You know it’s one of those sort of weeks. First came Worthing, in a so-predictable-it-hurts draw. I can’t recall a last minute equaliser that hurt quite so much. Especially as we were seriously on top for most of it.
But it’s nothing compared to what we have to put up with next. From the OS:
Late this afternoon, the FA notified the club that we are being charged with fielding an ineligible player in the FA Trophy game against Gravesend & Northfleet. The hearing will be on Thursday 25 January and it is likely, but not certain, that the result will be announced the same day or on the following day.
The FA has written a letter to Gravesend & Northfleet and to Rushden & Diamonds, with a copy to us, explaining the situation so that they can plan for all possible eventualities. Their letter says that there are three possible outcomes:
. The result stands
. The game is ordered to be replayed
. We are ejected from the competition and Gravesend and Northfleet are re-instated.
We will be making no further statement on this matter until the hearing is decided.
Typical. Just fucking typical. Somehow, we were doing too well in the FAT, and now once again our fate is in the hands of the FA.
Who it is, we’re not sure. Logic dictates that it’s Lorraine, as he’s the only loanee playing. However, others may hint that it’s JD, because of what the FA press office calls “international clearance”. In other words, he was registered with the FA of Wales last season.
Already, the paranoia is reaching fever pitch. Scare stories that we’ll be found guilty through JD, the Ryman League will get in on the act and we’ll be deducted enough points to have to fight relegation abound. The fact that JD has been with us since Eastleigh may not have hit the radar.
The truth is, very few AFCW fans have enough faith in the FA to “do the right thing”. It is impossible not to feel that the FA have already decided that we’re guilty, and that all our documentation has been “mysteriously” destroyed in an unfortunate fire at FA HQ. Subsequently, we’ll be forced to play the game again with only five players. Or even worse, get chucked out, repay the money owed and get fined again for denying R&D a nice payday.
Am i going OTT? Probably, though after THAT day in May 2002 I wouldn’t put anything past them. Be honest, this feels exactly like the week up until the FA Commission were greased up. We have more reason than most to distrust anything the FA does. Once bitten, and all that. This will test whether the FA have forgiven us for disproving their “not in the wider interests” comment. And I thought that AFCW was to ensure that would never happen again?
Trying to be rational, we’ve not been found guilty as of yet. The worst that is likely to happen is that we’ll be thrown out of the FAT. In a way, I would prefer that to a replay, as it would mean we’d be unbeaten in the competition. Doubtless we’ll lose any rearranged fixture, the football gods will decide that.
What will concern me is how we will respond afterwards. Assuming we’re found guilty, I would hope that the stinging injustice of it all (and let’s face it, we will feel as though we’ve been picked on again) would spur us on to finish top at the end of the season. On the flip side, the whole saga reflects our whole season – nearly, but not quite. It could lead to a feeling that absolutely nothing will go right for us, and the season will just fall splat on its face.
Anyway, testing times. It’s like WFC era days. You may have forgotten we’re away to Chelmsford tomorrow. Let’s go and stuff them while the Ryman still allows us to win matches.