How do I write about New Lodge 3 Travelodge 0 without lapsing into tourets syndrome? How do I write about the display without dips into over-reaction? How do I being to describe that without overwhelming everyone with the waves of doom?
The truth is, I can’t. That was shit. No, correction. That was fucking shit. That was wank, toilet, toss and a great lump of horse plop. We would have struggled to beat a CCL side. In fact, we would have lost to a Franchise supporters outfit consisting of the Bag Lady, Philphy Taylor and a couple from the Frenzy messageboard. By themselves.
We can forget promotion this season – we can certainly forget being the automatic promotion candidates. This was without doubt the worst performance this season, in fact the worst since H&R last season. And tinpot trophies aside, I’m strugging to find many worse in the whole AFCW history.
The plans that AFCW made last season, budgeting for promotion, should be torn up immediately. We should instead be rebudgeting for Ryman One football again next season, because that’s where we’re heading. Dreams of playing Exeter and Aldershot regularly will remain just that – a dream. We can kiss goodbye to the sponsorship we’re building up. We’ll certainly be dragged for many years to come by the Barclays loan, and it might be cheaper next year for the club to ask its few remaining ST holders why they even bother coming at all……..
OK, I’m slightly over-reacting. I told you I would be, I really hate losing. Especially like that. Right now, I wonder where we go from here. Is this as good as it’s going to be this season? By that, I mean two good performances, maybe one great one then a pile of shit.
The fact is, if we are a legitimate promotion playing side, we had to win that game. We had just started to build up a tinsy-winsy bit of steam again (well, three matches, none of which we won in 90 minutes anyway) and then we disappear quicker than Ashley Cole in a room full of Arsenal fans. The fact we lost and lost badly says it all.
Bottom line, if we went on a 7 game winning streak, playing decent stuff, then put in a performance like today, then fine. That’s football and it happens to the best of them. But this is inexcusable. Today, we had a two minute spell after they scored where we hit the post (though I bet DonsOnline will show we should have scored). And that was it. The rest was basically us being torn apart, little confidence, and distribution on a par with The Football Paper’s first relaunch issue. If you want an incident to sum it up, it’s this : Wes Daly was in the middle of their half, three defenders standing about 12 yards away and had all the time/space in the world to pass it. And where did he pass to? You guessed it.
One defeat in itself isn’t usually a sign to kill ourselves, even if some of our fanbase think otherwise. Even as I type this, we are only two wins away from the playoffs. But can you really see us getting two wins? And if so, can you see us getting the third win so we don’t slip back and have to do it all over again? Our consistency is shot, and if today is any indicator, so is our confidence.
So, what to do? Sack DA? The increasingly obvious choice perhaps. It might be costly to pay up his contract, but if it’s the right answer to get rid of him, it would be a case of affording not to. After today, he’s certainly in the most precarious position of his stewardship : it won’t be this particular result that will doom him, it’s the inability of his side to get the run going that will get us playoffs at least.
Certainly, another performance like that against Heybridge will virtually condemn him, and a third slump against Staines will be the final straw. Needless to say, it won’t happen like that, and knowing us we’ll win the next two on the trot.
Whatever the outcome is, I expect it to happen after the DT elections are over. It will be the biggest risk AFCW has had to take though, and I hope we find the right answer and take action on it. What that right answer is I don’t know, but as the Stranglers once put it, something better change.
I suppose I ought to write just a little bit on the game. Only a little bit though, it was shit (as you’ve probably gathered) and it was getting too cold and depressing to write. So….
Plus points: Your editor getting 15% off an all-day brekkie at Clackett Lane service station by flashing his RAC card. And they forgot to charge for the extra sausage I sneaked through. Roadchef, I salute you. Perhaps it was compensation for the crap of today…?
Minus points: There isn’t enough bandwidth nor time in the world to even start on this section.
The referee’s a……..: He may have been Captain Cluelesscunt of Cluelesscunt Land, and he might have missed a little “challenge” on AL for their first goal. But when you can’t bring yourself to blame him, things really are bad.
Them: Doing to us what we should be doing to this division. Keeper was a miserable shit though, and his kicking was crap.
Song sung blue: “Really hate this ground. I really hate this ground. I know I do, I’m sure I do, I really hate this ground”. Most memorable song of today. Other than that, according to those on the side, we were deathly quiet. Special mention to the Rickay fans who did a rather sarcastic round of applause every time AL did something like catch the ball or take a goal kick. Thing was, I’m sure our fans were about to join in.
Point to ponder: Is there an air of resignation about the place? I certainly noticed it today when we were 3-0 down. It wasn’t a “fucking hell we’re shit” rantathon, nor was it a crowd gripped by shock. It was a sort of expectancy. The thing was, I wasn’t really surprised at today. I’d had a rather “odd” feeling about this game and as much as I hoped it was a good oddness, this was nearer what I deep down expected. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) We have never won in Essex since August 2005, at Maldon Town. And even that was a close one. Why don’t we apply for the Southern league? The standard may be higher, and it’s longer travelling, but at least I won’t need to go through the Dartford Tunnel any more. (2) Captain Cluelesscunt blowing up two minutes early for the end of the first half, thankfully. Sadly he decided to start the second half. (3) PA playing decent U2 songs. In other words, the stuff before they went all commercial (post-Live Aid) and Bono started ramming his head up his own arse.
Anything else? Yeah. Quote of the day was “we’re lucky to get nil”. Not so much of a big statement, except that it was made with 17 minutes gone of the first half.
So, was it worth it? Fuck off.
In a nutshell: So, how many will Aldershot put past us? Nine? Ten?