Typical. Absolutely bloody typical. A must-win game and as sure as Chelski get a dodgy goal at Stamford Bridge, it finishes Smash 0 Grab 1. Suddenly, all hopes of actually finishing top are extinguished, and the very real possibility of heartbreak in the playoffs yet again returns to its gut-churning worst.
I should shrug my shoulders and say “ah well, these things happen”. But this sucks. Actually, it more than sucks – it swallows, gargles and occasionally spits it out as well. I think it’s because we all know the stakes this season (although I will state here and now that not going up this season won’t kill us), and even at this relatively early stage results like this can mean a nice easy end of season or a further two fixtures (if you’re lucky) of bowel-clenching stomach churning tension that won’t make you sleep a wink. And that’s just getting tickets for the playoffs.
If I’m being honest though, I think I kind of expected it. Yes, I would have happily settled for a draw today. A win would have been better, of course, but I don’t think anyone really entertained getting 0 points today. It just won’t happen, right? Just like baby boomers never think they’re going to die, or Franchise fans never believing they’re educationally subnormal.
That’s what I think happened today. Last time out, we won 4-0, and yes, it was a good game. But I reckon we were too expecting of a repeat performance. We didn’t get it, and of course we know what happened. Dare I say complacent? To take it one step further, I do genuinely think we’ve been riding our luck in recent weeks. We got lucky in the second half against Coldseal because they were so shite. We got lucky against Northwood because they ran out of steam and we were able to go up a gear. Same with Hastings. Today, we rode our luck once too often, and now we’re however many points behind the leaders.
By “ride our luck”, I mean not doing the things that got us the 4-0 win in the first place. Today we just couldn’t cross to save our lives, I can’t really recall any clear-cut chances nor were we likely to get any. Put it this way – I stood behind TB in the first half, and one of his comments was “Get your arse in gear”. Needless to say, I think our poop tunnels were a bit too cold for any movement…
OK, Goodliffe hit the post right at the end, and you could pass it off as one of those days. But if we’re serious about getting promotion (be it automatically or via the playoffs) we can’t have many more “one of those days”. What have we done this season? We’ve lost to Chelmsford, we’ve drawn against Staines, two of the top teams who we should be getting wins off. OK, Staines was in that tricky early season spell we had, but today should have been a draw – even when we were playing badly.
Was today a catastrophe? No, but life just got that little bit harder at 4.50pm. We are Wimbledon after all, and we don’t do things the easy way. Would be nice if we did though.
If there is one good bit to come out from today, it’s this. When the players were warming down, they looked as fucked off as we were, certainly JG had his hands behind his head in a “fuck, we’ve blown it today” manner. Well, next week we’re down at Horsham. They beat us in the FAC, and their minds will be on their trip to South Wales (and can you imagine the Swansea fans up against the Lardy Boys?). It’s perfectly winnable, and certainly now becomes more must-winnable than even today was. Our players have a perfect opportunity to bounce back next Saturday in deepest Sussex. If they’re serious about going up this year, they have a perfect chance next week to show it.
Last time I said I was going to kick the nearest dog, I got in major shit for it. This time, I’m off to kick the nearest Franchise fan. It might take me a while to find one, so read on…
Plus points: Knowing we can play better.
Minus points: We lost. To probably our biggest challengers for the title. Playing shit. Worst game for a while, and at exactly the wrong time.
The referee’s a……..: Dildo. Actually, perhaps a butt plug would be more accurate, on the basis that after a couple of minutes they both smell of shit.
Them: Bit, ahem, physical. Had a point to prove to us today, and unfortunately they proved it. I think they’re a…….. oh, fuck that. Let’s not be churlish here and instead give hearty congratulations to Chelmsford on winning the league today. It must be a record, winning the title of your division even before Xmas. No wonder their fans were celebrating like they did at the end, it was after all something we never could do even in the CCL days. Fair play to them. I understand that they’re away at Heybridge Swifts on Boxing Day, but no doubt they’ll award the trophy at their next home game a couple of days later, ironically against Billy Rickay. If that doesn’t bring a capacity gate then nothing will.
Question is, what now for them? They’re out of the FAC and FAT, they’ve now won the league, what’s their motivation? I would hope they’re professional enough and beat Staines/Horsham/Hendon like they did us today. And when we play them at their place in mid-March? Well, we did stuff them 3-0 there last time, and we must be careful they get bored after yet another Saturday with no need to win…….
Point to ponder: Seems like Fergie was his usual ineffective self again, and inbetween Webb going off and MG coming on, we offered practically nothing up front. Poor Main and DeB can’t do it on their own. So how long will we be seeing Fergie about in a blue-with-yellow-birdshit-splodges shirt? When we signed him, none of us could believe why Woking let him go. Now? Well, he runs a lot, and he, er, well, he runs a lot. And he “gets” the club, apparently, which is all well and good. But really, apart from running (which is what he’s very good at doing, in case you don’t know) what else can he do? At least people are now noticing how effective the not-quite-so-much-maligned-but-the-jury-is-still-out Webb is, especially when he came off today. People are reckoning Jolly will be the first one on his way, but why do I get the feeling that TB isn’t a fan of the Jock…?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Apparently, some German punk was played over the PA today. If so, can somebody tell me when? I think I might have had a little to do with it…. (2) Radio 2/5 theme tune played as well. Hope the PRS/ITV/BBC don’t get wind of this and levy a copyright breach on AFCW. That might be harder to get Jim Sturman to win……. (3) Guy in Werder Bremen scarf (complete with German-style AFCW scarf around wrist). Assuming he was from the Fatherland, I hope he didn’t get offended at my choice of music. (4) 3124 there. If my research is accurate, that’s the fourth biggest turnout since Ryman One days. Barring a home playoff/FAT semi final, that won’t be beaten this season. Is that a cause for celebration or a cause for concern?
Anything else? Things could be worse I suppose. While thinking of something to write for this section, I was listening to a couple of Geordies bemoaning about yet another failure at Newcastle. I know that the size, scale etc of the Barcodes compared to us is practically incalculable, but this point still stand – especially after today. Today, AFCW lost a game, and it feels like the end of the world for a little while. But we know that we can pick ourselves up, and we have that vibrancy that will eventually take us up. May not be this season, but it will happen. We have prospects, and legitimate ones as well
Now, just think if we were a club with the same problems as a Newcastle (or a Villa or somebody like that). Just imagine pouring loads of money into an outfit and you just stumble from one crisis to the next. How would we cope if we kept bringing in managers all the time, only for them to get ousted after about a year. Continue that throughout the whole club (not just team), and you do wonder how we’d cope if we were ever like that. Has that ever happened to a club called Wimbledon? I don’t mean the MK shit or stuff like that, I mean proper genuine inertia. We’ve always done something. No matter how much today was a pisser, we are capable of moving onto to that next stage. Plenty of other clubs can’t…..
So, was it worth it? Yes, if you support Chelmsford. They won the league today after all.
In a nutshell: Gah.