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Merry Xmas

There’s something I (and judging by a couple of comments I encountered yesterday, others) don’t like about Christmas. Xmas Eve is all right, but Xmas Day if you don’t have kids is either a lesson in monotomy or the time when Murphy makes his rather unwelcome law count more than ever.

But Boxing Day and the week between this and NYD seems to be the worst. The build up has gone, the decorations suddenly look out of place, the expensive gifts at Xmas are either earmarked for return whence they came, or discarded, and the whole period seems dead and a cultural void, with the only alternative a heavy dose of consumerised gluttony. Bit like living the entire year in Milton Keynes.

Which might explain why Foes of Franchise 2 Friends of Franchise 0 sucked. By all accounts, the dresssing room was the quietest it’s ever been after a win. Remember what I said after Ramsgutter below? If you can’t be arsed to find it, I’ll repeat it:

I can’t help feeling we’ll scrape through FoF on Boxing Day – we’ll either go the inevitable goal down or we’ll go 2-0 up after 20 minutes, fail to add the third, concede during the second half and hang on yet again.

Nearly right, wasn’t I? Be honest, had FoF not been so totally inept bar some pretty passing, this could have been a tad embarrassing. Well, in all likelyhood it wouldn’t as we did show glimpses of what we could do when we were arsed. But the whole experience was just so lackluster. Did our collective hangover kick in at 3.08pm, after Main slotted home?

You do wonder if we’re going through a rocky patch that will define our season. The thing is, bar Chelmsford we haven’t been playing well yet still picking up points. We should have lost against Gutter but could have actually won it in injury time. We could have lost against FoF if they weren’t totally crap. We’ve got Staines and Hendon next, and to be honest I’m fearing the worse.

Mind you, so does TB by the looks of it. If you read what he said after the game, that’s the kind of thing you normally come out with after a defeat. At times it does seem that the mentality of the last couple of years is still there, namely we scrape by when we shouldn’t and just treat it as three-points-won-ah-never-mind-we-just-got-it-when-do-we-go-up?

I bet the players didn’t expect to have to do an extra training session as a “reward” for a 2-0 win on Boxing Day. But then, if you’re genuine about promotion you have to set your standards a lot higher than just doing the bare minimum. Yes, I know teams always try harder against us, but that’s an argument that’s starting to wear quite thin now.

It’s quite ironic really that in ye olden days the Xmas period was the time of year when we kicked into life. Many a relegation scrap (under OGEM, lest we forget) was averted simply because we got a few decent wins over the yuletide period. Right now, we’re gaining points yet seemed to have regressed playing wise. Is that a good thing or not? Guess we’ll find out after Hendon on NYD.

While you’re finishing off your stuffed bird, here’s….

Plus points: We won. Suppose quite comfortable really. Were likely to go up a gear if the mood took us.

Minus points: Shit game. MG going off injured. Looking less effective when Jolly came on.

The referee’s a……: Christ, he was in a good mood wasn’t he? What do you think his wife gave him for Xmas? The clap?

Them: A bit better and they would have beaten us. Though I think that was down to how we played rather than them. Not too bad a turnout from them, really, although I was surprised they dropped the segregation with that amount of away fans there. What this all merely confirms of course is that judging by how current and ex-CS sides fare against us, just how much more difficult getting into the CS is proving to be rather than how well we’d likely to do once up there.

Point to ponder: When was the last time a Boxing Day game didn’t suck? Chelski during the mid-90s? Normally, they’re quite flat affairs, no matter the time of day. I think it’s little things like nabbing a saveloy avec pomme frittes for a Boxing Day lunch that does it. Not that I’m suggesting we should scrap them full stop, they certainly bring in the crowds, and my first ever away game was on St Stephen’s. 22 years ago at Palace, if you must know. Back then, I thought Selhurst was a dump, looked even worse in the rain, and thought their fans were typical illiterate Croydon oiks and their team were shit. Not like now, of course.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Phillo returned for a guest slot on the PA, which felt a bit of a flashback to seasons past. Bit like our play. (2) Speaking of flashbacks, us singing anti-Chelski/Palace songs towards the end, when we knew even AFCW couldn’t throw this away. (3) The amount of family and one-game-a-year brigade there yesterday. Why do we always give them a pile of cock in return for their loyalty?

Anything else? Nothing really that doesn’t repeat anything I’ve said. One thing I will say – at least Jon Main proved exactly why we paid £30m for him.

So, was it worth it? Well, at least it finished in time for Glentoran against Linfield on Sky.

In a nutshell: Xmas holidays are over…