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I dunno about anyone else, but this has to be one of the most underwhelming pre-season campaigns going. So much so that I can’t be arsed to write even a brief report on Grays yesterday. But in a nutshell : we lost, they were better than us and the ref/4th officials were cunts for not allowing a rotating substitution. What did they think it was, the FA Cup final?

For some reason, things feel flat. Whether it’s DA on holiday (which gives a slightly less than proper feel to proceedings, if that makes sense), whether it’s the lack of glamour ties – and I include FCUM in that – or whether it’s just the fact that we’ve only won once, it’s hard to pinpoint down.

It could be of course that we need a break from football and we haven’t really had it. The World Cup was in our faces all summer, and might have managed to put a lot of people off football. After all, what’s your most abiding memory of that tournament? Bet “cheating” comes top of most peoples’ list. Oh yeah, and those WAGs types, which does at least prove that it is possible to have a life after prostitution.

Are people bored by football? Or indeed AFCW? I don’t think people will get bored of going and meeting their mates, having a laugh or two etc. But there’s a feeling that it doesn’t really matter right now. Mind you, when Carshalton comes around…

This all said, the cost doesn’t help. You can dress it up under guises of “we need to fund this place”, but £7 for terracing is a bit of a pisstake. That’s not much cheaper than a standard RP game, and for something far less competitive. Would it really hurt AFCW to make it £4 or £5? Are we in such a perilous financial state that we simply have to charge £2/3 extra per person than what the game is worth?

It may be impossible to prove, but I wonder how many people decided to save their money yesterday? Quite a few I bet. That’s potential merchandise sales gone there. OK, it’s a couple of quid, although as we all know this “couple of quid” can build up a bit. I’ll leave you to do calculations as to taking a family of four to a game, offset against your hourly wage and household budget, and how a “couple of quid” can end up being more than that..

Also, and this is one of these psychological things that is hard to explain but very true, paying £5 just feels a lot better than £7. Despite the £2 difference, it seems far less of a rip-off for an unimportant game. And as the golden rule of consumerism proves, if you feel you’re getting a good deal, you’ll spend more on other things. Goodwill is something that football clubs generally don’t seem to grasp, and I do include AFCW in that. I hope notes are being taken for next summer. Not holding my breath though.

Finally, and this is in relation to the Grays game, what the fuck was that “Form Follows Function” banner about yesterday? It reminded me of those subliminal Commie party slogans you got in pre-glasnost Eastern Europe. Perhaps this is a new line of AFCW marketing? Coming soon on the Tempest End: “Womble Youth and the CFS say yes”. “Brothers for the Back Bar”. “Toil for the Club in the new home shirt”. “The Ground Fund is your heartbeat”. Although I’m sure that last one is actual AFCW policy…