To be honest, I was struggling a bit over writing Fisher Price 2 Hasbro 1, without making it sound like a love-in, a suicide pact or a 19 page post mortem on our season.
However, whilst reading today’s Times (I’m intellectual, me), I came across this article from a guy called Daniel Finkelstein. He was talking about United’s run in on Chelski, amongst other things. You can read the article here, but this caught my eye:
“…everyone had taken Unitedâ€™s winning streak and Chelseaâ€™s few setbacks too seriously. Nothing had really changed. It was all in the timing. Teams do not win and lose in some kind of smooth, consistent pattern. They win a few then lose a few, possibly when you least expect it. Everyone was confusing the sequence of Unitedâ€™s and Chelseaâ€™s results with their underlying ability. United werenâ€™t catching Chelsea at all. Itâ€™s just that wins bunch. And so do losses.”
Reading it, it summed up last night and indeed the whole season. We were probably destined to reach the playoffs, but that was about it. As last night showed, once the first 30 minutes showed us struggling, that ensured Leyton and Carshalton next season.
And to be honest, we’re better off in the RP next season. A couple of people were saying last night that we would have struggled in the CS, perhaps fatally. Certainly Fi$h were better than us. Whether we would have done better with about 4 of our missing starting XI is up for debate – I’m not making excuses but how can you be expected to win games when you’re down to the bare bones? One perhaps for the hysterical over-analysers who greet every single bad fucking result to dissect in their usual meticulous manner….
So, what do we need next season? Firstly, I think that DA needs to find two or three ways of playing and stick by them. It’s no coincidence that our best form came when the transfer window ended. We have a good nucleus of players certainly, and sure as hell need to retain them. We need to work out how to avoid injuries, and also concentrate on our fitness (do we really not have a fitness coach?). A seriously good fitness regime in the close-season and who knows? And perhaps a tinsy winsy bit of discipline might not be a bad thing…
We might as well look to next season. We’ll be tussling with Horsham instead of Hayes. At least going down there is always enjoyable. Instead of Eastleigh, we’ll get Ramsgutter, worse luck. And instead of Sutton, we’ll get Carshalton. That’s our Boxing Day/Easter Monday fixtures sorted out already. I wonder how many people will go despite their, ahem, objection to their Franchise tendencies….?
We do get to play W&H next season, and nothing more than a good 6-0 stuffing will do me. There are some revenge missions for 2006/7 – even in our good spells we still didn’t look too convincing. A good FAC or FAT run for once will do us nicely as well.
Overall though, we’re not doing too badly. The general concensus is that we can only improve. There are teams who are in worse shit than us. Braintree, Swifts and Worthing have spent money that they can’t really afford and look where that got them. At least with us we’ve got the backup of a 2k hardcore. How would Fi$h do if they went up? Or H&R? Braintree should do well, but they were clearly the best side last year. Next season, you do wonder if we’ll be the team to beat. Being a moneybags side is no guarantee of success.
Anyway, enough of all that. I’m not writing about the game. I’ve got no desire to visit my own tombstone. Instead…
Plus points: We fought hard. Singing. Atmosphere.
Minus points: We lost. Season over. One game too far. Two relatively soft goals.
The referee’s a…..: Strong and could handle the occasion well. Should have given us a penalty though 🙂
Them: Fair play to them, they’re at the level we should be next season. Certainly unrecognisable from the side we beat twice. When you can get a guy from a Conference club back to lead your squad, you’re probably going to be promoted. Tempting to go back to Champion Hill on Saturday TBH. Don’t really seem to suffer the tall poppy syndrome either, though they were an ex-Conf club once.
Point to ponder: OK, this is going to sound perverse, but…. am I the only one glad the season has ended? SSC cup not included. Remember how you were feeling on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday before the game. Had we’d scraped through last night, the tension would have been unbearable come Friday afternoon. We all knew deep down that H&R would have done it over us. Personally, I blame all of those talking about ticket arrangements at KM for the Hampton game before yesterday.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The world’s crappiest flare being lit in the second half. Not so much Womble Ultras as Womble Uterus. (2) Why were both sides in away kits? (3) Sky Sports there, and reportedly showed the goals on SSN. Still, the loyal W&H fans will be taping it, watching it on repeat all day and masturbating furiously over it, all three of them. (4) Fairy cakes on sale in the bar. All we needed was a tombola with Famous Grouse as the top prize.
Anything else? Yeah. We still can’t seem to win big games when it matters. And we’ll always be in this division until we learn how to do so.
So, was it worth it? In the grand scheme of things, probably. Still hurts a bit though.
In a nutshell: Work in progress
And finally: That’s it for SW19 for this season. No, I’m not at the SSC final, though hopefully some kind soul will write me a report. With luck, I’m doing new and exciting things instead. And watching the World Cup. There will be updates during the summer, just don’t expect it weekly.
TBH I got a bit fed up writing SW19 this season, and as somebody last night said to me, it showed. So apologies if it wasn’t up to standards of previous years. I’ve got one more year of writing left in me I think, maybe more maybe less. And anyway, I need a break….