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Salisbury Hill

First things first, page 137 of the new FourFourTwo (September edition) might be worth reading…

Secondly, the last time I was at KM for a game, I was shitting myself over yet another likely gubbing in the playoff semi finals. I remember walking out that day somehow feeling worse because we’d won rather than we’d lost, for obvious reasons. Nobody will forget that playoff week, least of all underpant suppliers.

So, a good three months later and no bowel churning, ozone layer destroying nervous parps needed. Instead, we got Merton Abbey 1 Stonehenge 2. Another PSF, another defeat, although there’s certainly promise showing. Does the result matter? Nope, although it would have been nice and morale-boosting to say we got at least a draw. Should we shit ourselves over the upcoming season? Not really. We certainly didn’t look out of our depth, and you get the feeling with us that it can be tuned into a pretty decent outfit. In fact, before their second goal we really looked like a team that can murder a few outfits next season.

And yet, and yet……..

We have two problems that clearly won’t be solved by Newport. Firstly, our defence at times leaks more than the Ministry of Defence. It was rather depressing that the kind of goal we let in against Staines was our downfall today. It’s as though nothing has been learnt at all in three months, and with at least two new centre backs as well. Last report I did, I mentioned how we have shot ourselves in the foot over the pre-seasons this year. We need another one, probably two against the level of Salisbury, because they highlighted deficiencies that people like Ks, Sutton and Walton Casuals won’t. Next week, we’re committed to playing Ks, but I can’t help thinking this Wednesday we should play a Woking rather than a Sutton.

Not saying we shouldn’t have a fixture down at GGL but we’ll be playing teams nearer in quality to Salisbury and Woking rather than Sutton almost weekly, and dropping points while we iron out deficiencies ain’t going to go down well. After today, we have one Saturday game left to ensure we’re ready for Newport…..

Secondly, and another nod to last season – without Main, we’ve got nothing up front. And it just proves how much of a bind it was that we couldn’t keep Nic McDonnel. Last night at Meet The Manager, SC was really working hard on the phone to get somebody in, and up popped Jason Norville. Or was it Duncan Norville? Anyway, maybe we should have seen the warning signs when Cash joked “if he turns up tomorrow”. Well, he turned up all right, but sadly in body and not in spirit.

One reason I never criticise managers as much as others is because their job at times is impossible, and I didn’t half feel sorry for Cash today. You put all that work in to get somebody and they turn up and they stink the joint out. I don’t know whether he had an attitude problem, unfit, or whether he was just shit, but I think I would have rather preferred the triallists we had at Met Police.

So until Newport, I hope JM is wrapped in cotton wool, given an armed guard wherever he goes and is banned from doing anything remotely dangerous. Because I don’t fancy our chances of getting anything if he’s crocked. We can’t rely on Chris Sullivan to immediately be 100% and slot in.

That all said, I quite enjoyed today. It certainly went quickly, which can’t be said for all PSFs. Even now, there’s still a sense that we’re not really 100% tuned in as of yet, but by fuck did we go in strongly at times. True, I wish we didn’t for friendlies, but at least it shows the attitude and will to win is there even at this early stage. I think we’re not a bad side, despite the results. During periods of the second half we looked like a team, and methinks people like Alan Inns and Tom Davis will be heroes next season.

Suppose really we’re waiting for Newport away to get going. And I don’t just mean the supporters either…

Plus points: Committed. Some good stuff at times. Kennedy. Alan Inns putting himself about a lot. Tom Davis. Jon Main’s goal.

Minus points: Shit at defending corners. Nothing up front without Jon Main. Duncan Norville. Convinced Tony Finn has compromising photos of various AFCW employees.

The referee’s a…..: Could have booked their player who went in hard on Tom Davis. Failed to spot a handball and also refused to punish their defender’s clearance on Alan Inns’ head whilst in the penalty box. At least it proves the referees are now ready for the new season.

Them: Apparently, they’ve been together two years as a professional outfit, and it showed. They had that extra know-how and “professionalism” that being full time seems to bring. Think they were better today than last time we played them, and should have probably been 3-1 up at half time. Interestingly enough, Salisbury are one of those clubs we look at and I believe we pick their brains on how to do things. When we mention going full time, we always think it’ll be in the Conf. Yet they did that in the very division we’re in now – and I think they don’t have our resources. Christ, we kept saying last night how big a setup we are. Perhaps going full time may happen quicker than you think…..

Point to ponder: What is it about ex-Barnet players with us? First Grazioli, now Duncan Norville. Come on, the journey on the Northern line isn’t that bad.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) How nice does the Blue Square sign with “AFC Wimbledon” outside look? And the BS hoardings behind each goal? Wonder what Ks have to do when they play their league fixtures re: Ryman boards? Bearing in mind that after the playoff final, some Ryman branded stuff got, er, caught up in the exhuberance… (2) Fair play to the Main Stand builders, they did a good job with the roof extension. Looked almost as though they hadn’t done anything at all, and just put up scaffolding to look busy. (3) Sight of Tintin Haydon lying flat on his back at half time looking like he was getting shagged by a worm.

Anything else? Yup – the new shirts. I got to see them myself in the flesh (or should that be cloth?) for the first time last night, and also had another butchers today. The away shirt is quite nice as it goes – think there’s too much blue in it myself, but I can see the attraction. At least it looks reasonably stylish. The home shirt on the other hand…….

Seriously, there’s something not quite right about it. I was trying to rack my brains why I thought it was shit, and I’ve worked out why now : it’s neither one thing nor the other. It’s not a plain shirt yet it’s not a Shrewsbury Town striped effort either. We’ve never had striped shirts ever, and instead it makes us look like we’re wearing a sash. Just hope the dye used in the yellow doesn’t turn orange, otherwise our games will start looking like Drumcree.

Either way though, I don’t think the home shirt has the “wow” factor. No doubt it will sell loads, and people do seem to buy anything with AFCW stamped on it, but it just looks, well, wrong. Methinks there’s a case for getting a proper designer in for future choices, I’m sure we have a couple in our ranks. Also, if ever a justification for the kit suppliers to supply proper samples before voting on it, this is it. Don’t think the home effort would have won if that was the case. Still, just be thankful it wasn’t the pink kit, the choice of the colour blind everywhere…..

So, was it worth it? We’ll see.

In a nutshell: Much done, much to do.