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Debenham sale

Firstly, apologies for the “hack” problems of the last couple of days – the forum wasn’t actually specifically targeted but fell victim to some rather lousy housekeeping on the part of the host server. No damage done, except to my blood pressure when I saw the badly written hacking page.

Secondly, there was nothing lousy about Debenham 1 Lidl 5. While we’ve happily left the CCL level long behind, it’s nice once in a while to visit these sort of places to remind ourselves of just how far we’ve come already. Which is a helluva long way, when you analyse it. There was certainly some CCLish giddyness in Debenham : after all, by their own admission it was their cup final.

Actually, it’s a cup cliche, but it really was their cup final. I think it’s when I drove into the village and saw some yellow/black balloons with “10 games until Wembley” that they meant it. Not to mention the Diss Express’ special souvenir edition and BBC Radio Suffolk turning up. If they wanted to make it even more of a cup final, they needed a marching band, a local dignitary greeting the teams on the pitch and, for those of us with long memories, their version of Celebrity Bar. Sadly Tarby and Gloria Hunniford were otherwise engaged, although I did see the local vicar walking about afterwards…

OK, enough patronising comments. As performances go, this was a mixture of relief and job-done combined with just a hint of frustration. Relief because there were a couple of people beforehand genuinely worried about a major upset. Job-done because it was, er, job done. Seriously, winning 5-1 away is no mean feat no matter what the opposition. And I have to say, some of Fergie’s runs in the second half were pretty devastating. And frustration because we hit the post a couple of times and even now we still lack that required bit of sharpness up front.

I’m still convinced we’re as likely to score twice in a game as Fernando Alonso accepting a defeat without sulking. It’s a bit hard to describe the first half without using the f-word. No, not that one, although it was expressed a couple of times when whoever it was blasted over from six yards out. I believe TB himself was alleged to have said “you have to scrap out a win at places likes this” to a fan apparently expecting Brazilian football. And I don’t mean a Gremio v Vitoria fixture either.

This all said, once we got the first goal we won it. And yes, I know that Debenham might have had a penalty 30 seconds before, but we would have won 5-2 instead of 5-1. Besides, it was one of my favourite sorts of goal – dodgy decision up the other end, breakaway and netting yourself 30 seconds later (though my absolutely perfect goal is for it to be the winning goal away from home in a very important match, scored by a guy who should have been blatantly sent off moments before). DLC could have felt aggrieved, but even we were bound to score eventually..

Needless to say, when Finn netted about 18 seconds after the restart, that really was that. Wasn’t it something like 3-0 in 5 minutes? Doesn’t matter if it wasn’t, what does matter is that we showed some confidence again – it was genuinely enjoyable to watch at times. Of course, TB now has to figure out why we can’t do the same in the RP, but then that’s what he’s getting paid for….

Couple of mentions to a couple of players. Webb was described as a poor man’s Shane Smeltz yesterday. Bit cruel, but you just can’t help thinking it ain’t going to happen for him. Perhaps if he played in a different position (ie one where he isn’t expected to score goals) he might get a decent run in the side? I’m sure I remember seeing Mark Beard play for Millwall, although I can’t remember off the top of my head whether I saw him in the same side as Mark Kennedy and Ben Thatcher. Good start for us, as he managed to get booked for tackling a bit too hard. Heroes are made of those sort of incidents.

And I think I know who Seb Kneißl reminds me off – Paul Miller. Hopefully, it’ll be the Paul Miller who scored a hat-trick against Peter “Wifebeater” Shilton and who whipped Aston Villa when they were chasing the title with a fantastic solo goal. Time will indeed tell.

Anyway, while all that’s getting digested, here’s……..

Plus points: Comfortable second half. Increased confidence. Fergie’s running. Finally knowing where the net it.

Minus points: Conceding in the last minute. Rusty up front in first half.

The referee’s a………..: Fortunately for him this wasn’t the actual FA Cup final, because the TV replays would have slaughtered him for penalties missed. Be honest, that was a bit of a sympathy penalty for them at the end, even though he’ll deny it. As somebody near me said, that decision wouldn’t have been given if it was 0-0.

Them: Add DLC to the Clubs We Like category. Nice hosts, didn’t try and take the piss with our wallets (OK, £3 to £7 entrance fee is a jump but I cannot find one person who begrudged it). Bit in the middle of nowhere though, and if we ever play Forest Green Rovers away you’ll have flashbacks to yesterday. Shame about a couple of local chavs at the end though, hope the local coppers sort them out.

What has always got me is that teams like Debenham are far more organised – and nicer with it – with dealing with us than some Ryman Prem places we could all name. Yesterday, DLC got Ipswich stewards in, and bar the six fingered cretin at the end the game passed off without incident. This in a venue that they themselves would admit to being a field with a barrier around it, and so in theory should be ripe for chaos. How come they can carry it off with precious little incident and yet certain teams in our division can’t? If I’m being honest, they should look at how Debenham coped with the doubling of their village’s population for one afternoon and feel very very ashamed and more than a little embarrassed. Though somehow, I don’t think they would….

Point to ponder: Don’t these sort of games sum up what our problem is in getting promoted from the RP? I’ll explain. During the CCL/R1 and yesterday, we had a little bit of a scrap in the first half, then they tired and we went up that gear. In the RP, other teams match us (fitness wise) for 90+ minutes and we find it a lot harder. The point is here, we still seem incapable now of winning a game until the opposition are knackered – it’s a problem I think we’ve suffered from since day one, and it caught up with us a long time ago. In effect, we have precious little killer instinct when we’re not playing the minnows. And until we do, we’ll be in Turdeyville for a while yet….

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Daniel Webb scoring. OK, that’s again cruel, but it’s more about his goal celebration. Basically, he went up to one of our fans and asked if it was disallowed. When he found out it wasn’t, he went up to said supporter and shook his hand. Funny, although I don’t quite know why. (2) A pub in Debenham has a direct pipeline to the local cider brewery, meaning in theory you couldn’t drink it dry. Rumours that some of our fans ran that notion very close are as yet unconfirmed. (3) The wedding reception next door. Wonder if any of our lot crashed it?

Anything else? Yeah. Had a flash of nostalgia yesterday evening, as I saw the signs for Portman Road. Was it really less than ten years ago we would have gone to Ipswich Town as the Premiership favourites? OK, the guy proved himself to be a complete cunt in the end, but Vinny Jones’ re-debut there in the 90s still stands out as one of the most memorable away days from that decade – that day we sold out our entire allocation and apparently made more noise than Liverpool.

You don’t realise just how sizeable teams like Ipswich are until you walk around the local Tescos with people in replica shirts on – and on a day with no home game to boot. Maybe WFC really did punch above its weight for all them years – either that or so much was thrown away for a property deal. Mind you, I can’t say I’d like to rush back to Suffolk, especially seeing the locals. At least the people you see at Lidl in Croydon have the standard amount of fingers….

So, was it worth it? Guess so.

In a nutshell: Wouldn’t it be nice to draw Sutton?