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Very quick thoughts

Just a couple of comments, as it’s my birthday today and I’ll be away until the 9th November later on…

– As you know by now, we’ve drawn Ebbsfleet at KM. It could have been better, but also a lot worse. Yes, we wanted a Sheffield Wednesday, or a Charlton. But we could have also got somebody like Luton away too. And of course, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when Stevenage’s opponents were announced.

That said, this is one of those proverbial no-win games for us : we’re expected to be victorious, but to do so we’ll need to have a full strength side that is firing. Which could be easier said than done. If we’re not on form, then we all know what can happen – the fact that we’ll be lining up against Quiche, DD and probably Callum Willock really has FA Cup folkelore written all over it already.

It’s going to be a bit weird seeing them all at KM again, and if nothing else it will show how far we’ve come in such a short space of time. Remember when we re-signed Lorraine and we thought that he would show us all why we missed him first time round? By the end of his tenure though, he was becoming a liability, looking less than composed on the ball. I wouldn’t swap him for Yak or BJ now. Come to think of it, I’d put Ed Harris and Fraser Franks far more in front of him too.

– The general opinion seems to be that it’s a good tie. We’re at home, for starters, and all things being equal, we should nail this first time out. What I hope TB does beforehand is show the Workington game from last season to show how much being cocky and complacent beforehand can be. Come to think of it, he should also show a copy of the Basingstoke game too – thankfully, I was elsewhere (and been pretty busy, hence no update until now) but by the sound of it, this was real turgid shit.

Reportedly, TB spent a good ten minutes afterwards tearing a strip off the players. By the sound of things, we rather got away with it – if Basingstoke had a bit more firepower etc etc. Question is, can we motivate our team sufficiently enough for Ebbsfleet? Like the fans, one suspects the players themselves would have rather fancied going to Hillsborough instead.  Or at the very least take on somebody like Barnet, where the odds of us winning would be pretty decent.

If there’s one thing that watching AFCW over the recent years has proven, playing games like Basingstoke and Workington and Boreham Wood last season are usually a lot more difficult than they should be. We should be used to the Cup Final effect – christ, we experienced it every week from 2002 up until last season – but when was the last time we came out of such a fixture with any degree of comfort?

Come to think of it, it’s a bit of an unwritten rule that a top side (like we are, let’s not be too apologetic) always struggles in these sort of fixtures. Presumably it’s because they never get mentally “with it” beforehand – already you’re half expecting one eye on the second round draw, and what to do with the Fleetwood tickets you’ve already purchased.

It would be a great demonstration of our increasing maturity if we can come out of KM at 4.50pm on the 6th November wondering what all the pre-game worry was about. We are certainly capable of it.

– Finally, it will be interesting to see the crowd for this one. It’s the FAC and you would expect a few more than you would get for the FAT against the same opposition. Those expecting 3k plus will probably be disappointed though, although that said Slough vs Yeading in the FAC a few years ago (when Yeading were still Yeading and they played Newcastle in the next round) got something like 3000.

The club’s accountancy department will happily tell you why it’s important to do well in this competition – many clubs, not just AFCW, really do rely on a good cup run to boost the budget. We used the Millwall game receipts along with the Chris Hussey cash to make a push for the title last season…

Yeah, I know.

When they drew Yernited at Old Trafford, Exeter City effectively cleared their seven figure debt with that one fixture alone (that probably explains why their Trust is more obviously pro-active than the DT, because they are able to operate without big financial issues tugging at them). That’s how big the stakes literally are. Needless to say, the very big clubs would rather they didn’t enter the FA Cup at all, and just concentrate on the Champions League and Far East tours. But even so, there’s an increasing sense of rediscovering the magic of the FA Cup.

Obviously, it’s far too presumptious to assume we’ll even overcome Ebbsfleet, let alone get through to the third round and draw Manchester City. But if WFC in 1975 boosted their image by beating Burnley then holding Leeds to a replay and a deflected goal, who knows what just 180 more minutes of luck and concentration can give the AFCW era of Wimbledon.

And who knows, we may even be able to get further than Franchise…