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Cambridge Revue

OK, I admit it – I enjoyed that.

Yes, really.

The fact that I went into Wimbledon Art College 3 Footlights 0 with not a scooby of what to expect probably has something to do with it. Back on Sunday, we were pretty much content with ourselves, went in with totally the wrong frame of mind and subsequently put your editor in a lousy mood that reflected last night’s rain.

This was Good AFCW, the side that makes us wonder why we can’t do that most games. Well, actually we do, at least at KM (can we still call it Theme Park KM now? At least, until we surrender meekly to FGR on Saturday). After the usual first half inertia, we realised we needed to go up a gear and sure enough…

True, we shouldn’t get carried away again. This was comfortable, and we will play better teams than Cambridge soon enough. But in many ways this was better than Crawley – we were able to concentrate on the game without that particular circus surrounding us, for a start. Though in addition, Sunday seemed to hurt us.

And I mean, hurt us. Had that attempt that  hit the post that everyone thought had gone in but didn’t go in had, er, gone in, who knows what could have happened? What it does prove is this – at home, we are promotion contenders. A cursory glance at our results at Kaiserfeld this season proves that (and who knows where we would be if we weren’t so brain dead against Newport?).

It’s just that on the road, we’re shit. Remember what I said on Sunday about our youngsters looking good when they’re playing good, but not so much when they’re not? Last night, we were good and therefore 3-0 wasn’t an unjust scoreline. It was the flip reverse of Kiddie, where losing 2-0 was unfair to the home side…

A couple of thoughts about the actual game. Our strength this season seems to be our ability to put substitutes on to change the tie. Happened at Southport, happened last night too. When we scored our first goal, there was no way we were going to lose it. Seriously.

Was surprised to see Dr Dre back starting, though he certainly had one of his best games for us. Maybe it’s slowly starting to dawn on him what he could have and more importantly what he could lose? This really is his last chance. He seemed a little bit pissed off at getting subbed, although I don’t blame him for it. Good to see he acknowledged the crowd chanting his name, too.

Also, have we inadvertantly found a new striker? Step forward (in more ways than one) Fraser Franks. I await the AFCW.TV highlights of last night, if only to see if his two goals really were something that Jon Main should be doing.

Got to say, I’m pleased that Franks especially is starting to find his feet at AFCW – I’m pretty sure he was the only one who shone in the end-of-season triallist game, and you always get the feeling that he would be stuck on the bench while Ed Harris gets the nod. With Yak now out for 3 weeks he can stake his claim.

Oh, and is it me or does he look a bit like Alan Reeves?

While you muse over that, here’s the rest of it…

Plus points: We won. Clean sheet. Nobody (bar one) playing badly. Looking pretty comfortable after the first goal. Looking pretty comfortable before it too.

Minus points: Pissed down.

The referee’s a…: Hmm, yes, well…

Them: Hardly offered a lot, in truth. Cannot recall them giving Seb much to do, anyway. They prove that there’s two sorts of ex-League clubs (ie continuous ex-League, not the special cases ourselves and Newport are). The first is the Luton type, who in truth shouldn’t be in the Conference to begin with, and who have the resources to get themselves up. Oxford last season were in that category, and before them Carlisle and Shrewsbury too. One will say Mansfield will join them in due course.

Then, there’s the Cambridge and Wrexham types. They think they should be up there, but deep down they’ve found their level. They’ve missed the momentum that they need to become promotion challengers, and they’re now mid-table fodder who have been usurped by the likes of us, Crawley, Newport and Fleetwood.

You sense their problem when you read stuff like what Martin Ling said last night:

Cambridge manager Martin Ling said: “On paper I do not think Wimbledon are better than us in any position but tonight they performed superbly as a team and we didn’t”.

Well, thanks for the heads up there, Mr Ling. I am deeply honoured that our inferior players somehow managed to scrape together and put in a performance of a lifetime against a star-studded side like yours so clearly was. We will ensure it will not happen again when we go to the Abbey, and will take our rightful place with a 5-0 defeat as an apology.

Christ, it’s like listening to a Dean Saunders interview.

Look, I don’t watch Cambridge weekly, so he might be right. But that’s a real continuous ex-League club attitude – because they were in the League once, they have a divine right to be up there, and they will automatically have better players than the likes of us. If this one-and-a-bit season in the BSP has taught us anything, it’s that a lot of the teams that scared us before we kicked a ball aren’t all that. Cambridge United aren’t, and they were a side who could have joined Wimbledon in the top flight of English football in the 1990s. And wouldn’t that have been great for the division?

OK, they may have had an off day, although that seems quite common with them, but there was nobody in a white shirt that could have swapped with a blue one last night. And if they really are as superior in all positions to us, but played worse than Histon did, then that is purely down to having a rubbish manager…

Point to ponder: Whither Ricky Wellard? It was suggested to me during the game that we played a lot more effectively when he went off and Luke Moore came on. Obviously, he’s young (aren’t they all…) but out of the ones who have been with us since last season who have gone full time, like Main he hasn’t yet made that jump forward. At least not in the way that Ryan Jackson and Jolley have done. If anything, he seems to have gone backwards. We have to give him time, obviously, and he did start to come into his own a bit towards the back end of the season. But in this cut-throat world of professional football, the knives do get a little sharper…

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The weather. Summer is definitely over. (2) The burger van on the TE bellowing out a large amount of smoke. Symbolic? More to the point, does anyone have a picture of it? (3) Speaking of food – massive traffic problems which meant people were getting there at 8.05pm. Cambridge team coach arrived late too. Anyway, apparently two late arrivals asked if the carvery was still open. See AFCW, this is what you’re doing with your constant carvery plugging. You’re suppose to emulate Manchester United on the pitch, not off it.

Anything else? OK, I will (try to) be brief on this subject, because it is genuinely something I could write 4000 words on without thinking about what to write next : when you look at how much coverage Cambridge and Kidderminster gave their games against us, it really shows how shit our Official Site is.

Where is the news on Yak’s injury? Or how long we’ve got Chris Bush for? Or when BJ is back? Even little bits of info that a potential audience of 3000 people may be interested in. You know, football fans who might be interested in what happens football wise at the AFC Wimbledon Entertainment and Catering Conglomerate PLC.

I’ve no idea why the carvery gets a disproportionate amount of advertising compared to everything else – whether it’s down to club policies, or club politics (“somebody’s pet project”) or what – but I seriously doubt that even now it will be the main source of income. But we live in the iPhone era now – people can find out scores as they happen, no matter whether they’re on the Tempest End or Teeside.

The days of accepting that match reports take time to filter through are long gone. Most of us are used to either getting or somebody telling us what the score is via their phone at the game. Hell, people even print out SW19 reports for people, sometimes with the swear words not crossed out…

Yet to find the official club reaction (at time of writing, about 1400) to yesterday is like the BBC getting an interview out of Sir Alex Ferguson. And this at a club which has a lot of people supporting it, many of whom work/have interest in “new media”. It’s not like TB isn’t always available for interviews after games. You don’t need to hunt him down this morning, and take him away from training, just record what he said last night and either put the audio up on the site (which would take about 10 minutes flat), or spend another half-hour transcribing then putting it up as a nice feature.

Ditto, it’s not like Fraser Franks will be unavailable for a quick chat with the OS after his two goals. In fact, he’ll more than likely be pleased to chat about it. And just as nice to read…

I don’t buy the argument against getting a more updated information service that it will take money away from the playing budget. Firstly, and I know this for a fact, many people starting out doing match reports will do it gratis. If they can get their own laptop to games, or use the press WiFi, even better.

Can’t find somebody in the 3000+ crowd we regularly have? Ask the SLP, or Surrey Herald, or Wimbledon Guardian if they have any work experience kids who fancy the gig.

Ask them to do a 150 word interview with TB afterwards for use on the OS, and they’ll do it. That’s what they give work experience journalists to do, and damn good training for them. Useful for us too, in more ways than one.

So, why does this matter? Well, if we’re using the line of logic that giving out football related info is irrelevant to the club and just takes away from the player budget, let’s get rid of Sky Sports and ESPN from the bars. Cost too much, if the reported fees of a couple a grand a month to have it are anything to go by. We could get another player in for that.

Of course, that won’t happen because it brings punters into the bars, which proves my point.

How so? Well, think about it – today, you would be rushing to the OS to read about last night, TB’s views, Fraser Franks reliving his second goal etc. Underneath, they may be a little advert for a dry cleaner in Merton Park. You, or somebody else, may need your duvet washed after spending one too many times watching DK’s goal against Crawley, so you click on it as curiosity over prices.

Meanwhile, the dry cleaners gets a “hit” from the AFCW OS – a few more of those and they realise AFCW is suddenly a useful source of income. It may be just a once-off, but at some point you may need their service again and think “hey, who was that cleaners in Merton Park?”. You go to the match report you kind of remembered you saw it before, click on it again, and you are a repeat customer. As for the dry cleaners, they may phone up the Commercial Department to put an advert in the programme, and a bigger sponsorship deal is born…

Don’t believe me? You probably found the Yak injury news via the Surrey Herald. Before a PSF this summer, I was speaking to one of the Herald’s journos, who said how utterly pleased they were with the hits they were getting for AFCW stories, suggesting it was worth them continuing to cover us. The interest for AFCW-related football stories are there. How many people are really reading the carvery email shots as opposed to just glazing over them now remains unclear, but there’s nothing guaranteed to make you ignore something more than the same thing repeated each week.

It’s all rather simple, really. Perhaps too simple. Anyway, it seems to be an issue ever since the demise of the “club journalist” days, and we seem to be getting left behind on something that is now mainstream rather than reserved for techie people. Of course, there’s a thought that doing more football related content is a nice service by the club to the people who support them, without having an outstretched arm for your wallet. But then, that would be stupid…

So, was it worth it? Oh yes.

In a nutshell: Gentlemen and scholars.