Dare we dream? Dare we think the unthinkable? Dare we put that one thought into our mind? Dare we even consider it? After Medway 0 Club Med 1, dare we?
Yes, it’s possible. Yes, it may happen. Yes, we’re closer now than we ever were before. Enjoy the anticipation. Savour what may yet be. Yes, we may finally get a long Northern away trip that leaves at sparrowfart, to places with Thwistle in their names and to cheap beer, hostile locals and chips with gravy.
The FA Trophy final? Oh yeah. I don’t think we’ll be in it, but I bet Oxford United will be slightly cacking themselves at having to meet us. Maybe.
Oh, all right. This might have even outdone Aldershot. In many ways, it did. No, it wasn’t nearly the freeflowing football that Aldershot saw, but unlike the game at the Rec AL wasn’t working overtime for his win bonus. While you can easily see the gap between a part-time Ryman Prem side and a full time Conference side in places (ie they’re sharper and probably much more match fit) at other times, you couldn’t tell which division was which.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much out of this. There was certainly no obvious buildup, although having to go back to pikey Kent again might have seen to that. I felt for the last two games we were slipping a bit again, and surely we couldn’t repeat Aldershot? I was tempted to put money on the draw though.
When Rosco…E scored though, in the back of my mind I didn’t think we’d lose. I did expect them to come back at us, and I suppose they did. But apart from their one off-the-liner, they were as good as us. Suffice to say, I now regret writing just before Rosco..E’s goal that “I don’t think either team can score”….
Was it a corner for our goal? Dunno, but the ref certainly was trying to help them equalise. Five minutes injury time that suddenly became eight? Their players moving the freekick, taking them before our player had a chance to get back and then booking our player for not being able to retreat in 0.0004 seconds? PB being poleaxed and nothing given, yet Rosco…E does similar and nearly gets sent off? No idea whether their effort was over the line or not, but in the mood he was in the ref really must have been sure it wasn’t.
By the sounds of it, they were really pissed off afterwards. Know what? Great. The shitty Ryman Prem team called KFC Norbiton upsetting the odds against a side known in some quarters as the Arsenal of the Ryman. It’s not as though our goal was scored directly from the resulting corner, they did have a good chance to clear it beforehand but didn’t. So it’s their fault.
I understand we were given absolutely zero credit by the local radio station. For those “fortunate” enough to have listened to the partisan crap called BBC WM or BBC Lancashire in the past whenever we won oop norf, it really is olden times. Too big to be liked by the Ryman teams, too lowly for the Conference teams. Hey, this is deja vu.
Dare I get any more frenzied? Probably not. Here’s….
Plus points: We won. Away. Beating a Conference side. Clean sheet. AL not having that much to do. PB returning. Generally closing them down (if occasionally a bit too zealously.).
The referee’s a……: I reckon you can gather what I think. I’m convinced he had a spread bet on to see how many AFCW players he could book in the second half. Let’s hope he lost money.
Them: Do you think I can mention them without the fact they’re based in Kent? And the mandatory slaggings off which that part of the world usually gets?* Well, let’s give it a go. I’ve been to the rough areas of Warsaw and Leipzig and Union Berlin’s ground, so I felt in familiar territory…. D’oh. At least it wasn’t me who said that it was like a “downmarket Portsmouth” 😉 Expected much more from them to be honest. Claimed we were dirty, and obviously they were 100% clean themselves. Their fans were very quiet, except for the 15-strong chav army who wanted to stick Haydon up their arses. Perverts. And of course, an oh-so-original “MK Dons” chant. Piercing or what?
* – For those who think I need help over my obsession with hating Kent, I should explain : I used to work a couple of times in the county, near the Aylesford Newsprint place. I consider myself well-travelled and quite broad minded, but I’ve never experienced a place or people like it. I think “provincial” is the word. Further trips to places like Dover, Gillingham, Ramsgutter and even Maidstone have given me a prejudice I will likely never shift. One plus side for Kent – at least it’s not the North….
What the papers say: Picked up a copy of the Gravesend Messenger, and it seemed to have a fair bit on….. wait for it…… Charlton Athletic. The Addicts are known for being a community club, though not necessarily their own. Mind you, I’m reliably informed that Gravesend used to be mainly Chelski. I suppose we can be but thankful for small mercies….
Meanwhile, their manager Liam Daish said about the contest: “It’s going to be a tough game. They have got some players with a lot of experience who have played at a higher level”. Nice words – what he said afterwards will be different 🙂 – but I have to laugh. Why? Well, I’ve interviewed him quite a few times, and I’m sure that’s as much as he says in every interview. I wonder if he goes for interviews with his bank in the same way?
Bank: So, Mr Daish, why do you want this loan?
Daish: Well, it’s going to be a tough decision to make, but I’m confident I can make it.
Bank: Er, right. Can you pay it back within 5 years?
Daish: I’d like to think I can strengthen my situation. I’m struggling at the moment with financial injuries but I’m confident for the future.
Bank: Look, why do you want this money?
Daish: Well, if the right situation comes along I’ll try and strengthen in that area.
I hope for his sake Gravesend are paying him enough.
Point to ponder: Thought just occured to me : it seems that DA can really get the team playing well for Gravesend/Aldershot/Eastleigh yet not so much for RP. Perhaps we ought to give DA a Director of Football position for the while we’re in RP. Then, should we get promoted he becomes our manager again?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Apparently, this is the highest placed team we’ve ever played competitively as AFCW. Not only that, we’re the lowest ranked side left in the competition. And we’ve got further than D&R and Burton. We rule. (2) G&N had a tie-up with Austrian Airlines. Thing is, why? It’s not near an airport. Does Gravesend have anything in common with Austria, apart from the fact that neither place has English as a first language? (3) G&N came out to Black Box’s “Ride On Time”. Oh dear.
Anything else? Yes. Out of the crowd of 2016, we must have had 900+ there. Not only that, but I know at least one person who couldn’t make it because the Northern Line was buggered. And they missed out on our best ever result 🙂 Wonder how we’d do if we actually did make it into the Conference? Would we take 900 or so? Less? More?
So, was it worth it? When you see a certain Womble who regularly appears all sober and intelligent on BBC News acting like we’d just won the trophy, it’s impossible to respond negatively.
In a nutshell: Fuck yeah.