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We sit and wait

Firstly, we beat Met Police last night in one of the coldest nights I can remember for a while. Annoyingly it went to extra time, and even more annoyingly we scored two minutes after the restart. Thanks guys, we really appreciated the half hour extra of fresh air. Still, Goddard and Shroooooooooooot getting on the scoresheet is good.

Special mention goes to the Met Police catering division, for supplying us with some of the best burgers and hot dogs (proper frankfurter style ones as well) and at non-RP prices as well.

Anyway, we play Egham next round. If we’re allowed to still be in the competition.

Which neatly leads us on to tomorrow. I’m not too sure how much more needs to be said. Everyone seems to have pored over every tiny nook and cranny and drawn their own conclusions. Most people seem to assume the worst, that being kicked out of the FAT, 19 point deduction and worst of all – possibly not being able to go to Woking for our traditional end-of-season cup final. There’ll be bloodshed…

Let’s examine the worst case scenario : out of the FAT. OK, it happens, and we won’t be the last to ever have this happen to. I doubt if we can’t afford any fine either.

What is shitting people us is what the Ryman will do to us, if indeed they do anything. While 19 points is extremely excessive (especially as you can effectively discharge yourself from your financial problems and “only” suffer 10 points lost), plenty have concluded that it’s all the Ryman can do.

So, what would happen if we did lose 19 points? Well, a cursory glance at the table would put us 18th, one place below the possible drop zone (ie if we have the worst record of the other step 3 divisions we’d be down). That would suck big time, but if the season was to end then we would be safe.

Now, what would happen after that is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that we would have 18 games or so to get out of trouble. Our success/failure would come down to how we would respond as a team and as a club. Worst case is that we’d have to use contracted players and some of the youth/reserves to do that. And that assumes the non-contracted players suddenly decide to bail out. If it comes down to money issues, expect a couple of donations from a few people, fund raising etc. Never underestimate the power of the aggrieved football fan, least of all ours.

One of the most outlandish theories of the past few days relates to what will happen to our crowds should the worst happen. Basically, it assumes that should we get done crowds will slump (a couple even suggesting a few hundred, though I think the local drug rehab unit are currently on the lookout for some missing patients).

If that really was the case, then AFCW is in massive trouble anyway. It would show that our fanbase is so fickle and spineless that there’s no point carrying on with running the club. Would 1700 people really turn their back that quickly? A few people may tail off, but most people I see about won’t give up just because of something like that. Christ, we can even muster 300+ for a SSC cup game away in extremely cold weather when other teams would get about 50.

Of course, all this is speculation. The club are saying nothing, and if truth be told we don’t even know what the procedure is tomorrow. We don’t know whether or not we can appeal either. If it goes against us, and we can appeal, you can bet we’ll go for it. I would demand sackings if we didn’t, and I wouldn’t be alone.

My feeling is that if things can be drawn out by us, they will be. It’s too disproportionate a potential punishment for us to sit back. Unlike most other clubs in non-league, we could afford to do it. We would win without contest if it was spirit of interpreting the laws, certainly. And take it a step or two further, it could cause grief for the Welsh clubs generally. As much as we fear the RP’s response, the FA would fear anything beyond being able to close this situation off once and for all tomorrow. Especially if we could invoke Rule K………

Finally, the whole thing is a direct comparison to 2002. Back then, we were confident of the outcome. We “knew” the rules by reading them up, pointing out any and all possibilities. We applied logic. We knew what we were doing. No similarities to today, obviously.

Anyway, now I’ve written all this, what’s the betting we get cleared?