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Tragic of the Cup

Who gives a fuck about the FA Cup anyway? It’s a shit tournament these days, ever since Man U withdrew from it and Littlewoods sponsored it. Who wants a glorious cup run with all that money from potentially drawing Darlington away in the first round?

Well, judging by H&M 0 W&H 3 nobody in a blue and yellow shirt did. I don’t think I’m over-exaggerating when I say that we’ve reached the watershed. For probably the first time since the club was formed, I have been genuinely embarrassed by what has happened on the pitch. This wasn’t a 3-0 stuffing against a decent Thurrock side, this was a pure out and out pile of shit.

So, what’s the problem? Are our players living in the AFCW comfort zone? If DA’s comments afterwards do happen, then the shirt sponsorship department will be on overtime again. It does seem weird that we’re already changing the squad just a few games in, but the patience has snapped. Quite simply, the players haven’t performed, and you can’t see it getting any better without yet more major surgery.

One thing is, this puts pressure on DA. If he changes the squad again and we start not only winning but looking like we give a shit, then job done. It is a learning curve after all. If not, he’s gone. Already, there’s some anti-DA murmurings. How much of that is knee-jerkism and how much of it stems from people still being pissed off at the CCL squad being culled I don’t know. But I think we can safely say that DA isn’t the most beloved of Dons managers at the best of times…

That said, and this is something too many people appear to have forgotten, we do have to be careful that we don’t make this club unmanagable. If it hasn’t started already, that is. There is probably more pressure at this club than any non-league side, with the exception of a few Conference clubs. Personally, I think there’s too much pressure at AFCW in general. I’ve read a couple of quotes recently how some of our former players are enjoying playing again because they’re out of the pressure cooker environment. And they’re right. Somebody yesterday said that nobody is playing with a smile on their face. And boy, it shows

As probably said last couple of reports, there’s a very surly air around AFCW right now. The players, the fans, you name it. Nobody bar the ultra-committed seems happy to be at the club right now. Attendances are falling and so is the self-belief. Maybe the hangover from the last three years has finally caught up with us….

One other thing that has grabbed me is this. Somehow, I can’t help thinking that there’s a bit of a halfway house approach at AFCW. We’re not prepared to join the likes of Fi$her etc in their moneyed manner, yet still expect Chelski-esque results each week. It seems a bit piecemeal at the moment, a bit incomplete.

I mentioned the watershed moment, and I think we now face a stark choice: we either decide to make some of our staff full time or we downgrade our expectations. If we go full time, then anyone signing for us knows what the craic is. Play poorly, you don’t eat. Simple. Pro footballers are better at their craft simply because they’re at it more than the amateurs. And they play football more as well.

Right now, our lot turn up and know they can bugger off back to their day jobs again even if they play badly. This wouldn’t usually matter so much, but some of them are on contracts. Presumably not too shabby ones either. Anyone playing pro at our level knows that he needs to perform, because there ain’t a lot of other options at our level. If we’re already issuing contracts despite our “careful financial approach”, then we’re well on the way to being professional anyway.

Unfortunately, just as Richie Blackwood took the wrong bits off Lenny Henry and Will Smith, we seem to have taken the wrong bits of professionalism and amateurism. In short, we seem to have deals that wouldn’t be cheap to break and yet get performances that redefine the word “amateur”

How often do we train? Once a week? Twice if there’s no midweek? I would presume that a couple of full timers would train more or less daily. At least it would show committment to playing football, if nothing else. And yes, it will be a risk to take on professionals. Ideally I would prefer it if we didn’t have to pay full time wages but still perform like a genuine promotion side. But 10+ games in, the main alternative to it doesn’t seem to be producing results….

It will be far, far harder to downgrade our expectations. We were never the little side grateful to get any chance to stick it up the big boy. We are the big boy. From the very start, we were always subconciously expecting Conf football within five years. There’s nothing wrong with that – hell, I’d rather have that attitude than middling around the Ryman 1 and be happy with it – but if we’re going to reach those heights then we need to act professional.

And yes, the above may not have much sense or relevance or indeed humour. But there was no way I was going to mention the game.


Plus points: Stop laughing

Minus points: 3pm until 4.50pm.

The referee’s a…..: We’ve had him before apparently. His inability to read the game stemmed from the fact that he was from Luton, where the term “further education” is as big an oxymoron as the term “Portsmouth Ladies”

Them: Hungry, wanted it more, had belief and were more than happy to do what they were doing. In short, just what we used to do. Wonder if DA does go if we should repeat history with W&H? You know what I’m referring to…. Their fans? True to form, they did the MK chants and afterwards did the “Easy” thing like a typical post-Euro 96 moron. The sad thing is, it’s totally predictable.

Point to ponder: Has moving the away fans down the side of the JS killed the intensity of the crowd? OK, we were pretty noisy for most of the game (that is one positive), but that little extra spark has gone. Probably all the more reason to tell whoever is responsible for the TE fuckup to move their flabby arse in gear.

Truth is stranger than fiction: Didn’t seem like an FAC game at all. There was no buzz, no tin foil cups, nothing. I know that the competition has been diluted over the years, but even so I’ve never known it this bad. I suppose this is what being a Prem fan must feel like at the moment, although in our case we don’t need a second mortgage

Anything else? Franchise lost. Though even that seems less hilarious than usual.

So, was it worth it? Fuck off.

In a nutshell: I see a bad moon rising……