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Drewe Blood

In a development that manages to be a surprise and inevitable at the same time, Drewe Broughton has gone back to Lincoln.

And in a few offices and living rooms across South West London, an early glass of champagne was raised.

DB’s signing has to be one of the most surreal ones ever performed in the AFCW era. If you looked up journeyman in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of him jumping up with his elbows out.

His scoring record wasn’t good, and Lincoln fans seemed more than happy to be shot of him (wonder how they feel right now?). By the sounds of things, he wasn’t even our second choice – a supposed bid for Danny Hylton didn’t happen, and another striker was due to sign up but it fell through as the contract was being printed up.

With a few increasingly desperate  phone calls, we finally ended up with a “limited” pro who had to stay three days a week at his parent club. Not particularly ideal, in anyone’s estimation.

OK, he scored on his debut at Tamworth from the bench, and as sure as the evening follows the afternoon, he went backwards very quickly. Whether it was the arrangements forced upon or not will forever remain unclear. But we needed somebody in to take the weight off DK’s increasingly sore shoulders, and Drewe ultimately wasn’t it.

Of course, people had a problem with him because of a certain club he had a few games with. To be blunt, it’s hard not to think that a fair amount of people actively wanted him to fail with us for his Franchise dalliance alone. Which is expected, if not particularly endearing.

You can call it being principled, or being dogmatic, or just outright hardline, but in reading various reactions, it’s still eye-opening to see how many want nothing whatsoever to do with them. Even if somebody just played a few games for them.

True, one could understand it to an extent if it was a direct transfer between us and them, with money getting paid. That won’t happen for a good decade if it ever does, and certainly not under the current regime. But this attitude amongst some is pretty unsettling.

There’s even talk of proposing DT motions to ensure we don’t sign anyone who once put on a Franchise shirt. Whether it’s just posteuring or whether they’re actually serious, it’s something that I hope gets laughed out of court.

Why? While I doubt if it would actually get supported, if it did….

We would find signing players a lot harder.

With our budget smaller than many as it is, you tend to have to get what you can afford (or willing to pay). Why do you think we ended up with DB coming down from Lincoln every week to begin with? Imagine Kaid Mohammed being available but once played a couple of games for them…

– It would make dealings between the manager and the club more difficult, if not impossible.

TB (or whoever succeeds him) has to be allowed to do his job to the best of his ability. Managers are constrained enough as it is because of finance, so putting more roadblocks in front of him could make the AFCW manager position one of the hardest in football.

And believe me when I say I’ve been in press conferences with managers who wouldn’t be shy in telling the club and the DT members where to go with such a restriction.

– We would be hypocritical.

Jermaine Darlington and Jon Main, anyone?

– Who would we be really trying to prove a point to?

When THAT Franchise FAC game was looking very real, you could sense the bewilderment amongst AFCW fans when the press were saying how much we would be looking forward to it. Why couldn’t they see that we didn’t?

The brutal truth is that at the end of the day, the only people who really care about Franchise are ourselves. They’re not the most popular club, but the wider footballing world won’t look at AFCW fans blocking Franchise players and flutter their eyelashes in awe.

Do people want to block us signing those with Franchise links just to make them feel better? The only people it would damage are ourselves, because take my word on this – nobody else would be listening. All it will do is just damage the club (or if “the club” could find a way around it, it would damage the DT’s ability to make decisions), and we’re about to start the football equivalent of puberty as it is.

As said above, I doubt if this will get much traction, as we have a habit of doing the most pragmatic thing eventually. We could be a Football League club in a mere matter of months, and even if we aren’t we’d need to swallow some increasingly bitter pills.

What this news today does is put into sharp focus our transfer policy (longer term) and our attitude to strikers (this season). It looks like DK will once again be doing not only his job but defence, goalkeeper, groundsman and club chaplain, which is why we signed Broughton to begin with.

Fortunately, we do have help in Kaid, the returning Nokkers and – if need be – Kiernan. Oh, and Luke Moore, who I always forget in these matters. Mind you, so does everyone else. Simply put, if they fire, we stand a good chance of going up. If they don’t, we don’t. Same for the rest of the team now, we have a month to prepare so we can hit the playoffs.

Transfer wise, Broughton was the right idea but the wrong player. If you assume that next season’s scouting is already under way, what we’ve learnt from all this should be put on the first page of any checklist we have. You can’t scrimp now – even if you bring in a top rated player in the twilight of his career (think Lloyd Owusu at Lut0n), it would still be better than what we’ve  been doing.

Still, at least Drewe B didn’t complain, and he did try and make a fist of it. It didn’t happen, and we move on to the next new striker we bring in – whoever, wherever and whenever that will be.

As long as he hides any Franchise tattoos he has…