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It must be the close season…

Dare I talk about the World Cup? Oh hell, everyone else is. Especially those who wouldn’t normally watch The Beautiful Gameâ„¢ but who are to be found with St George crosses on cars/faces and sing “Roooooooney” as easily as breathing. And the inevitable attempts to sound all knowledgable about football. You know the sort of thing, “I think Sven should play 4-3-3. You?” by some old tart who usually thinks a utility player is a make of dildo.

OK, it’s hard to predict who’s going to win. From what I’ve seen thus far, Czech Republic could surprise a few people, although the Argies look good (hope they win it as well, and nothing to do with the 8/1 I’ve got on them. Honest). And the Germans look, well, German….

Ingerlund? Either two things will happen. Either they will get taken apart totally in the QF against somebody half decent (remember that Spain game where the local fans did their impression of Chelski’s finest?) or they’ll become all jammy and win the bloody thing.

And if that happens, watch out. It will cause a frenzy never seen before in this country (outside MK, of course). We will be treated to even more mongs in face paint and jester hats doing the “Easy” chant at every given opportunity, and of course every single goal celebration being a variation of the retarded Robot dance. Bear in mind it’s not actually a dance as such, it’s merely Peter Crouch showing how mobile he usually is.

If Ingerlund do win the WC, it will basically mean more heavily sanitised, identikit football with heavily sanitised, identikit fans. Deepest of deep joy. Couple that scenario with Chelski’s transfer policy determining the title for the next five years, and rugby union suddenly seems more tempting…

Actually, watching the investment bankers and public schoolboys at yooniun is a step too far. Best to stick to AFCW. Speaking of our blue/yellow shirted heroes, I’ve dragged myself away from Kelly Dalglish on SSN and decided to address the entire SW19 readership. Both of you will know that we’ve signed somebody. More accurately, we’ve signed more than somebody, we’ve secured the services of Michael Haswell, Darren Grieves and Steve Watson.

You can find out where they play, where they’re from etc on the Official Site. Don’t worry, they’ve finally got round to saying that DP has gone to Braintree, about 2 weeks after every other outlet mentioned it (with quotes from DP himself in my local Post)

What intrigues me more than their positions is the change in ethos with signings. For probably one of the first times I can remember, we’ve admitted that we’ve paid a fee for a player, in this case Haswell. I think it’s a change (maturity?) of the fanbase and the club itself that we admit such a thing and nobody makes a massive fuss over it.

Perhaps it’s an acceptance of how things are now? When you hear that Chelmsford etc are putting in money, we have to start spending ourselves. Being financial prudent is one thing, being left behind is another. I don’t fancy being in the RP for any longer than necessary. And while I will never tire of a Paul Barnes/RB style signing, those type of transfers are few and far between. Besides, our best player last season (Andy Little) came from the not-too-small Crawley Town…

Of course, all the players are giving it the plaudits about joining us. You know the kind of thing, “I’m really relishing the thought of playing in front of so many supporters”, “Everything I’ve heard about AFC Wimbledon is that it is a massive club that is going places and I want to be one of the people driving it towards the league”, etc etc. Christ, we really are getting more professional.

Elsewhere, the trophies currently kidnapped by Franchise may be coming back to Wimbledon. Basically, the FSF has arranged for their return in order to – wait for it – allow Franchise into the FSF. And to drop their boycott of MK Dongs game as well.

OK, getting back the trophies is one thing. And when that does happen, I’ll expand more on it. But the FSF themselves? Well….

Presumably the FSF are desperate for members. If so, it would explain why they’ve dropped their opposition. Its problem is that it’s run by politically motivated fans for politically motivated fans. You know, the sort who would otherwise stand in local elections, and the sort who genuinely give a shit about voting systems. Be honest, what has the FSF got in common with the average fan who buys his replica shirt, has a few pints and occasionally middle fingers the opposition? Has your average fan even heard of the FSF? And if they have, why should they care?

It’s no coincidence that the most effective fan pressure groups are the individual club ones themselves. We all know about WFC/AFCW, Charlton and Brighton, and you can doubtless come up with your own. You don’t even need to be formally organised, as Peter Swales’ widow will testify. And, most tellingly of all, the fact that Ipshit Down, Colchester and now Histon have cancelled PSFs against Franchise makes the FSF look even more irrelevant and out of touch.

In short, don’t get pissed off at the FSF dropping its trousers and bending over for Franchise. To quote a ground stealing Lebanese terrorist fundraiser, they are like a gnat biting the backside of an elephant. If you’re thinking of joining, or you’re currently a member deciding to renew or not, plough your dough into AFCW instead. We’re far more influencial.

One final thing. I note that the club now has a tie-up with Ladbrokes, which means if you open an account with them via our OS part of your winnings go towards the club. Unless you’re a puritan this is a very good move on the club’s part, and it does suggest a far better approach to commercial stuff these days. Which after all will determine the club’s financial future for the next five years.

I do wonder what sort of odds Ladbrokes will offer in regards to us? Not so much us being 2/1 to beat Leyton, more of the unusual sort of bets. Let’s see : Richard Butler to remain uninjured for more than a month – 5/1. Paul Barnes to win the 100m sprint for the nearby athletics club – 5/4. Walton and Hersham to raise their game 300% against us – 1/13. Alison Chapman to stop being a totally dumb bitch – 5000/1……