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Auld Lang Shite

So, then. Five league games without conceeding a goal. 13 goals scored. Credible draw at Stevenage on Monday. Confidence running throughout the team. Beating our opponents 5-0 a week earlier. Manager of the Month award for Terry Brown. Player of the month for Seb “Not Terry’s Son” Brown.

There was only going to be one outcome yesterday, wasn’t there?

The worst thing about Handy 1 Useless 0 wasn’t so much the predictability, but the way we went about losing.  I’m trying to think of every adjective, every metaphor and simile that I’ve ever read, and maybe throw in the odd noun or two. But if I was to pick up a dictionary right now and look up the word “turd”, it would have a picture of our second half performance.

I don’t know whether it was the fact that everything was going too well for us, or whether it was post-NYE hangover, but right now I want my £12 back.

When we lost to York, at least we were on a poor run of form and the excuse was that we were short on confidence. This on the other hand was an insult of a performance. In the first half, there were shades of the Tamworths and the Barrows that we’ve had. But in those situations, we did at least fight back. This time, we didn’t even have the courtesy to remotely give it a shot after they scored.

Results and “performances” like this bring out the worst kind of bi-polar of the average football fan : suddenly, everyone is shit and should be sent towards the nearest glue factory. While that’s not the case – and we can rectify this shite come Tuesday – it does put those who maybe won’t be here next season under more pressure.

Both Taylor and Hatton failed to pick up their man for their goal, and both were put on SW19’s “Maybe?” list from the last report. While Hatton did put in a couple of good balls for nobody to pick up on, LT certainly doesn’t feel like he’s stepped up to the plate enough. Perhaps I’m being unfair over this, but anyone can have a good game when the team is playing well. It’s the bad games where the real talent shines through.

That said though, nobody really had a good game yesterday. Even the ever-reliable Brett Johnson wasn’t quite so reliable, and I think Will Hendry wins the award for most uninspiring debut this season. Tuesday will tell whether yesterday was just a painful blip or confirm a startling conclusion I came up with yesterday. For what that conclusion is, you’ll have to read on…

Plus points: This section intentionally left blank.

Minus points: Couldn’t even go home at 4.45pm.

The referee’s a…: Well, he wasn’t giving us much, put it that way. But then, it’s easy to blame the ref for your own shortcomings.

Them: They weren’t up for being humiliated again, and did everything we didn’t. Like pass the ball, attempt to attack the goal, and have some idea what they were doing. And go out with an attitude that the 5-0 was going to be repeated. While their goal was as much down to our mistakes (or so it appeared), them going ahead was only a matter of time.

Off the pitch? £12 isn’t to be sniffed at, though not being able to get a piss afterwards because of segregation did suck a bit. A bad day for our professional whingers as they gave out tickets too. Dunno what the attendance was, the PA system obviously wasn’t meant to be listened to.

Usual chants from their fans – I’m sure I saw some of our lot genuinely yawn when hearing it – though I think they need to get the hang of this football supporting lark. Chanting “cheerio” to us when the game has ended and we’re heading towards the exit is what you expect on the WankieDome’s “how to pretend you’re a proper fan” cribsheet.

Speaking of Handy, I know that Yeading weren’t the best supported club in the world, but how much does it suck to be one of their supporters? You’ve been merged, you’re playing at another ground and though your team’s name is still part of the official name of the club, your entire heritage has basically been wiped away. I’d like to know the percentage of their fans who still go to Handy games – probably not 100%, maybe not even half of that. And remember that Yeading, not Hayes, have had the most legitimate big game of the last few years.

Point to ponder: Remember I said earlier that I had a startling conclusion? Here it is : we are a signficantly more impotent force without Danny Kedwell. What’s startling was that while we all agree we’re better with him than not, was how much we rely on him. Practically too much, if truth be told.

Which may cause us major problems sooner than you think. There may or may not be bids made for DK from higher up this transfer window. If that’s true, that will be two near-as-dammit guaranteed first team players gone in the space of two months. It took us a little while to recover from Huss going, but DK getting sold could be more of a body blow.

Yesterday, we didn’t even look like scoring. Worryingly, this from a strike force that on paper should be decent too. And even more of a concern, a strikeforce we may need to rely on for the rest of the season – assuming that TB can keep hold of the Cue.

Personally, I think Montague will come good for us in the end (although I said that about Seb Kneiβl too). He does remind me of DK’s early games for us. But what of poor Jon Main? Without DK, he’s not nearly the striking force that he (finally) threatened to be. It’s like Abel without Cain, Large without Little, Wise without Morecambe, vaseline without sodomy. It would be a cruel irony if JM was to slip back into the rut he found himself in at the beginning of the season, especially through no fault of his own.

We need DK back, and quick. And somehow find a way of persuading him that life at AFCW is better than one as a professional footballer playing a decent level with decent wages. I don’t wish to worry anyone, but we might just possibly be a one-man team…

Weather with you: I’d like to see medical studies linking your perception of temperature to how well your team is playing. Certainly it felt 10 degrees cooler when we went 1-0 down – christ, even Boston in the snow last month didn’t feel so chilly. The inclement weather did lead to a comment about a felled Handy player of “Don’t stay down, you’ll get frostbite”. Though I think our lot had it already.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The minute silence for Allen Batsford. A classy touch and one Handy didn’t have to do. Though I bet the individual who started clapping when nobody else did felt a tool. (2) Delayed kickoff of 15 minutes. Is this the CCL again? Complete with CCL-esque defending, naturellment. (3) Realising the depressing reality that Handy were more likely to score a second than us to equalise. We haven’t experienced that much since 2002. (4) If you got yesterday’s programme, check out the pic of Terry Brown in it. And if anyone has a scanned image of it, SW19 would be interested… Thanks to Patrick Jordan for this absolute gem:

Anything else? Yes. Another deep philosophical thought from the drive back yesterday (it was that kind of day) : just what is it about that part of London that makes it so shit for us?

We lost 2-1 last year at Church Road, in a performance not too dis-similar to yesterday’s. Those at Uxbridge in the FAT last season may have been able to put that out of their minds until something sets the gloom off again – like what happened to your editor yesterday when he saw a sign for Uxbridge. And if you’re stretching the geographical footprint out a little bit, we all know our record at the Beaverdome…

I’m sure somebody has done a study somewhere of certain clubs being unable to win/lose in certain areas of the country. We always seem to do well in the West Country, and should we win on the 23rd of this month we can add Cymru to our preferred holiday destination list. In the WFC days, I don’t think I ever saw us lose in Norfolk, yet always remember trips to Yorkshire being utter wank. Although that could have been down to having to visit Yorkshire.

Guess that we should openly campaign against a super-merged club in Middlesex/West London being formed – they could send their youth team out in a cup game and still end up beating us.

So, was it worth it? Just console yourself with the fact that yesterday, we could have been at Hampton and Richmond instead of Hayes and Yeading.

In a nutshell: Happy fucking new year.