Quiet, isn’t it?
OK, you’re all watching the World Cup, or sunning yourself, or both, but even SW19 can’t write about literally nothing.
I can’t remember the last time a close season was so dead. The only bit of (semi) news was Tommy Hutchinson announcing to the local press that he was about to sign for us. Except he hasn’t. It’s unclear whether he jumped the gun a bit, or was misled by (presumably) his agent, or whether he spoke to Stuart Cash who gave him some positive news but TB wasn’t keen, but if he doesn’t sign there will be a lot of washing off yolkes off various faces…
Anyway, it looks like things are going to start happening on Tuesday, thanks to yesterday’s long awaited WHAK. To the 100% approval of AFCW fans everwhere, Sam Hatton has joined us again. Presumably the local Jessops finally delivered the photos in time for negotiations.
With the new “experienced” signings strongly hinted at, it’s almost gobsmacking to find out that pre-season training starts again on Tuesday. Your editor might pop along, if he can work out what time it starts and where the King’s College site actually is. Notepad and dictaphone optional, maybe. It’s odd, because it feels like only yesterday that we finished with a painful whimper bang at Gateshead, but a look at the calendar tells us that was a good nine weeks ago. Wasn’t that the grand total of Jon Main’s playing time last season?
One does wonder what shape the (remaining) squad players will come back in. Not only physically, but mentally too. The vibe towards the end of last season was a pretty challenging one, a mixture of fatigue and pissedoffness. With such a long time away from that wretched period, we all hope that the players come back with the proverbial clean slate. Anyone who gets down there pre-season should make a mental note of the vibe around the place. It may be interesting…
Anyway, speaking of the use of the term “interesting” -Â doubtlessly, your attention on WHAK was drawn to the Merton/Kingston meetings. Especially the intriguing comment about Hogsmill. Admittedly, I’ve still no idea where this area is, but you have to be a complete moron not to know the immense sensitivity of this very subject.
If you read it properly and with a cool head, it’s promising stuff with LBM- to get architects and advisors involved isn’t paying lip service, especially with the consultancy fees they charge – but naturally enough when you get comments like “very interesting ideas” with RBK mentioned, the defence mechanisms go up again.
Such a reaction is perfectly natural, of course. There are still many, many people who remember what happened during the 1990s. And while it’s easy to label them as “fundamentalists”, they are the same people who will get bodies down to council meetings, who will do the letter writing campaigns, who will make themselves available to the press and residents groups to bring the positive message. They will only do that if they have enthusiasm for the project – if they’re being asked to accept something they don’t 100% believe in, they’re not going to do it.
Don’t forget, we’re still paying off the Khosla Barclays loan, and how many years ago was that taken out? One suspects that we would have settled the debt far sooner if there was more enthusiasm for what we were paying off, if you see what I mean…
I’m not sure if the club is wise to use such terminology in this matter. Very few seem to know what the Hogmill plans that RBK are coming up with, and we’ve had close to 20 years of enough deceit and cagey (mis)information for one lifetime. Christ, there are some AFCW fans who need therapy whenever they hear the words “negotiations are at a critical stage and I can’t say any more*”
* – incidentally, how many times did Hammam say that? And more to the point, did he stop saying it when Dublin came on the horizon? Believe it or not, I think I hate him more than Koppout and Wankie and co, and that’s saying something.
I do suspect that people will now only ever accept either a return back to Merton, or at the very worse a rebuilt KM. If you need to argue against the former, you’re not a Wimbledon fan and should fuck off and support Franchise. And I genuinely mean that. The latter because we are at least used to it, and there will be a reluctant acceptance that it’s where we’ll be. Psychologically, our fans will only accept one more ground move, and it has to be the Holy Grail one.
We deserve nothing less.
It could be innocent of course, like a decent training complex. And that’s something we can all agree on, especially now we’re going full time. For this, I seriously doubt there would be much objection to it being there, Richardson Evans was barely in Merton after all.Â I think the idea that we were going to have something like that near Morden Park sadly fell through, although I think we were just one partner in that scheme. When we talk about building the club up, we always initially think that it’s going full time, or getting a more suitable ground. And it is. But it’s also down to things like this, which gives us that little bit of an edge. Remember, Brett Johnson was quoted last season that our facilities were as good as Brentford’s.
Speaking of which, anyone else driven past Robin Hood Gate on the A3 recently, seen the “To Let” signs on a certain pavillion and gone “Hmm…”?