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At last…

Now THAT’S more like it. David Cameron 4 Michael Howard 0, and they were lucky to get nil. Well, sort of anyway. After a mix of bloodletting/tactical discussion based on playing Championship Manager this week, we decided that it was enough arsing about, head down, whips out and gave the oppo a jolly good seeing to.

Before we get carried away though, they were pretty much a pile of llama feces. Then again, so were W&H on Monday. But I’m sure that yesterday’s performance/result wouldn’t have happened without the debacle at Stompold Lane. When I walked away on Monday, I felt shit to the pit of my stomach. Yesterday, I felt, well……

Actually, yesterday was more job done than jubilation. A sigh of relief rather than a jump for joy. Flatulence rather than the follow-through. Masturbation as opposed to copulation. You get the idea. We all know that we’ve got to make these performances the norm rather than the exception. Losing or even drawing yesterday wasn’t worth thinking about, and even a (s)crappy 1-0 win would have increased the pressure.

We have to repeat that against Slough and Hendon. Do that, and we’ll be getting somewhere. No, we won’t win every game 4-0, this ain’t the CCL. We won’t even play that well every week. But when somebody said that it was the most complete performance under DA so far, he wasn’t far wrong.

So, what went right? I won’t mention tactics, as they’re boring as fuck and send me into a near-fatal coma. Well, apart from the fact that it did seem to make a difference. But perhaps above all that, everyone had a point to prove. The first 20 minutes I think we were just unstoppable, and I can’t recall an AFCW team in a decent league doing that. OK, I got into trouble this week for not mentioning Wes Daly and Frankie in the “those who shouldn’t fuck off and die” category. I won’t need to do that this time.

Despite the fact that I rather like winning 4-0 at home, I’m not getting carried away as it’s really too early to say whether this is a turning point or not, but for now, enjoy it. We’ll have to do it again on Tuesday.

The game? Oh, that. We went 1-0, then 2-0 up, then got a penalty and D’Insane missed it. Then 3-0 then 4-0. Inbetween that, they put pressure on us a bit. Still would like a defence that doesn’t make me shit myself whenever an oppo player goes into the penalty area.

As for the rest of it…

Plus points: A win. At KM. A good win as well. Looking like we had a clue. First 20 minutes. Looking like we bothered. Decent passing. Clean sheet. Good crossing. SF looking a bit more like a pro-footballer.

Minus points: Should have been five. A better team would have scored a couple against us.

The referee’s a……: Wasn’t he the guy who sent off about 4 players between Billy Ricky and Chavsford last season? Some people thought he was all right. Me, I think he was a little bit too lenient with the cards…

Them: Crap. Sort of like W&H without the grudge against us. Our opening 20 minutes destroyed any confidence they had. Before you get carried away, we beat them 4-1 at KM last season. OKish turnout by then, couple of small time MK Dons/AFC Kingston comments towards the end. Then again, the people doing it did sound pissed.

Point to ponder: Our turnout was 2165, which I think was the lowest ever for a Saturday league game. While a win will put a few more on the next gate, that statistic should make AFCW shit itself : what is it doing to get people in? How are they going to attract not only newcomers, but (perhaps more importantly) those who have stopped going to games?

Here’s the SW19 three-pronged answer, feel free to take on board or ignore completely. Firstly, reduce prices for the turn-up-on-the-day brigade., £9 is too expensive for this level of football – reduce the price to £7. Think Sunderland v Arsenal in the league cup last season (£5 entry, full house). £9 is clearly a ceiling now, and should we get higher it’ll get more prohibitive for people to go.

Secondly, make sure everyone in Wimbledon and the surrounding area knows damn well about it, and whom we’re playing. And yes, I do mean posters around the place. We did posters once, stopped doing it for some inexplicable reason and I’m sure our attendances slightly dropped. Could be coincidence I guess.

Thirdly, give incentives to those who do go. For example, you could have done Kids For A Quid – Back To Skool special yesterday. FCUM were going to let u18s in for nowt yesterday, although their game got rained off. Or, for a crappy LSC game, those who keep their ticket stub can get 20% off their next purchase in the Club Shop Kiosk. Give a little something back, and who knows – you might get people wanting to become more involved again.

I’m starting to hear murmurings of “but it’ll take funds out of the playing budget.” Well, if crowds keep falling, there’ll be less people for advertisers, less people who could potentially join the 1889 Club etc etc. And less people = less playing budget. Right now, apart from Keith McGuinness’ efforts, the whole AFCW marketing machine seems rather uninspiring and plodding. It certainly doesn’t jump out at me and yells “look at what we’re doing” to my face. I think ever since I started paying on the gate, I’m more acute to this sort of thing. The club can’t rely on its “aura” or its name any more….

And yes, a decent performance or two doesn’t hurt.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Seeing TomTom advertise. More intriguing, the ad mentioned PL….. (2) At school, whenever you played football, goalhanging was always frowned upon. It was suggested that you were too lazy to run like a blue-arsed fly and you didn’t give a shit about the team. Good job that SF never listened to his teachers.

Anything else? Yeah. Was it me or was the atmosphere a bit muted again yesterday? Forget the attendance, there was an attempt at a buildup for a couple of days this week, and it didn’t quite happen. Are we expecting too much in the vocal department? I don’t recall us ever being the loudest even at PL, and it was always away games where you got more of it. My feeling is that you’ll only get it at KM when it’s a genuine biggie. By that I mean a vital league game like ETU last season (yesterday, whilst important wasn’t the be-all/end-all some thought it should be). Perhaps we ought to vacate the Tempest…?

So, was it worth it? I can cope with that for a while.

In a nutshell: The road to recovery?