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Odds and sods Finally, a proper game under TB. Shame we lost 1-0, and I didn’t bother writing too many notes to do a proper report.

Like just about everything you get at the moment, you can’t really read too much into the result. It came about a minute after the game started, when we looked disorganised at the back, and from then they shut up shot in a way. In a PSF as well. What did grab me was how much more “professional” we look. Or at least like a side who had some idea what to do, if not necessarily the skill or the fitness to do so. I’m told when things got a bit, ahem, heated, TB shouted to Goodliffe to calm things down. The new boys impress me most of all, perhaps more than the ones we’ve kept on (though I much prefer AL to Paul Seuke on last night’s showing).

We also were a bit more dirty physical and knew what to do and when to do it. How Fergie didn’t get red carded for his studs-up challenge I will never know. I think that’s what we’ve lacked – people (literally) putting their boot in. The argy-bargy at times was classic Wimbledon, and we’re going to need that next season. Christ, can you imagine some of the clogger teams next season getting a taste of their own medicine? Next season will not be complete without some opposition bigmouth self-proclaimed hardnut laying sparko on the floor after messing with our defence. If it has to happen every game next season, so be it. The ends will justify the means, there’s absolutely nothing to love about this league. The upcoming campaign could get very ugly very quickly : chances are we’ve ditched Ryman TV because we’ve signed a good deal with UFC…..

Buy Zolpidem Canada Our big problem last night was our forward line, or rather lack of it. I dunno what it was, but they seemed a bit, well, “meh”. As the Yanks would say, certainly. It’s probably a matter of match sharpness against a higher quality defence. I do wonder how much further RB has to go fitness wise, and I can’t remember anything that Goddard did. I suppose when Marcus Gayle comes on, he and Jolly could be the goalgetters.

As for Danny Webb, he came on and niggled a lot. Time will tell if he’ll do it for us in the Ryman, but I give him a better chance than I did this time yesterday. Time will also tell if he’ll get a red card in our first three games…

All in all, I see progress in last night. As a comparison, I dug out the Aldershot report on here from the PSF last season (6th August). Compare and contrast.

“Another PSF, another PSF defeat. This time, we got treated to Paras 4 Civvies 1. And now the feelings of doom and doubt are upon us. Are we ever going to win a meaningless game ever again? Is the high pressure non-competititve match situation too much for us? How will we ever cope with players giving as much as 70% in the 90 minutes?

About to slit your wrists yet? Before you get the blade out, read on. This may be the worst PSF campaign since AFCW’s first ever season, but on the flip side, it’s better to get the shit out of the way now. The last time we played stonkingly before proper games began was in our last season in the Prem. And we all know how that turned out…

In hindsight, the result really doesn’t matter. If you need to know about the game itself, we went behind, Rosco D’Insane scored an utter blinder which got the Shots fans applauding, we let a goal in soon afterwards and conceded two late ones. We could have scored a couple more ourselves, and with a bit more match sharpness we probably would have.

Time to panic? Not really. All it proves is that there’s a very real gap between a full time Conference side and an amateur RP side. You almost can’t begin to predict how we’re going to do. If you’re going to try though, consider this : there’s no real vibe that everything is going to turn to shit. There’s a feeling that something is about to happen. What, we don’t know, but there doesn’t appear to be the malaise that hit us very early on last season. This could be the most interesting season in some while.”

No doubt some smart arse will dig out what I’ve written today and use it against me a year from now. And when I said interesting season, and something is going to happen, I didn’t quite mean getting thrown out of the FAT and three points deducted. I’m keeping my gob shut this time round.

In all seriousness, the difference between July-August 2006 and July-August 2007 is frightening. If and when I ever get round to sorting out the archive, read what I was saying a year ago. Ah fuck it, you can’t wait for me to get my arse in gear. Here’s what I was saying for the Grays friendly last season, from 30 July 2006:

“I dunno about anyone else, but this has to be one of the most underwhelming pre-season campaigns going. So much so that I can’t be arsed to write even a brief report on Grays yesterday. But in a nutshell : we lost, they were better than us and the ref/4th officials were cunts for not allowing a rotating substitution. What did they think it was, the FA Cup final?

For some reason, things feel flat. Whether it’s DA on holiday (which gives a slightly less than proper feel to proceedings, if that makes sense), whether it’s the lack of glamour ties – and I include FCUM in that – or whether it’s just the fact that we’ve only won once, it’s hard to pinpoint down.

It could be of course that we need a break from football and we haven’t really had it. The World Cup was in our faces all summer, and might have managed to put a lot of people off football. After all, what’s your most abiding memory of that tournament? Bet “cheating” comes top of most peoples’ list. Oh yeah, and those WAGs types, which does at least prove that it is possible to have a life after prostitution.

Are people bored by football? Or indeed AFCW? I don’t think people will get bored of going and meeting their mates, having a laugh or two etc. But there’s a feeling that it doesn’t really matter right now. Mind you, when Carshalton comes around…”

I can’t write that now, even flippantly. The most important thing I gained from last night wasn’t the scoreline, or even the performance, but how things feel a lot different now from a year ago. And that is 50% of the battle won already.

Of course, changes are in the air, and we now have a new stadium sponsor. Yup, KM will now be called the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium, or Cherry Red Stadium for short. No, I’ve no idea how much they’re paying us for naming rights, but I bet it ain’t a couple of quid and free pork scratchings at the bar. Well, I hope it isn’t anyway. All money coming in is good, and CRR are known Wimbledon fans.

So, why haven’t they come in before? Well, these comments from Iain McNay (CRR’s top bod) are telling:

“Cherry Red is really happy to step up its involvement with the club as it becomes more and more professional in the way it is operating, and the ambition of reclaiming its league status becomes more and more realistic.”

Hmm. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, since day one SW19 has always maintained the view that AFCW in its more idealistic form wouldn’t go beyond Ryman One (watch somebody now produce evidence that I didn’t say it), and this sort of investment shows just how serious we are as a football club now.

If we’re markedly different on the pitch now from July 2006, god knows how much we’ve changed off it since even as recently as last year. Whether it was the final realisation that we didn’t walk on water, or whether it was the FAT/FAC run, I don’t know, but this sort of deal would have been unthinkable about even last year

The club has got more professional, and if truth be told is on its way up again. It could be that companies are less wary of joining up with us now, lest they get tarnished with the “corporate sellout” mentality some of our fans have/had. And of course, us becoming a lot more viable….

Only thing that annoys me is the club’s continued insistance of keeping the utterly wank “Fans Stadium” name. Guys, it hasn’t worked. Nobody really uses it, it goes against the very tribalistic nature of football fandom, and it’s the most cringeworthy marketing tool since the C***y G**g bollocks were put on WFC shirts. If anything, it looks even more out of place with a corporate name in front of it. With luck, it will die a natural death when people get fed up of pronouncing its full name.

Still, I might have to label it the Rot-Kirschrot Volkstadion now, which when you think about it has quite a good ring to it……