SW19’s Close Season Syndrome has been further aggrevated by more PSF news. Yesterday, the mystery Prem side was Arsenal, and today, the identity of the game on the 24th has been revealed.
Step forward, Woking.
Now, this was the sort of fixture a couple of years ago that we would have considered the biggie if we got into the Conference. Obviously, the history of the County Cup games in another AFCW era holds a place in the mind of the more romantic Womble. Not to mention the games against Westfield, and subsequent hijacking of their bar.
Yet like Ks, and like Slutton, the Footballing Gods decreed that we were never destined (so far) to play them in a “proper” competition, so instead we get a nice trip down the A3 on a sunny July afternoon. It’s certainly near for a lot of people, so this might have a decent turnout from us.
Plus of course, it might give us some idea of the gap between a just-gone-FT Conf side and one that is settling into life in the BSS. It would be something to pointedly illustrate just how much things have changed within just three years at this level. There was a little bit of a mutter when Steve Ferguson joined us because he felt we were going to be ahead of Woking before long, but he was proved right. Remember he was their player of the season when he joined us. He wouldn’t even get a sniff with us now.
In fact, Woking are a classic example of how a club can stagnate and find itself at odds with a changing division. Like FGR and like Ebbsfleet, they have been an increasingly rare specimen of a “traditional” Conference side that now finds itself out of it. In time, Alty and Salisbury will do likewise. And it’s a little lesson to us not to sit back on our laurels and remind ourselves how wonderful we are.
That said though, it was only fate that could have made this very fixture our Boxing Day/NYD one this year. One does suspect that if they don’t get promoted next season, they will suddenly find it harder and harder. Especially with the likes of Ebbsfleet and FGR now taking the place of the likes of us and Newport. If they did go up, it would end up being one of the favourite fixtures of the season, even if it’s only about 20 miles away. Did somebody say CCL days?
Still, that’s all academic, and for now at least, Kingfield is a nice venue for a pre-season friendly. Maybe an FAT/FAC one if we’re lucky. Just think – when we were slugging it out in the CCL/Ryman, we would have killed to be in their shoes by 2010. Now, it’s a good job we weren’t…