and it was all a bit too easy in the end
I guess time will tell in the coming weeks and months just how good the RP is, and whether Folkestone are the division’s cannon fodder or not. But quite simply, once we got the first ten minutes over with and scored our first goal, it did have a rather eery feel of last season’s opener against Ashford. Indeed, this time last season, I wrote the following words about Town:
“Unsure if they’re one of the better teams in the R1S, but they’re probably on a par with the best CCL club. One thing for sure, I doubt if it’ll be as easy as this each week.”
Wonder how many of us are thinking similar things tonight?
Let’s get the obvious differences between the RP and R1 out of the way first : this division is a lot more physical. I am genuinely surprised* that there wasn’t a sending off today. Before this season is out, however, we will be treated to one of those mass brawls so sadly absent from recent seasons. In fact, it will probably be considered an incomplete season if an oppo player isn’t hospitalised with a broken jaw/nose/ankle/neck/brain.
* – well, I should be genuinely surprised but I’m not. See description of ref below
Second, our defence will have to act less like a bunch of marijuana smokers. There were times where the marking let us down and one of the money sides like Braintrâ‚¬â‚¬, Fi$her and BillericaÂ¥ (alternative spellings copyright SW19) would have happily put a couple past us.
Thirdly, and most importantly of all, we cannot enter into any game now at anything less than 110% committment. Last season, we sort of got away with it as it turned out we were by far the best side. The CCL days practically saw us turning up expecting to win 5-0 and winning 5-0. Here, while we’re there to be shot at again, there are teams in this division who actually happen to have the artillery to do it.
As for the goals/game, they kicked us a bit in the beginning, we rode out the challenges (literally in a couple of instances). Then we got the breakthrough, good work from the not-much-maligned RB and the new crowd favourite Ammo let in SS to make it 1-0. I missed their goal, I was in the tea-bar queue as usual. I saw our second though, it was RB rounding the goalie in a 1-on-1 situation, and effortlessly slid it past the advancing goalkeeper. Shame the defender helped it in. Not. No doubt about the third goal either, Matt York right on the edge of the box, powerful low shot. Whallop. And when SS made it 4-1 a minute later, we were pretty much loving it. Shame one of the Invicta players wasn’t…
Oh, and some fans did that “Easy” thing. In future, why not clap along to “We Will Rock You” or do the Mexican fucking wave? On second thoughts, don’t.
Plus points: Comprehensive. Ammo looks good. So does RB. And SS. Old AFCW habit of pressing forward despite a good lead still welcomingly practiced.
Minus points: Defence looks a bit R1 standard. Utterly crap time to conceed a goal.
The referee’s a….: Here’s a game for you. Next time you pick up the Sport, look for the pics of an old scrubber with a chest size of 55FF. They often have some. Next, imagine if you will said protuberants double in size. Now, if you can imagine the image of said bra-breaking bouncers, they will be roughly the size of the pair of tits that were today’s ref and linesman. I think it took DA about 10 seconds to have a fuming session at the ref/lino and it seemed to just decay from then on. Fouls not given, one clear cut penalty decision ignored, that sort of thing. Remember the days when we used to praise the likes of Steven Cook?
Them: Considered a bit of a clogger team, and stuck true to form. Took their goal well. After 2-1 down, was as useful as Gate Gourmet’s hopes of renewing their BA contract. Their #8 was fat, their #6 was asked by somebody in the JS to “fuck off back to Kajagoogoo”. Took two coaches down, one of their fans decided to give a rather innoculous gesture to me, from the safety of the coach naturelment. Shame I wasn’t doing the NLP report, because it would mention vicious Invicta thugs threatening innocent bystanders… (who said journos twist stories?)
Point to ponder: This was the first game of the season, with a reduced capacity and I think that “sell your seat if you can’t make a game” thing still going. So why did there appear quite a few empty seats in the stand? Surely they weren’t all Folkestone’s allocation?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The streets around KM being deserted at 2.20pm. Seriously, you wouldn’t have known there was a game on. Course, with 15 mins to go it was all packed out. (2) AFC Wimbledon finally getting on Sky’s Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling. I don’t think I have ever been so quietly proud watching Fi$her’s result today…
Anything else? This was the first time in 19 years that I don’t have a season ticket (due to a money/work combination, and when it finally gets resolved I will get one. No, I’m not boycotting due to the hAE’s demise) and subsequently became the proverbial paying punter. Nothing consequencial except that it confirms my belief that Â£9 is deffo too much to charge for this level 🙂
I could mention a lot about covering costs, the AFCW “brand name” being somehow a means of justification for such pricing etc, but I won’t. Instead, a throwaway suggestion : If it’s not already in the pipeline or available, I’d like to ask AFCW (and I know some of the top brass read this site) if they could consider making getting STs easier for people. By this, I mean things like staggered payments (ie pay monthly, 3 monthly etc), and if the option for credit/debit cards is open, like it was for the FCUM game, that as well.
If you think about it, Â£200 or whatever the club charge is a hefty sum for a lot of people to pay as a single payment. I know quite a few people who have struggled to raise that sort of money this season, certainly. I know that at other clubs they give the option of paying for STs in installments (and the ST prices of some clubs suggests that a loan from the IMF is a good option), and I bet that plenty would be grateful if they could split the cost down. I know I would.
Out of a crowd of 3000, the ST takeup is about 1200. I suppose a club would like 60-70% of its crowd as ST holders, and we’re sub-50%. Especially as getting an ST is probably the best way to commit to a club (I wonder how many volunteers graduated to season ticket holders from being pay-on-the-door punters?).
Of course, I fully expect snarling, gnashing of teeth and threats of untold magnitude because of this. After all, the people who deal with STs have enough to do as it is.. 🙂
So, was it worth it? No. Remember the days when we used to lose the first game of the season? Now that was real football…
In a nutshell: Three years to the Football League.