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Spilt Claret

And as soon as night follows day, as soon as light follows dark and as soon as a peerage follows a secret donation to the Labour party, we get “treated” to Merlot 0 Clarets 1. This sucked. Actually, it more than sucked. More or less the same sets of players that played against Fisher, Braintree and Margate and we put in a performance that even a SSL level side would be embarrased about.

The most annoying thing about this was that a mere few days earlier things felt a helluva lot different. Have we really become a bunch of invalids in such a short space of time? I don’t think we mustered one shot on target and the way we were outplayed at times frightens the shit out of me.

I think we’re all agreed that there is something wrong when it comes to KM games. The big problem is, we’re not quite sure what that “something” is. What is obvious is that there isn’t the element of fun at KM that you get at away games. Everyone is a little bit too tense, everyone’s a bit too serious. In short, everyone expects blood and feels mortally wounded when they don’t get it. We seem as uptight as your average Independent reader.

And I do think it does affect on-field matters. I can’t help noticing that our best performances have been away this season, especially ones where people are relaxed, having a good time, that kind of thing. Despite of – or even because of – the Margate weather, our trip down to the Kent coast was one of the better feelings I’ve had at a game for some time. At KM, the negative energy seems directed at our players. It’s as though they’re scared to perform in case they get it wrong. Yesterday, you could sense the straightjackets being put on again.

Away teams seem to know this. It’s a non Willy Enlarged Scrotum attitude fact that teams do raise their games against us, and for that we should feel honoured. However, as we ourselves should know, whenever you play a “big” club and their fans are not fully behind them, it makes life ten times easier. Don’t believe me? Remember such games against Spurz and Man Shitty at their places?

I suppose style of play is going to get a mention here. Yes, when people aren’t inspired by on the field stuff they don’t feel inspired elsewhere. Unfortuately, it’s a very crippling Catch 22. Are we playing badly because we’re being pressured to play well? Or is it because we’re playing badly that we’re pressuring them to do well? It’s probably a bit of both, but as said elsewhere, amazing how much better we play when the expectancy is off. And I’ve seen how well we can play with my own eyes this season…

It appears the bottom line at KM is expectancy. It’s the oft-mentioned comedown from the high speed ride of the last couple of years. We can safely say that our fanbase hasn’t quite adapted fully to “normality” in a football sense. We tried to re-adjust in the CCL/R1, and as soon as we started to get the hang of it, we found ourselves in the RP. It really seems hard to accept that we can play poorly at home. It does happen of course, let me quote you something from a fanzine:

“While playing games away from [our home ground] has always been fun, this season it’s been the only pleasure”.

So, where was this from? WUP? This website? A post on Big Tissue? Nope, it was from an Arsenil fanzine in the pre-Wenger era. It’s quite common in football matches, which is why I won’t join in the mass suicide pacts that follow every single fucking poor performance. I could mention that we’re still in the playoff hunt, and we’re nowhere near going down, but TBH it’s boring for me to write it again. God knows how boring it is for you to read it.

So what to do? Fuck knows. Perhaps it will take another season or two in the RP to slap us about a bit? A couple more years to shave off the worst excessives of our intensity with this club? Perhaps it might not be a bad idea if crowds dropped – and wouldn’t that cause strokes in the AFCW boardroom? Not to mention serious questions about our collective loyalty. Of course, when we beat Heybridge 3-0 next week, the playoffs will be a mere formality again.

And no, I refuse to mention any more about the game or the Barclays loan saga….