Right, after Marina and the Diamonds 0 Rushden and Diamonds 1, I’m going to be blunt here.
I really, genuinely, cannot be arsed to write much about the game.
There were some people hoping I was going to be scathing, or that I’ll write some 2000 word essay with new slants on old topics. But you know what? I feel a bit like the team right now – secretly hoping for the season to end, and get a bit of new blood in and start again. I really think I’ve exhausted the fact that we’re not good enough, we’re out of the playoffs, we might get rid of a few players, that we have injuries, that Elder and DK just won’t work together, etc etc.
Writing the above three paragraphs has taken well over 30 minutes (with editing and deletions), which gives you an idea of the rut we all seem to be in right now. Yes, we tried hard today. Yes, we were better than the Barrow game. Then again, the kids team with the neighbourhood mong in goal would have been an improvement.
Below is TB’s post match interview. I suggest you listen to it before you carry on…
Sure you can draw your own conclusions, but the one thing that struck out was his reckoning that we were naive at times.Â I suppose when Hendry’s easier-to-score-than-miss opportunity went begging, and their one chance was slotted home, that showed our inexperience. But I spent a lot of today mentally planning for next season.
We’ll be hearing a bit more uhhming and ahhhing, and more than a little angst, from the AFCW palacial headquarters about whether we’ll go full time or not come August.
Personally, I would do the following:
– Put DK, Brett Johnson, Luke Moore, Ricky Wellard and Steven Gregory on full time contracts. They are our spine of the team, and it was notable that we looked a lot (OK, a bit) more solid at the back with BJ especially returning. Our best players are well worth the money.
– Also, put the likes of Jack Stafford, Harmsworth, Peter Rapson, Seb Brown (especially), and a couple of the other promising youth teamers on more permanent deals. That way, we don’t lose out on them and we get a bit of money if they do show promise.
– See if the likes of JM, Ben Judge, Alan Inns, and Will Hendry want to stick around next season. Chances are, they do. Whether they will prefer to remain part-time or go full time or not is irrelevant – we can be flexible.
– Now, here comes the slightly controversial stuff : ask if Paul Lorraine is good enough. Chances are he is, but only for next season. With BJ, he suddenly doesn’t look nearly the promising player we hoped we were getting back last close-season. File under “mid-term replacement”.
– Today proved that Jamie Pullen is as much a liability as a saviour. When we were pushing to get an equaliser, he kept kicking the ball out of play and wasting more valuable time. It’s not a once-off either – his kicking really is on a par with Micky Haswell’s. OK, he saves some shots, but I really cannot see what he brings to the table and what Seb Brown doesn’t. Only keep if somebody better doesn’t crop up on our radar.
– Send Elder back to Shrewsbury. Be honest with ourselves and admit that it hasn’t worked out for Danny Blanchett. Not sure about Glenn Poole either. Also on the out list should be Derek Duncan (unless he’s happy toÂ be a squad player at best) and Kennedy Adjei (ditto). Jay Conroy is also likely to be out too – if he’s getting kept out by Sam Hatton it’s obvious he’s not on the retained list.
– As for Mr Hatton, it really isÂ a case of toss a coin with him, unless we suddenly discover the ideal position for him (and no, I don’t mean left back in the dressing room). Just when you think he should be given his P45, he puts in a decent performance. Personally, I think he’s too inconsistent to be in our long term plans, which now means he will be our longest serving player. I do expect him to be around next season, it’s impossible to think of life at AFCW without him.
– The long-term injured players (ie LT, Monty) should certainly be given another season.
– Who to bring in? You can argue amongst yourselves as to whom you’d bring in, and for what position. Me, I’d like to see a bit of experience come in – a sort of Mick Harford/Marcus Gayle type player, assuming their wages aren’t prohibitive. At times this season, we’ve missed an experienced head to guide us through – today especially, when Rushden were doing their dying swan acts. Perhaps that’s why TB’s “naive” comment sprung out at me?
I’ve doubtlessly missed somebody out. But they can be used for next time – in the next 14 days, we will play five first team games. In truth, that’s too many in such a short period of time. Not for the players, for your editor – don’t be surprised if some games don’t get covered. Writing this one tonight was hard enough…
Plus points: At least we weren’t Handy. Better than Barrow game.
Minus points: Still lost.
The referee’s a…: Sigh.
Them: Franchise’s little bitch, complete with the usual characteristics. You can tell the sort of club it is when their Essex wideboy chairman is involved in things like this. Yes, we thought we’d left those sorts of outfits behind in the Ryman, though I expect they’ll be another side in about 2/3 years wondering why they’re heading south very quickly.
To be honest, they weren’t on the same level as Oxford or Luton (or even Stevenage), but took advantage of our collective naivity. Expect we’ll be playing them again next season, and I wouldn’t put our long term future behind theirs…
Point to ponder: Was it me or were the darken skies above us in the second half an omen? Bit of a strange atmosphere all round, with some decent enough singing interlaced with moment of absolute quiet. And I mean, reserve team game quiet. Are the fans hoping for the season to end themselves?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The Wombelles. No doubt their spouses will be giving them a nice little something when they get back from their annual pissup…. (2) What happened to the electronic substitute board? Looks like we had to quickly nab the Ryman number boards from the Ks store cupboard. Rather summed up the day.
Anything else? No. It’s taken me three hours to write this rubbish as it is…
So, was it worth it? Piss off.
In a nutshell: Roll on next season.