Is it me or has this close season gone quite quickly? It only seemed like yesterday when we were just getting over the playoffs. Now, we’re in the week when the fixtures are released, pre-season training has started and even the Blue Square boards have gone up around KM.
A few things to do in the meantime. Firstly, in case you haven’t noticed on the front page, I’m in the process of selling a load of WFC programmes (plus programmes of other clubs) as SW19 Towers is getting more messed up than usual. Click here to read what I’ve got. Hopefully the whole thing is self-explanatory, I just want to get shot of them with hopefully a few quid in my pocket so I can continue to do this site 😉 Also, if you know people who trade them, or anyone else who will be interested who isn’t an AFCW fan (you may have a Chelski mate for example), feel free to contact me. I do however refuse to sell to Franchise fans.
Actually, it’s quite interesting looking at who we were playing about 10 years ago. In 1998/99, we were about to embark on playing the likes of Spurz, Liverpool, t’Leeds, Newk etc etc, and back then there was a kind of resignation that these sort of games would suck. Selhurst would be over-run with away fans, we’d feel like the away team (which we were for about 14 years, lest we forget), and the foreign wholesaling of the Prem was just starting to bite, causing a real gap between those who could afford to pay shitloads each week and those who couldn’t. This all said, if you told any of us that a decade later we’d be playing Bath City, Hayes and Yeading and Weston Super Mare in competitive fixtures, we’d be laughing too much to answer.
And if you’d told us afterwards that we’d be looking forward to playing them even more than the likes of Spurz, we’d probably broken a limb in answering.
Speaking of damaging body parts, some of the money I’m raising from the programme sales will go towards a new jaw. Why? Because it needs major reconstructive surgery on hitting the floor at a great rate of knots, after finding out that Danny Webb has gone to Chelmsford. Yes, you are reading that right. Of all the players you wouldn’t expect to have even had a club next season, to see him work his way to deepest Essex is a bit gobsmacking.
OK, the guy tried hard for us (though with the amount of money he was apparently on, he should been trying), and he was starting to become a bit of a cult hero towards the end of last season, but he was Leaburn-esque. Somehow, we were relying on him to just once, finally show why he should be wearing football boots. The memory of him that defines his tenure with us, for me anyway, was away at Boreham Wood last season. It was early on in the campaign, and we’d got a penalty after playing shit. Webb went up to take it and promptly weakly and painfully “shot” it at the keeper. His body language said it all, and come to think of it so did ours. Don’t think he (or we) ever recovered from that. Had he scored it, he probably would have been an AFCW player today.
Might be worth keeping a close ear out for comments about him. “He’s a good player”, “He’s good in the air”, “He’s got that physical presence, just what we need”, and the classic “He just needs to be in the right team with the right manager”. Sounds familiar? Rewind close to a year ago and that’s exactly what we were saying. Along with a “He must be quite good, he played Champions League football just recently”. How many clubs has he had in the last few seasons? There’s your warning signs right there.
I remember TB signing him on the basis that the Yeovil boss at the time saying that Webb was the second best finisher at the club. Sadly, they only had one striker at the time. But also, he did well for Woking in one game, and at the time there was a slight whiff of panic over needing a target man…… Still, all this said, you just know he’s going to score a hat-trick against us now. Think of Reggie Savage with attitude.
Enough of players past, let’s look to players of the future. Few more signings since my last update – expect to have to learn to spell Belal Aiteouakrim’s name properly, along with Elliott Godfrey and youngsters Steve Gilbert and Kennedy Adjei. I might have missed somebody out, sure somebody will gleefully point out who anyway 😉 Suddenly, the squad is starting to take shape quite nicely. There’s no real pressure this season to absolutely, positively go up. OK, there’s some comments about us aiming for the playoffs, though one wonders if there’s a degree of lip service in that. But what’s telling to me is that us signing young players is almost treated as a big a deal as the more senior ones.
Of course, the way we’re approaching this upcoming season can go wrong. We could struggle, although the vibes around suggest we won’t. But here’s a thought for you : predictions of playoffs have only come about in the last week or two. Before then, cautious optimism but nothing more. I wonder if this is to do with the squad settling in, in the manner it has? What I mean is, last season we had to build up from scratch with TB not really knowing how the RP’s land lied. This year, we’ve got a game plan from the offset, we’re signing players that have actually played in this division the season before (no Conf to RP jumps here this season) and a lot less pressure full stop. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we performed this season like we were supposed to last season?
Anyway, we’re still a good five weeks away from finding that out properly, but in the meantime it’s only Saturday week until it all starts again at Croydon Athletic. And summer is most definitely over when the fixtures come out. Me, I’m going for Braintree away first game of the season, with Basingstoke away the following midweek contest. First game at KM will be Hayes and Yeading, followed by Bishop’s Storford. We’ll play Team Bath away in September and Bath City in March. Newport will be in November and WSM in April. Webb will score his hat-trick against us in late October, while we’ll get to go Beaver stuffing on Boxing Day and NYD. Followed by the glorious end of season anti-climax celebrations at home to Maidenhead United.
And if any of that comes true, I may let you burn me