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Bed, Bath and Beyond

And we’re still top.

Not really too sure what to say, to be honest. These are the games that one would expect us to win by this scoreline – as you probably know, I was at Watford v Doncaster yesterday. so was able to keep up from afar. We even got a mention over their PA afterwards, announcing we’d won and were top. Though one suspects it was because Luton aren’t…

I won’t bore you about what it’s like to have no idea whatsoever what the team looks like. I only checked who scored just now because I didn’t actually know – seriously. Fuck knows how the faraway Wombles cope. Seriously, are we playing better than the turgid shit that I saw against Newport and Rushden?

If we do well this season, it’s because we seemed to have learnt to put the lesser teams to the sword thus far. No disrespect to the likes of Barf, but we ought to do to them what Stevenage and Oxford did to us last season. Hopefully, the confidence will put us in good stead for the upcoming four games.

They’re difficult ones anyway, and not only because your editor is likely to be at all of them (I have already reserved a bed in Luton and Dunstable A&E for Friday, because of the first ever case of an away fan at Kenilworth Road getting beaten up by supporters of the same side). For the first time this season, we will be facing legitimate playoff contenders.

That said, I don’t think we fear going to Kenilworth Road this time round, not on the pitch anyway. We respect them, and I hope they respect us. It’s loseable but it’s also winnable. Ditto Crawley, assuming that our fans don’t become so engulfed in trying to provoke Steve Evans that we just fall into their hands.

OK, the WUP t-shirts are inoffensive, although I think Grays may be waving a receipt for £10k about when they see it. But we’ve all seen games where what we plan becomes counter-productive. If I’m being honest, when we host Crawley I’d rather let our football do the talking. Evans may be many things, but he’s also like Mourinho in taking the pressure off his players. I just can’t help thinking we’re losing the psychological warfare without realising it…

I’ve sort of glanced at the bit about the DT membership survey as well. It’s a bit of a misleading title, because it’s open to “Dons Trust members and other stakeholders in the club”. While I’m sure there are some DT members who believe that only DT members should be asked, the move to ask “other stakeholders” (whatever they are) is by far the best one.

Let’s be honest, if you were to limit it to DT members only, you’d get about 700 replies and that’s about it (which suggests the bulk of people see the DT as a donation vehicle and not a lot else, although that’s for another time).  And a sub-section that is a little bit more, well, political (or obsessive if you prefer) than most. So credit does go to whoever organises it for asking people not involved in the whole DT bubble. Perhaps a braver move than one may think.

We’ll wait and see what gets asked, and how the questions : my own view is that the majority of fans will want us to push towards Merton and substain the club on its present on-field course, then some form of fan ownership to ensure Erik doesn’t secretly try and shunt us off to Lake Windermere. In that order. I could well be wrong, but I’ve heard and seen nothing to suggest the rank-and-file Womble feels quite so differently.

I guess I must be in a rare non-cranky mood, because even the timing  of this is right. Whether by design or sheer luck, it’s coming at a time when for the first time since 2002, we are seriously thinking about the road ahead.  OK, between 2002 and 2008 (or even a year later), we were more concerned with actually getting the club into a, er, football club. But we’re in the Conference and quite possiblycould be a League club next season.

The start we’ve had on the field has possibly focused more than a few minds. This could be it, although it probably won’t be. Even if it isn’t, I sense that collectively, we now need to grow up and mature. I doubt if I’m the only one who has thought in the past couple of weeks where AFCW could be in ten years time.

And it does come around quicker than you think. In 2002, if you’d said to me that we’d be top of the Conference by 12 September 2010 I would have either fainted or laughed at you. On 12 September 2020, who knows where the club will be? In both senses of the word…

I don’t think we could have done this survey even at this time last year, because I don’t think we knew what we wanted. We definitely now know that KM isn’t suitable for modern day Conference football, let alone the League, even if you were to refurbish the JS. Even little things like the carvery taking out most of the back bar will have an influence on viewpoints.

There’s an old Arabic proverb that goes along the lines of, we know what we know, we know that there are things we do not know, and we know that there are things we don’t know we don’t know. Although that exact quote came from Donald Rumsfeld, we’re starting to find out what we actually need and want, and not what we think we want.

As an aside, weren’t that New Economics Foundation mob the ones who went to a DT meeting and announced that it would cost a large amount of money?  Looking back over WUP’s guestbook, a figure of £5,000 was bandied about. Hmm.

They don’t appear to have had much obvious experience in doing something like this. Their website doesn’t seem to help, it’s the usual political abstract language that doesn’t actually seem to say much. Mind you, maybe it’s because it reads like the Independent with chronic PMT. Conspiracy theorists may have noticed one of the people involved is somebody called Dave Boyle, although it’s not the Supporters Direct one. Now that would have been fun to dig into…

Anyway, back to yesterday. I had two contributions. First one comes from new male model, Tudor:

Hatton’s slick trick pass,
Yakubu’s bullet header,
Bath fans kept singing

Sorry it’s short, apparently he’s busy doing another WUP photoshoot, modelling anti-Steve Evans underpants (not that we’re obsessed or anything, like). For some reason, they’re doing it in the KM weights room with a West Indian bodybuilder called Clyde. Something to do with the “post workout glow” or something.

Anyway, while I discourage full reports these days, I’ve received one from former first reserve JP. It’s not illegal to contribute yourself you know 😉

Some one left the plug out?

Before this game I was telling anyone who asked me what I thought about this game that is was really one of the first milestone games in this season. Not that the opposition were a significant obstacle or high-profile club we had to overcome. No, it was more the psychological barrier we were faced with today.

If we are to be serious contenders for either the title or the playoffs this season then with all due respects to today’s opponents we have to put sides like them to the sword. I was saying if by, say, 80 minutes we were still only 1-0 up (or worse) then our season might revolve around just about making the playoffs (assuming we didn’t tail away again like we did last year). But, if we were 3 or 4 up after 60 minutes then I seriously think we could consider ourselves as serious playoff candidates at a minimum and a fair bet to have a real crack at the Championship!

So you’ll be pleased to know that bar about 2 minutes we managed to hit that Championship-looking target in Showers 4 Baths 0. And what is so gratifying is we did it with style, with aplomb and with purpose.

Ok, the first goal relied a bit of luck on the run of the ball to Sammy Moore but once he got the shot away there was never going to be any doubt of the outcome. The Ish with his bullet header from Sam Hatton’s perfectly delivered corner highlighted again the benefits of full time training and, despite being 2-0 up we continued to go for goal, thwarted in the main by some excellent goalkeeping by their Tangerine Man.

But whatever someone put in the tea – or whatever TB said at halftime I do not know. For somehow, we seemed to have remained – at least mentally – in the dressing room for the first 15 mins of the second half and, but for Bath’s inability to provide an incisive edge to their attacks we might well have suddenly found our two goal cushion eroded. It only seemed after that thunderbolt cleared Seb’s bar by about an inch did we suddenly realise we still had a game on our hands. Credit to our opponents.

But again, when we put our minds to it we delivered. We have so many options now I think one of the major problems we might face is decision making. More than once for example the Yuss had two options on where to play the ball. He got one right and got one wrong. But each time he had that decision to make and that will need the management helping players out. The KISS mentality might be suitable here.

So in the end a comfortable win. But what was particularly gratifying was that we did play to the end. We were still trying to score even though we had four. We were still trying to get more. It struck me later in the evening the significance of this as I happened upon Blackpool beating Newcastle on MotD. Under siege with a minute to go, winning 0-1 they could have tried to shut up shop and close the game out. But they went – and got that second goal to win the game.

Perhaps we weren’t in that position today but to play the whole 90+ minutes is the sign of a good side. A side that wants to win and progress. A sign that a side never gives up! As any Man Utd fan will testify to today…..(3-3 Ha Ha)

Plus points: Another clean sheet. Total team effort. No apparent new injuries

Minus Points: A slightly disappointing crowd of only 3300 (about as no one is absolutely certain what the figure is!)

[SW19 interjection : is it disappointing? Look, I like Barf City, and I hope they get enough wins to stay up, but they’re still not the big draw that a Luton or Grimsby would be. Perhaps that’s something else this DT survey will bring up – that a significant proportion of our fans will only turn out when it’s an ex-League club? Also, look at some of the turnouts in L1/L2 from yesterday]

The Referee is a …. example of how an excellent ref runs a game. Linesman on Main stand side wasn’t that great but he overruled him when he needed too. Highlight was when a Bath player broke through and caught Ish as he stretched for the ball Ish was clearing. No fuss. Foul given. Handshake.  Quite word. Enough said. I almost felt like chanting “Can we have you ref us every week?”

Them: Spiffing good fans and team. Came to try and play football and at times succeeded. But the table doesn’t lie. They need a couple of big buggers on their side (first team where I thought we were giants) and someone who can finish. Otherwise a long hard season awaits.

Point to ponder: Is it more or does the club seem to be acting like a juggler at the mo? Just seems there is so much on the corporate plate at the moment. Premier Sports, SGMs, catering, ground improvements/changes etc. I just wonder if we are again spreading ourselves a tad too thin on matters that might really, really matter!

Truth is stranger than fiction: People suddenly waking up to the Danny Kedwell T-shirts, a WUP exclusive. If ever there was an indication of how ‘selective’ the WUP clientele is was borne out by the number of people who didn’t know about the shirt bearing the words “There are some things that money cannot buy” beneath Danny’s face. Seemed a lot more people were interested in buying one than those who frequent the guest book. Which begs the question – can WUP get some extra exposure for such items via the club or is that a no-no, as it cuts across their commercial activity? I mean after all its all money in the coffers!

Anything else: Maybe the absence of the SW19 Editor does really help the team win – its nothing sort of superstition of course. When he’s not there and we lose, someone will be blamed for not wearing his or her lucky underpants instead!

Also heard our ‘friend’ Mr Evans saying Crawley were a class above Histon in their match. Umm, sorry but we were a class above Histon when we were playing shit last season. So no news there then!

So was it worth it: Is that a serious question, or what?

In a nutshell: Top of the league. Catch us if you can.