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Making a Prophet

You have to say, the striker situation at AFCW has got to the stage where it’s started resembling the drummer auditions in Spinal Tap. Has a team pushing for League football ever had the forward situation we have right now?

With this in mind, one could have felt legitimate trepidation when earlier this week TB was on the hunt for another front liner. The thought of yet another loanee striker who just wasn’t going to fully fit in, and act as a makeweight until the season’s end wasn’t a good one.

So, whether it was by sheer luck, timing or judgement, along comes Kaid Mohammed from Barf. And if you want to know why he seems familiar…


And to think on that evening coming back from Twerton Park, your editor was wondering how good it would be to have somebody like him.

So, what do we know about Mo? Well, he’s a Welsh Yemeni forward, he used to play for Swindon, he wasn’t on contract at Barf, and he seems to be a player who picked up a bit of attention when he was going to leave the West Country. Well, Grimsby fans picked up on him, ditto Bristol Rovers.

Perhaps most importantly of all, he’s not a bloody loan striker. As we’ve given Barf a small fee, it’s clear he’s now properly our player and not somebody’s cast-off. Whether we scouted him beforehand isn’t clear, we’ve probably known about him but he might have been on the “nice to have if available” section of our shopping list.

Anyway, fate (or Allah’s divine intervention, if you prefer) conspired that he was available and he’s now the proud custodian of our #39 shirt , according to the club’s Twitter feed, anyway. Time will tell if this is one of those signings that was meant to happen, but there doesn’t seem much angst in signing him.

Unlike other AFCW fans, I don’t think this lessens Broughton’s time with us. Yes, he was a panic buy, and his arrangements aren’t suitable at all. But he’s a backup for DK for the next eight weeks, and if he went back to Lincoln full time we’re back to 100% relying on DK. Whether we use him as a super-sub remains to be seen, it may be his best position (think Tamworth) and those with long memories know it’s better to have a donkey pulling the cart than nothing at all.

Does anyone remember in the DA era when he got rid of Darren Grieves and we then had a shortage of firepower up front? Even though Grieves was crap he was at least somebody up there. And let’s be honest – if Broughton fires the winning goal at Eastlands (for us) he will never need to buy a drink at KM again.

As for Main and Nokkers, if this isn’t an indication of where they stand now, nothing will. It now seems an end of season cameo is a possibility rather than a likelyhood, but it illustrates pretty clearly how quickly things change.

Have we made the first steps in planning for next season already? We’ll never know, but it would have been interesting to see if Mo was somebody on our shopping list during the summer. He has that Sammy Moore vibe about him – good player, making a step up (and yes, I’m fully aware of Barf’s results against us this season), but not a seismic leap like Jolley and Minshull had to do. He’s not a marquee signing, but the kind of transfer you do in close season that leads you to Wiki and think “hmm” in a cautiously positive way.

One question that arises from this is what our budget must now be. It’s presumably not so much tinkered with but skull-fucked, unless there was always a bit extra in the kitty for these kind of signings to be made at this late stage. Any ideas that we were going to pursue the plans at the beginning of the season, with youngsters bedding in for a couple of seasons have been torn up and tossed in the recycling bin.

Incidentally, I really wish TB wouldn’t make these sort of proclamations before a new campaign. As we see virtually every time, he ends up having to change his ethos when reality bites, and it’s used as a stick against him whenever we have a poor run of form.

TB’s plans didn’t last half the season, the signs of fatigue were already there before Xmas. Had we’d been about 8th or 9th we would have treated it as part of the Learning Curveâ„¢ but we’ve been in the playoffs – and many weeks at the very top – for virtually all of the season. It proves we have a good nucleus but we needed to act like an upper table side and not a mid table one.

It’s not a crime to change course during a season, being able to do so effectively is a very good skill to have. While they haven’t all worked out, the signings we’ve made recently have shown a tendency towards more experience – Stuart is 34, Gwillim is 28, Broughton is 32, Hudson is 24 and our new signing today is 26. You can assume in the summer we’ll be looking at more permanent (and better?) versions of our loanees, and they’ll be around that sort of age group.

I don’t think we’ve abandoned our attitude to youth, just finally realised its current limitations.

Anyway, it’s Rushden tomorrow, and with luck we might finally get a decent performance and a win to give us a temporary glow. While it’s not quite a case of the season restarting here (the games after Grimsby are the clean slate ones), we do need to do the footballing equivalent of turning your computer off and rebooting.

It’s hard to think that this time last week we were at Crawley, it felt a lot longer. As a result, this week has been a lot more circumspect, and perhaps we’ve started to regain our focus? We certainly need to, anyway.

Maybe Mo will play and will score? Although we all remember how the last two strikers who netted on their debut fared…