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A Touch of Frost, continued

Yes, a second helping from last night. From the SW19 Welsh Militant branch, no less.

Before we get to that, and whilst your editor is now thinking it’s Wednesday instead of Tuesday, looks like it’s going to be a replay after all. The OS’s headline is pretty blunt :

Wimbledon and Tooting must try again

So I think we can safely assume that T&M get another opportunity to charge us £10 again. Although the final decision lies with the LSC bods, one assumes that we liased with T&M last night over it.

Sure we’ll find out the details in due course, although one suspects our management team wouldn’t want another game. Though the rate we’re playing recently, we need all the practice we can get…

There may well be an article in the pipeline, which depends on whether I can get round to doing it. In the meantime, feel free to read what Tu7or has scribed below…

Plays in Merton 1 v Not Entirely Sure It Wants To 0

Match Abandoned 75 mins after Referee decides that neither team deserves to.

There now follow a Personal Polemic Broadcast by the People Who Hate People Party:

<wrapped up in a burroughsian cut-up style report on both the game and the DT election>

It’s great to be back. Seriously. And it’s wonderful to see what can be achieved with a local council that actually wants to help you build a stadium and sustain a presence in your borough. But hey – you guys know that from your dealings with The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, right? Good luck with that. Always cover your bases! By the way, glad to hear that the good burghers of Lower Morden still don’t want “Wimbledon FC” playing at Imperial Fields. The fucking affordably-housed retards.

As for the men’s first team: Well, call me a romantic, but I was expecting something other than a shitty squad of under-achievers and a few of the under 18’s looking like they were performing a contemporary arthouse dance piece entitled “Deer In Head Lights” against the far superior boot-and-run pikey presence of both Tooting AND Mitcham (this club always reminds me of that scene in The Blues Brothers “It’s okay, we play both types of pikey here…”).

However, it looks like TB had a groundhog day decided to attempt a double cup capitulation to make room for the close-but-no-cigar faltering 7th or 8th place finish at the fag-end of the season. By the way, you realise, of course, that you are NEVER going to win the FA Trophy. You’ve got more chance of securing a brownfield site in SW19 on which to build your Kentucky Fried Stadium and the ensuing enabling development.

The first 18 minutes passed in a blur. Or maybe I was distracted by a number of people who believed I was dead. Or Canadian. Or possibly both. Anyway, according to my notes, one of the AFCW players, possibly Main, got through on goal and attempted a daring double-bluff pass back to their keeper. Gosh darn it, it almost worked too!

Truth is Stranger than Fiction *1: Meeting one of the DT Board candidates, who promptly tried to bribe me with an individually sealed pod of Marmite Cheddar. I realise that the Jennings Block Vote is a highly powerful and prized feather in your cap, but to think I’m so easily swayed… oh, what’s this? A free soft drink voucher from Burger King?…

As for the AFCW/Dons Trust nexus? Nobody said it was going to be easy. Riding the coat tails of the men’s first team up the pyramid with little thought about the necessary socio-political infrastructure is a mistake we’ve already made once (1977-1985 ring any bells?). However, this time we actually own the club and, with some solid and dependable stalwarts who actually give a shit about the football club, we should be on our way.

And there’s been some great success, both on and off the pitch. However, there’s also been some failure, and we should not continue to be frightened to address this. And sooner rather than later. It’s actually a good thing that (home) support has levelled out to around 3,700, because we haven’t yet hit “YIKES! Full to breaking point! Help! We’re a Massive Club!” at KMTFSSBCRR.

This buys us some time, but it also highlights that I was right about at least one thing: that without investment of time and effort into increasing local support for the club (be that from Kingsmeadow and all points outwards, or from Wimbledon Station/Plough Lane/the junction of Morden and Dorset Roads) the club gains no purchase, either physical or emotional, within the community it purports to represent (rather than currently representing only the fans of the previous incarnation of the club it purports to represent). Growth is good. Putting down roots is good. Putting people in place of the DT so they can help create a strategy for encouraging those psychogeographical roots is good.

On 20 minutes, a player whose name may or may not have been Judge decided to have a little lie down in the middle of the pitch.

Overheard commentary on Ian Pollock’s Obsessive Compulsive KitKat Disorder: “Is that tea?” “Yes. There’s a teabag in it.”

A football club that remains divorced from what it purported to believe in doesn’t deserve to claim to represent “Wimbledon”.

Do you want to know what impact AFCW has on me as a resident of SW19? None.

Do you know how much information I receive on the club in the local area? None.

Do you know how much my neighbours know about AFC Wimbledon? Zero.

Do you know the level of visibility the club has in its historically local area? Zero.

Now, the directors of AFC Wimbledon made it clear that they saw the role of the DT as to “sit in the corner, keep the majority shareholding warm and keep your mouth shut”. To borrow a phrase from politics, they are like the Republican party, whose stated aim was “to have a government small enough that you could drown it in a bath tub”. Fiscal rectitude and a cast-iron self-belief in your ideologies are admirable qualities: the club needs a firm hand on the tiller.

Unfortunately, when you end up leaving no room to breath or to engage independently for some capable chartmakers, sail maintenance engineers and compass-polishers, you might find that taking ownership of every single possible “exciting” aspect of running your tight ship ends up strangling the joy out of the journey. The club needs new blood. It needs, finally, to drag the Dons Trust out of the bath, pump the remaining water out of its poor lungs and breath life back into an important aspect of the club: of which we’re all a part, no matter how disengaged from the actual “running” we’ve gotten.

Tudor’s nuts: Tonight, on the barrier, we had mixed peanuts and raisins. Also a bag of Thai chilli crackers on the side. However, the evening required chocolate of some description to round it off. Chocolate was sorely missed – but not enough to even contemplate sipping on some hot-chocolate-flavoured water <limp bizkit flashback> from their burger bar. Oh no.

On 35 minutes, being quite rightly delighted with the theoretical success of his previous Double-Bluff Pass Back Gambit, the player who might have been Main upped the ante and cunningly went for a Quadruple Bluff Pass Back to their keeper. The bastard was, however, ready for such an evil and cunning plan.

The lovely, lively and diverse range of candidates which have, by some coincidence, come out of the woodwork to take the places of the AFCW directors (who are finally able to keep their hands on the tiller, and hopefully realise that the ship won’t sink if some other people are in charge to chart the course and look out for rocks and giant white whales) proves to me that I wasn’t taking crazy pills all this time.

That there are people out there who, given the responsibility to keep a watching brief and administrate and consider long-term political aims and metaphysical aspects to “being a club”, while the more football-centric minded can (still) get on with running a football club and ordering as many left backs and toilet rolls as they like. And the world doesn’t come crashing around our ears. Yippee!

However, on about 40 minutes, the stadium entered an anomalous Messner-Rosenfeld Bridge and AFCW suddenly decided to start passing to their own players and start running directly – sometimes even with the ball – at the T&M goal. A decent shot was pushed wide by their goalie. Another decent crack looped just wide of the post. And just before half time, a sprawling header back across the goal went, well, back across goal.

Fuck knows what happened for those five minutes. Luckily, the ref, who missed nothing if not everything the entirety of the game, was wise to AFCW’s pernicious tactics of trying to play competitive football and blew for half time.

Is anybody out there?: Moving over to the fascinatingly retro 60’s style Soviet era stand at the far end, with its scratchy delay speakers giving off a queer Lovecraftian rendition of “More Than A Feeling” at half time, gave me the creeps. Especially with my back to the ill-lit wasteland, stretching into the gloom, dotted with odd scattered scrub which cast wretched shapes in the shadows – not to mention that large cargo container, brooding menacingly just at the back of the stand like a bloated blue whale carcass, far from home …

Back to your regular programming:

Two minutes after the start, another useless shitty pinball pass in the middle of the pitch fell kindly in the vicinity of the T&M No 9, the only player on either team, apparently, who fancied, like, running with the ball and shooting. He ran with the ball. He shot. And scored.

47 Mins: Sandy Lane 1 Plough Lane 0

The good thing about all this allegedly “cold” weather (try -25C in Calgary, you fucking poofs) is that you know the pitch is going to be nice and firm and you won’t need to bring your wellies… ahhh, the proustian rush… happy times back in the Combined Counties League. Does this make me a bad person? Yeah, probably. Go piss up a rope, fuckface.

57 minutes in, after some fucking about in the final third, there was some weird ricochet-type clash with the T&M goalie  and the ball looped up…. and fell just the wrong side of the right hand post. The crowd wasn’t quite sure how to react. So we didn’t.

At 9.10pm, the T&M no 9 found himself on yet another break away. The AFCW defender tried tugging him, but only succeeding in falling down himself. Obviously not strong on multi-tasking then. With just the goalie to beat, the No 9…. Shot wide.

To make up for it, the ref booked our defender.

9.16 pm – And then the evening’s entertainment was brought to a discombobulated end: By one of our under 16’s falling over on the (black?green?) ice and hurting his poor lickle bum-bum. The referee simultaneously waving players away and trying to call over the captains, muttering something under his breath and then blowing his whistle extravagantly, like he was a referee from Ecuador in the 1994 World Cup. Apparently, it was all off. So us fuckfaces really could go piss up a rope now.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction *2: An infamous guestbook spammer had snuck into the game by wearing his fluorescent green cycling jacket and pretending to be a Steward. To take the pisstake one step too far (as is his wont) after the game got called off he was one of the first to lead the calls for a refund.

Most Importantly: Vote for your favourite 2,3, or 4 candidates in the DT Board, and let them get on with avoiding custard pie fights with Nick Draper, steering talk of a stadium in or around Upper Merton, coming up with lovely plans for an integrated social plan for increasing membership and getting local residents interested and then keeping them informed.

Cause that’s the only way that the football club called AFC Wimbledon is going to start putting down actual roots in its geographical area (be that blooming out from Norbiton, or flourishing from both sides of the boundary), instead of just being a “fans’ club” – i.e. a club for fans of the former Wimbledon FC. Cos we know that isn’t a very large demographic.

8 years is a long time. Let’s learn from the mistakes of the past: be it those of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’ or 00’s.

But most of all, let’s not be sitting round in 2018, wondering why nobody in Merton still isn’t interested in us, and how the hell are we going to extend the John Smith Stand to increase seating capacity by yet another 1000 for all the away fans we’re now getting in Division 3 Sponsored by Charmin?

Plus points: A local game. For local people. Thanks for the money, assholes. Don’t let the turnstiles smack you on the arse on the way out.

Minus points: The ground temperature in the far left hand corner of the pitch, apparently.

The referee’s a…: fucking retarded bell end. 90 minutes being too much for him and his ilk, the useless workshy tosser. Did it really take him 75 minutes to realise it was a bit chilly out there? Or did his mates make such fast work of breaking into your car and stealing your cd player and handheld nintendo iphoto gamestations, so he knocked off early so they had enough time to do the rounds flogging your cd player in the local pubs before Red Hot Channel came on at midnight.

You: I can tell that moral victory/replay and the ensuing potential of a double cup win has your rubbing your nipples with excitement.

Them: Hey, anyone who likes playing their football in Merton is okay by me – even if they look and play like a poor man’s Notts County <insert a polariod of your Trust sell your controlling share in the club and apply the relevant degree of topical irony here>

Me: At least I got home in time to watch Glee on E4+1

Point to ponder: Wow. Do you really want to start me off again?

And don’t forget to vote for your favourite Dons Trust Candidates, or else I’m going to stand on a “Shit-In-The-Front-Gardens-Of-Anybody-Who-Doesn’t-Agree-With-My-Hardcore-Agenda” uber-manifesto next time.

Now fuck off back to Norbiton, you bandwagonning Football League Conference shitbags.

Kissy kiss kiss