Whether it’s because I’m buggering off on vacation tomorrow or not I don’t know, but after losing to Bromley tonight I’m feeling strangely placid.
I guess it’s because the performance tonight didn’t really surprise me. There was a lot of huff and puff, but no real cutting edge. When Wes Daly got sent off and we suddenly sat back, you just knew it would bite us on the arse. And sure enough, one defensive lapse was all it took. And yes, while we missed an open goal right at the end I can’t say we really deserved anything else.
Yes, the ref was a cunt. The same cunt who did us against H&R and is probably on Turdey’s payroll. Yes, Wes Daly was a twat. Yes, putting up with the Ryman for a third successive season will piss many off. To my mind though, I think we saw the end of a chapter tonight. Quite simply, I would be gobsmacked if DA was around next season. There was a distinct feel that we couldn’t go any further tonight, that this current bunch of players and management had reached the end of a pretty hazardous road.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if we were lazy or anything, but the crunch came tonight and we didn’t deliver. I will now state that DA should go. We need a fresh start, an injection from somewhere. The fact we failed to capitalised on the euphoria and newly-found verve post-Appeal has come home to roost in a rather pointed way. Yes, we did the right thing by keeping DA on, and this has to be the first time I’ve openly called for him to go.
The club has grown up in many ways this past year or so, and I don’t think it’s quite caught up on the field. What tonight encapsulated was the DA reign in a nutshell : nearly, but not quite. This club is more than capable of stepping up to that next level, I just think we need to do that now on the field. The FAT run gave us a taste of what we can do, but instead of relying on beating the top sides and throwing it away against the Worthings we need to be a lot more professional IYSWIM.
Will attendances drop next season? If we get a carbon copy of this season just ended, then yes. If, however, we boost the club and the fanbase, then no. An AFCW romping away with the title will always get in more people than an AFCW middling about living off its name, reputation and big fanbase. Which is what has happened in recent months. Be honest, until certain incidents this season AFCW was drifting. Dare I say a malaise was forming?
AFCW needs to be brave now. It could take the easy option out and keep DA on, scraping into the playoffs each year and praying that one season it will click. Or it can be bold and put somebody else in who may fail but may also take that one step further. Again, tonight proved that DA has taken us as far as he can. The club can afford another couple of seasons in the Ryman providing everyone can sense we’re going somewhere. Right now, there ain’t that.
I guess the worst thing for most of us is the outright glee we’re now going to experience at our expense. You know what I mean when I say that. The lectures aimed at us are pretty tedious, very easy to disprove and just exacerbates the attitudes displayed. That said, I’ll soften the blow for you all though : at the end of the day, the others have to live with us and that’s what fucks them off most of all. They have to put on extra staff for us, extra facilities etc etc. We are, as one Ryman fan said of us once, a nightmare to cater for.
No, we’re not part of the Ryman clique, less so than ever these days. To be honest, I don’t want to be in that grubby little club either. But eventually we’ll be out of here : clubs with significantly bigger crowds and infrastructure always find their way back to their natural level. Bolton, Blackburn, Sunderland, Forest, Man Shitty and Leeds (to name but a few) all went to levels below what their size warranted, but eventually they get/got back up. Our trouble is patience.
We have learnt a lot over the past two years. When the club approaches next season, it will know more about how to do things than even 12 months ago. Tonight was another point on a learning curve, and in footballing terms we’re still at kindergarten. We are however at a cross roads right now. There’s no harm in choosing the wrong path, but right now the worst thing we can do is to not change anything, and instead just sit there and wait for a signpost to fall on us.
Tonight won’t kill AFCW. Even at our lowest ebb it’s still a mightily powerful organisation. But I think now is the time to start realising that potential.
When I come back on the 15th, I expect changes. It will never have a better time to carry them out…..