Suppose I ought to do a proper update this week after my “report” for the Salisbury game.
Anyway, Altrincham. The Northern League powerhouses of the 1970s. The rivals that we had but never actually met – seriously, for all the success that both WFC and Alty had in the era of disco, punk and general strikes, I don’t think we’ve ever met. We had one of those contrived meetings against Wigan back in the day, but tomorrow will be a first in more ways than one.
Including the very trip itself. This will be the first trip oop Norf for your editor since 2002, when I “enjoyed” Sheffield United at Bramhall Lane. Not the Midlands, which doesn’t really count as being the North anyway, and not the trip your editor made to Glasgow in 2003. A real, proper away trip oop Norf, with whippets and gravy on chips and unintelligible accents.
Except that Altrincham is supposed to be a bit poshe isn’t it? It’s to Manchester what Wimbledon is to London I guess, which means that they have guacamole instead of mushy peas for dinner. Not to mention that they depart the shower to have a widdle, unlike people from other parts of Manchester where they don’t even leave the shower for a dump.
Anyway, enough stereotyping. Alty are quite lucky to be in this division this season, bearing in mind they’ve managed to avoid relegation for the last three seasons due to the likes of Lewes and Weymouth’s off-field shenanigans.Â Still, they’re currently second and we’re not…..
One wonders if we’ll get any FCUM fans at the game tomorrow. They’re at Retford tomorrow, which I think is in Lincolnshire, so for once we might get to meet them on their own patch instead of them coming down to t’smoke. No idea how true this ever was, if it even applies today, but apparently there’s a little bit of animosity between Alty and FCUM, because it’s felt that the dissident Yernited fans should have put their money into Alty rather than set up FCUM.
Which is an attitude that forgets one vital thing – why should a Yernited fan care about Altrincham? No, I don’t mean that in a big-club-shitting-on-a-little-club way, what I’m referring to is the fact that Alty is as much their club as say Man Citeh or Stockport. As in, it’s not. After 28/5/02, AFCW was set up because it was our club – yes, we could have all gone to Gander Green Lane but it just wouldn’t have been our team. FCUM fans presumably think the same about their club too, which is something the average member of the non-league family will never entirely comprehend…
Anyway, I digress. Like us, Alty also had an 18 point deduction a while ago. Unlike us they had to lump it, although by all accounts they weren’t nearly so astute as we were in appealing it. When you couple this with the fact that we got into the league in 1977 and they didn’t, and we could face a rather interesting clash tomorrow.
Mind you, after last Tuesday, we are going up there with more confidence than this time last week. The difference seven days and two wins make. Suddenly, Danny Kedwell is the all-powerful target man, and today he’s kicking himself over not putting some dosh on himself (as an aside, the guy interviewing him was my old boss at Trinity Mirror Southern). People may raise eyebrows at that, but they’d be even more concerned if he’d put money on Jon Main.
And yes, that is a bit of a cheap shot at last season’s top scorer. I’m saving my money for the trip to Barrow in November, so I can’t afford more expensive ones. Seriously, Main hasn’t exactly set the place alight this season, which is why tomorrow is a vital one for him. If he continues to look like a stranded fish, the mutters will start to intensify about him. Especially as he’s already been superceded by the impressive Luke Moore. Of course, we all want Main to do well, christ we all want our blue/yellow shirted heroes to tear the place apart. Even the ubercunt that was Nick Roddis.
But in a way, that could be a good thing. We’ve got two strikers who are thankfully finding the net at the moment anyway, so Main isn’t really under so much pressure right now. If he does find his feet, then his goals will naturally be a godsend. But perhaps most tellingly, we’re concentrating on a handful of players and not the whole team.
While I don’t think we’ll finish as high as our current position, nobody is saying the squad is out of their depth. We’ve already seen a vast improvement since the rabbit-in-headlights first half of Luton, and we’re less than a month into the new season. Unsurprisingly, the ones who have settled right in are the ones with Conference experience (Pullen, BJ, Quiche, Moore and DK), but pleasingly people like Hussey are starting to look the part too.
We are starting to look a bit of a unit again. We will of course have blips, and we may well have one tomorrow. Maybe even the odd tonking or two. But already there’s a sense that maybe this time next year, with some pinpointed additions, this division could be there for the taking. If that is the case, it would certainly surprise a few people, though quite possibly not ourselves.
Now I’ve said all that, watch us lose 4-0 tomorrow. After all, TB has never won at Moss Lane…