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Not so Super Mare

I know it’s a bit late, but I had server problems and (more accurately) little desire to write about Palace 1 Seagulls 1. Gah, gah, and gah again. What was it I was saying about getting too complacent?

If truth be told, I’m glad that I gave myself an overnight pass on this. I’m not really sure about the sort of angle I wanted to take over this game. Part of me (a rather large part actually) thinks that this was a pile of horse shit. Our crisp, incisive passing went AWOL, our midfield looked as happy as a moose standing next to Sarah Palin and less said about JM’s metamorphis into Danny Webb the better. This was, in short, the worst performance of the season.

The other part of me isn’t calling us cunts just yet. We’re still top, we did hit the post and probably could/should have won it anyway. But even so, I feel a bit deflated and I know I’m not the only one. I know I’ll be accused of predicting it so much that it’ll eventually come true, but this kind of performance (if not result) has been coming a mile off. You know it, I know it, and I bet you our management knows it.

I was going to wax lyrical about how this had touches of last season about it. However, then I started reading what we were doing exactly last year….

“Originally, I wasn’t planning to do any sort of update for the Borehamwood pile of decomposing camel shite game, but after a round trip of 4.5 hours travelling and a “performance” that doesn’t suggest but confirm abject doom, I just have to put fingers to keyboard.

Make no mistake – we are fucked. And suddenly, my last report doesn’t seem so OTT, eh? Keeping players in for two consecutive games afterwards hasn’t worked. Making them watch the video of the Harrow game in an additional training session hasn’t worked either. Before the final whistle yesterday, I said to the guy next to me “that’s it, don’t expect to see some of these players again”. I’ll doubtlessly be proved wrong on that score, but it seems like TB has finally seen enough.

Wonder what he means by fringe players though? Shroot? Goddard? People like Beckford? Let’s face it, they couldn’t do any worse. Last night, we saw a collection of players only united by the colour of their shirts and the collapse in confidence to score. Even if Webb had buried that penalty, somehow BW would have just got a second. True, we ran about a lot more, and we did try a bit better after Saturday (not as though that was difficult), but this XI hasn’t got “it”. To paraphrase a famous quote by an ex-goalie, we’ve nothing here. No passion, no committment, no skill, nothing. Just shit.

Back to TB’s comments. He’s obviously waiting for RB to get fit so he can finally drop Jolly. I don’t know how long he’ll put up with Webb, but clearly Jolly will be the first to be dropped. If he gets this new guy in (and by naming him publicly it certainly sets out a message of intent) then Webb might be looking for another place as well. I don’t hate Webb, I don’t think anyone does, but if he drops out at AFCW that’s surely got to be it for him. He never lasts at any one place for long, and I think we’re starting to see why.

It’s quite blatant though that we’ve been badly let down. I can forgive a bad performance or two if we’re starting to come together. But BW showed that it won’t now. And probably not ever. If some of the underperformers are on nice juicy little contracts, bite the bullet and pay them off. Or at least scare the shit out of them – remove them from their comfort zone. It’s clear that they just don’t fancy the Ryman and we can do better.

And if it’s true that some of them are openly questioning TB’s competence, then they definitely have no place here. We all know about TB’s record at Aldershot and Hayes, but it’s common knowledge that he knew what our squad was like even before he applied for the AFCW job. I don’t think Brown is as clueless as some would like to believe. Fuck knows what they do with some managers I’ve seen who just yell abuse all the time……”

Suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so bad, does it? This by the way was written exactly on 5/9/07, and suddenly we’re concerned about being top by two clear points? Or that we’re just slipping a little bit after eight games sans défaite? I dunno, yesterday was a strange one and I don’t just mean the weather. I guess we should have seen the warning signs even before we set off. How many people were predicting an easy win? Doesn’t work like that, does it? Especially not in the BSS.

Will this result send us plummeting down the division, merely to scrap it out with the also-rans? Doubt it. But as the initial euphoria dies down, we’re now getting the games we thought we were going to have straight off. In fact, it’s been like this since the second half of the Basingstoke game. It was almost as though we’ve hit a mental stumbling block when it comes to that giant wooden frame with the stringy patterned sheet hanging around it. What is it we had on Tuesday – seventeen corners and 0 goals?

Which is why TB’s comments below are so damn interesting.

TB on Weston Super Mare – click here

What got me was this quote : “We’ve been winning games, which hides a multitude of sins”. So it’s not just me who thinks that we haven’t quite been the all-conquering outfit some think we are right now. One thing is certain – our current position is vulnerable and we need to improve further.

Will we get that new striker that he’s referring to? Funnily enough, we stand a better chance now than we did a few weeks back. Firstly, we have money – I expect a lot of these sides are running very tight on their budget now, and if the shit hits them they’ll release a load by Xmas. Secondly, even now we’re late enough into the season for players elsewhere to twig if they’re at the right club. A player may be a goodun for us but shit somewhere else.

Not only that, but being up the right end of the table should help us. We could be a Conference side next season (yes, even after WSM) and don’t doubt that wouldn’t persuade somebody suitable to pack their boots and hop on the train to Norbiton. Could we in fact end up with a Conf level player? And not somebody past his peak (ie JG) but a real decent one? This ain’t the Ryman.

That all said though, short of us getting a Luis Cumbers out on loan again, fuck knows where we’ll get that right type of player.

Anyway, while we sort that out…..

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Alan Inns.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Lackluster. Little fluency. JM’s loss of form. Inability to pass properly. Shooting full stop. Sense it was only ever going to be a draw. Their goal.

The referee’s a….: Can’t remember too much he did, and there wasn’t much gnashing of teeth afterwards about him. Mind you, says a lot when you have to mention how anonymous a ref is, as though it’s a rare occurance.

Them: Had a game plan, stuck to it well and could have come away with a victory. They certainly made us look ordinary in midfield. Liked their #9 as well, and perhaps TB could make a cheeky bid for him? Not particularly dirty either. I reckon part of our complacency yesterday came with the knowledge that WSM shouldn’t be in this division – that they were going to be an uber-crap side there to make up the numbers because of the last two seasons. Worth pointing out that they were a bunch of ex-pros…

Point to ponder: Seriously, it was strange full stop yesterday wasn’t it? Even doing WDON duties I sensed a distinct lack of buzz about. It wasn’t pre-season like but more of that expectation to win. Their goal certainly was a slap in the chops, and it was stunned silence for a while – how dare they score against us? Welcome to the BSS, everyone.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) “Sound of the Suburbs” played on the PA. Bizzarely enough, I put on a CD in my car going to the game and that very song came on. Funny how nearly 30 years after it was released it still sounds as apt as ever. (2) David Barnard turned up. Good to see he still recognises me. Not wearing a Russian mafia-style suit this time – maybe Chelski are having to cut costs now they’re not the Prem’s most bankrolled club? (3) Cold, wasn’t it? Not that I’m a fan of hot weather, but anyone dreaming of Indian summer days must be wanting their money back.

Anything else? As the sight of a WSM flag up the TE (why? I thought we had segregation?) was apparent to all, another thing we’re finding out about the BSS. With the exception of Bromley, I really didn’t expect that few amount of opposition fans. That was Ryman One level. OK, I know that WSM and others have to travel a lot further than divisions below us, and yesterday was shitty weather-wise, but have we over-estimated this division off-field? Are WSM really bigger than the likes of Horsham? I think that does explain why teams like FoF, Redbridge and now Slutton find it harder to bounce straight back up when they go down. And why the current CS table has a rather familiar look….

So, was it worth it? No

In a nutshell: Not so easy now, is it?