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There are some things money can’t buy…

… although Danny Kedwell was certainly worth the £10k we paid for him 😉

So, what to say about Making History 2 Buying History 1? Let’s get the predictable churlish comments out of the way first : Harris was naive for their goal. The planned anti-Steve Evans protests (predictably) didn’t make too much of an impact. For the first sixty minutes it looked like it was going to be a meek defeat. Jon Main looked as useful as a condom in the Vatican. And it rained…

Got all that? Good, I won’t be asking questions later.

Performance of the season? From my own point of view, it was. Mind you, that’s because virtually every game up until now I’ve seen has been shit. Yet for a good hour, it was more of the same that we’d been used to recently. Be honest, you thought when they scored it would be the heroic late scramble that didn’t get us anything, and loads more angst.

But something changed, and I don’t think I can put my finger on it. I don’t think we’re a bad side, but one that shows its lack of experience at times. For the last 30 minutes we saw the first signs of genuine maturity. And because of that, we were able to sniff out the opposition, and realise that they were beatable (which those who read Matt Tubbs’ comments in the last SW19 update would have twigged).

Which is what happened, of course. Once the not-so-much-maligned Sam  Hatton headed home, you just knew. The Footballing Gods were in a rare helpful mood, because the longer DK went without scoring, the more you thought he should have kept his mouth shut beforehand. Granted, I don’t like (our) players doing that anyway, but not only did his loop send us into orgasmic ecstacy, it saved his embarrassment…

After that, I really didn’t think we were going to lose that. Which when you consider this back four hadn’t played together at all is pretty amazing. Chris Bush was clearly knackered after doing the club office’s photocopying earlier in the day, and it’s good to see that Fraser Franks not only started but got Prem Sport’s MOTM. Felt a bit sorry for Ed Harris for the goal, though the rest of the time he did little else wrong…

So, what? Well, we are top of the league (again)  until 5pm Saturday. Before we take a trip up to the Midlands on Sunday to take on the Wolves and Villa fans (seriously, who’s idea was it to make us play that game at the same time? Oh, the same minds that meant we played tonight…).

But most importantly, we were in a high pressure situation and we responded in the best way possible. No distractions, no shrugging our shoulders and looking down on the ground, and no desire to go off the field a beaten team. We will have our ups and downs, but the frightening thing is, we can only get better…

Plus points: We won. Coming a goal from behind. DK’s goal and celebration. Sam Hatton’s goal. Last 30 minutes. Keeping going. Back four looking pretty solid.

Minus points: Their goal. It was on Premier Sports, so nobody saw it.

The referee’s a…: We really need better referees at this level.

Them: How much money did they spend recently? Over £600,000 or something isn’t it? OK, they’re a decent side, and they’ll be in the playoffs at least. But really, I didn’t think they were that special. Luton were better than them. I suppose they were top not because they were the best side in the division but because they’ve had the luck with them – the rub of the green, if you prefer.

And then, there’s a Mr Steven Evans. I quote from the local Guardian:

“Who played the football tonight, Wimbledon or Crawley? Who?” he demanded. “Who played long ball tonight, Wimbledon or Crawley?

“Is that the benchmark we’ve got to be up there, we’ve not got a problem. At 1-0 (Richard) Brodie and Tubbs should score and kill it. They are big signings, that’s what they’re paid for.

“On the balance of play 3-1 to us would have been fair, it’s not justice tonight,” said Evans before storming out of the post match pre-conference after a reporter questioned his defender’s performance inside their own box.

Want to know why SW19 ignores him? He’s a toddler. A fat little baby. Flouncing out of a press conference because somebody has dared to ask you a question you don’t like is the sign of somebody who shits his nappy. His histronics over the Danny Kedwell saga was akin to a six year old having a strop in the middle of the supermarket, while his poor mother looked on with a mixture of contempt and pity.

What was funny (although I wasn’t at said press conference) was that apparently we had some national and international media there too. I expect they found him suitably comical 😉 I do have to admit to being wrong about him though : I thought he was a clever genius managing to deflect attention while building a title-winning side on the quiet.

I now have to say that he’s too immature to be successful. Graeme Westley he isn’t. His side was certainly in his own image – cost a lot, had far too much to say for itself and strangely lacking when it came to the crunch. If Crawley are serious about Project Promotion, they need to drop their child who manages them. But then, that assumes their main business is football…

Point to ponder: Imagine what we’d do if we had Crawley’s spending power? That’s testament to our attitude towards proper scouting and building the club up as a football one. The higher we go, the less we can rely on our current financial model, but we must never lose our focus on the actual footballing side of things. A proper youth and reserve side will have as much of an impact as signing Richard Brodie. Unless of course we develop our own mega-signings.

Three’s a crowd: 4018, which I have to be honest surprised me. In a good way, too. We’ve had a few high profile games where we haven’t reached that recently, so it’s good that we’re still a draw. Apparently quite a few newbies in the KRE, so I hope somebody told them we’re playing Cambridge next Wednesday. After a result and performance like that, they may well return…

Decent enough turnout by Crawley, although it was their cup final. In all seriousness, considering it’s less than an hour between them and us, it’s the kind of turnout one should expect from them anyway. There is a touch of the Chelmsford about them though…

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The two twentysomethings behind me who thought that every ball was a hospital ball and that Crawley was in South Croydon. Thankfully, in terracing you can move elsewhere. (2) Five minutes of injury time? Why? (3) Chanting “what a waste of money” to the oppo substitutes warming down afterwards. (4) Your editor is no longer a Jonah. I may even have people say hello to me on Sunday.

Anything else? Yeah, Premier Sports. In a way, I feel sorry for them because their actual coverage (from what I saw of it) isn’t too bad. It’s not quite HD, and it’s obviously done on the cheap with the amount of cameras they don’t have, but Ian Snodin and the other bloke do a professional job.

The problem is of course that PS remains a fatally flawed business model and it has the fingerprints of Setanta all over it. It really should be on an ESPN package (along with ESPN America and ESPN Classic), because IIRC they would get some money through it. Christ, have you seen some of the crap that passes itself off as viewing choice elsewhere?

No, the Conference should never have agreed to it, and I still believe they should have resigned because of it. But be honest, you did have a sneak in the bars afterwards to hear what they said. Perhaps if Prem Sports was about £2 a month or even if it was rebranded as ESPN2 then it would be far more of a worthwhile purchase. But I had ITV Digital, and I had Setanta, and I certainly don’t want a hat-trick.

Now, if the person who has Prem Sports recorded it…

So, was it worth it? Maybe.

In a nutshell: We are top of the league. On the cheap.