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Well, that was quite nice in the end. OK, it finished Druids 0 Grand Wizards 0 but should I be walking away this happy after a PSF? Let alone one we didn’t win?

To answer that, I’ll quote a well known DA-detractor from last season at the end of today’s game. “I enjoyed that, it was watching football”. And he said it with a genuine smile as well. I won’t say what he thinks of Sam Hatton, I don’t think his missus would be too impressed. If that doesn’t answer your question, nothing will.

For those who weren’t there, when we got going a bit more in the second half, we were running at defenders, getting to bylines, crossing them in. We were putting the effort in, we were passing quite nicely, finding spaces to (badly) shoot. And we looked more like a team rather than a collection of individuals. In short, a massive contrast to the dying days of last season.

Everyone is raving about Sam Hatton right now, and they’re more than justified. For the most part, the new boys are settling in nicely (and I have to admit a secret liking for Daniel Webb). Beckford looks good as well. Still think Andy Little is our most important player, and I’d put him ahead of Paul Seuke any day. Just a bit unsure about Richard Butler though – if he gets fit he’ll be a massive asset. The trouble is, that’s a bit like saying if Joe Sheerin gets fit he’ll be a massive asset. Can’t help thinking the guy is slightly running out of time. I hope he isn’t but nobody is irreplacable..

As for Marcus Gayle, well….

As usual, there’s a “but” in all this, and it’s a relatively sized one. Ryman teams won’t nearly be so accomodating as today was. They’ll harry us down, they’ll do the occasional physical approach, and in short attempt to bring us down to their level. I just wait to see if we can adapt to the Ryman way of doing things. I expect it to be more like Woking rather than Salisbury next season.

Remember the old WFC days when part of the philosophy was to win the battle to play football after 20 minutes? I think we need that most of all. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed today. But I hope we’re not lulled into any false sense of security. Ramsgutter will (literally) go for our throats, and we need to be prepared for that.

If we can cope with the rough stuff early on, and impose our game, there could be a few massacres next season, judging on what I saw today, and what people told me T&M was like. William Gigantic Gonads this might be, but there were spells today that would blow away virtually every other team in the Ryman. Remember the Bromley away (league) and Tonbridge game away last season? Think that and you’ve got it. But this is only pre-season friendly stuff, the real test starts on the 18th.

Can we do it? Yes. Will we do it? Wait and see. But by fuck I want to rip this league’s arsehole apart next season.


Plus points: Repeat third paragraph above.

Minus points: We didn’t score.

The referee’s a…….: It’s pre-season. I must control what I think of referees a bit more. Anyway….. he gave too many decisions for them. There, I expressed that calmly and with an element of control and dignity. The linesman on the other hand was a complete [CENSORED]. The blind [CENSORED] could stick his flag [CENSORED] question his parentage [CENSORED] refereeing licence from an Al-Qaeda operative in Stoke Newington [CENSORED] Peter Winkelmann and vaseline [CENSORED] goats.

Them: Think I’ll put Salisbury in “clubs I like”, even if it is a bit in the middle of nowhere. Methinks our top brass is picking the brains of their top brass as to how to progress as a club both on and off the field. Kudos for a decent price to get in (£6), and as a result people were more willing to buy food and raffle tickets. QED. As for their team, if I was a Salisbury fan I’d be a bit worried that a not-quite-first-choice eleven 2 divisions lower were more likely to win against my first team…

Point to ponder: Something grabbed me about the hold TB has on the players. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try. After Woking, he condemned the, ahem, over-exhuberant way some of our players went about the game. Today, bar the odd little niggle we were a lot more disciplined. And probably played better because of it. Can you remember any time recently (not just us) when a team actually follows what the manager wants? Actually, it was quite interesting watching TB walk around debriefing the players after the game………

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Their over-excitable PA bloke, who tried to whip up a frenzy (though obviously one that could never ever match one in Buckinghamshire) amongst the home fans. Apparently, according to an SW19 reader, the same bloke even thought we were playing in yellow and blue. Go figure. Mind you, he did wish us all the best and called us the proper Wimbledon, so he deserves a big kiss for that alone. (2) The sight of what looked like animal hooves around the sandy perimiter of the ground. No, I don’t want to know why either, although a ground advert for Farmer Giles’ Farmstead raises more than the odd suspicion. (3) At least I know where Stonehenge is now. I was seriously hoping the game would get mysteriously called off so I could have a quick look at it. Never been there before, you see, and I am a cultural desert.

Anything else? Yeah. Marcus Gayle. This was the first time I’ve seen him in our shirt for a good 7-8 years, and I did have to double-take when I saw him warming up today. I can’t explain it, even though he wasn’t always my favourite at WFC (especially towards his latter days with us). It was a case of “wow, yeah”. Do you understand what I mean? Anyway, I decided to stay for a swift diet Coke afterwards, and who was in there being coerced into signing the Norwegian Dons flag? You guessed it. The guy has the same tone as a racehorse, and best of all he really didn’t appear to resent mixing with us plebs. He certainly didn’t look out of place walking with the rest of the squad onto the coach afterwards. Just imagine the reaction if he scores a headed goal at the Tempest End next season…

So was it worth it? Yes. Even if it was a pre-season friendly.

In a nutshell: More of the same over the next 9-10 months, please.