Is it me, or is writing stuff during the close season sodding impossible? Everyone’s on holiday, or more interesting in watching the cricket/having a life etc. And it’s not as though AFCW is a hive of activity…
So anyway, what’s been happening since I last updated? Well, not a great deal really. The SSC came and went in predictably anti-climatic fashion. Some kind soul wrote a report for me, you can read it at the end (after you’ve read my AC Milan article first, of course..)
Elsewhere, perhaps we’re getting inklings already of DA’s plans for next season. It’s pretty much common knowledge that he wants to keep this team together. But now, because of some moaning bastard individual with astute tactical awareness at the MTM thing, he’s thinking of a couple of wingers. Now, leaving aside the change in playing style (which might please some people), can we assume that if it goes bellyup, the guy at the MTM who suggested it will take full responsibility?
We are a club that likes to say how open and transparent we are. So I suggest that we make our fans adopt this approach. If you say that Battersby is shit on a guestbook and he scores a hat-trick next game, your post and personal details are published in the programme. Likewise, if somebody says the burgers at KM are great, and somebody comes down with a Spurz-type ailment, you are forced to eat the burnt leftovers…
DA does say that things are likely to be moving in the next 7-10 days, so by the time the World Cup starts there might be something to write about. So, while that’s happening, I’ll take a break from doing this and instead remind you of everything that happened last Friday at Woking….
â€œWoking back in unhappinessÂ©â€œ
We came, we saw, we conquerâ€¦ well that WAS the plan. But right from getting in the car to go to Woking things just didnâ€™t seem the same. No butterflies in the stomach of worry or anticipation. Being shepparded via another entrance to ease passage into the massive Bellway Stand, already full of Wombles; finding the only remaining seats were so high up we nearly suffered oxygen loss; everyone so; these were the things that made if feel so post-season, so last night of the Prom.
Perhaps this communicated to our players because the first half was like a training session practicing containment, and the second showing each other how NOT to score goals in a game.
So I donâ€™t think anyone in AFCW was that surprised by Normans 1 Saxons 0 was the result. And like at the Battle of Hastings one decision decided the gameâ€¦ a refereeing error. Little came out of his box to clear a long through ball but the ref adjudge he handled*, booked him and from the resulting free kick they scored. We just knew that WAS gonna happen when the decision was made. Talk about dÃ©jÃ vu.
And so the die was cast. Much though we huff & puffed, and created 3-4 good chances it wasnâ€™t to be. The last chance summed it up â€“ Smeltz, purposefully side-footing the ball wide to the left of the goalie only to see Brennan block the shot!
Perhaps it was player and fan fatigue – a night when it felt like it didnâ€™t really matter; where it became almost a chore to come â€“certainly there wasnâ€™t the passion in the singing and support as at Fisher.
So Kâ€™s having bragging rights for now over us. Is it a stick they will beat us with? Probably. Accept it – we would have done the same to them. Let them have their glory. They earnt it – they scored, we didnâ€™t!
Thereâ€™s always next season to look forward to rememberâ€¦
Plus points: The end of the season. Having now lost an â€˜importantâ€™ game like this it should help the readjustment programme of losing again. Howard and Sargent who were both awesome. Took them apart when we played the ball on the floor (see Minus)
Minus points: We lost â€“which means no trophies and photo opportunity at the FunDay this Sunday. The midfield is STILL the problem â€“ it is just not gelling (thatâ€™s not a pun). As someone said, individually they have it; collectively they donâ€™t. Dissent â€“ am I the only one fed up with players still questioning decisions 5 minutes afterwards? Kept playing the ball up in the air that played into their game plan.
The refereeâ€™s aâ€¦well, apart from wanting to be the centre of attention, the handball mistake and not protecting Barnes initially, he did ok-ish. A ref-assessor friend marked him 8 out of 10. Think we need some explanation of such things but hey! Also didnâ€™t seem to like ANYONE questioning the decisions. Noticed a Mr S Cook was the reserve official 😉
Them: can see why their last game was 3-3. The ability to score and concede in equal measure. The problem was we couldnâ€™t take advantage. Larged it up in front of our stand when they scored. Suspect some fans might use that as an excuse to ignore next yearâ€™s PSF against Ks. Liked their No 10 who was a real handful for Frankie all night. Perhaps a younger replacement for Battersby if he moves on?
Rather than truth isâ€¦player comments: No criticism of the back four of Woolner, Howard, Finney and Sargent. The front two (Barnes and Batts) did ok when they got the ball! Midfield was again where we lost us the game. Daly wasnâ€™t fully fit (went off after 70m); Garrard was anonymous (my daughter reckoned it was the Samson effect, what with his new haircut); and Plummer was â€¦well, Plummer. Only Ursell came out with credit for his overall performance. Oh and Shane and Little Butts who in their 12 mins did almost as much as in the other 78. Opps nearly forgot Brennan. If I was DA I wouldnâ€™t be offering him a go next year purely because I donâ€™t think he has done enough this year to earn the chance. Simple.
Franchise watch: they sacked Wilson this week and rumours have a certain Charles Koppel sniffing around the corpse. Possible court battle looming. Might be the entertainment of the summer â€“ know a few AFCW fans that would buy tickets to that one 😉
Competitorsâ€™ watch: Jeff King and his millions have left Canvey Island for Chelmsford. Oh and to make it interesting Canvey quit the Conference and have joined the RPL. Thatâ€™ll be a contest when it occurs next season.
[SW19 Note: Since this was written, Canvey won’t be in the RPL next season, and instead we’ve got Hendon again. At least we’re spared another trip to Essex]
So was it worth it? Not really â€“ we lost
In a nutshell: Get over it and watch us lose the cricket. Thatâ€™ll set us up nicely for next season.
Â© – Ray â€™Caravan Boyâ€™ Armfield (was apparently going to use it on a SLP report but after Fridayâ€¦. well, think about it)
* Spoke to Andy L at the Fun Day and he confirmed the free kick was given for handball. He said he didnâ€™t handle it; ref said he did so he said it was accidental not deliberated. He also reckoned he had the free kick covered until it clipped Mickey Woolnerâ€™s head and just cleared his outstretched hand. 🙁