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Pint of Carling

So, Palace away in the first round of the Carling Cup then? Shame we’re only indirectly drawn against them.

This poxy prelim tie we have to play has taken the gloss of what should be one of THE best ties we could get. The whole 1991-2002 period is worth a book on its own, and we should take a couple of hundred there. Hell, it even made the SSN yellow strap down the bottom under the “Selected Ties” banner.

It’s a mixture of “ooh, we’ve got Palace” excitement and “why have we got to play against Crawley first?” frustration right now. Which is why it’s difficult to get really excited about it at the moment. God help my mood if we do lose on the 29th of July…

Still, if we need an incentive to win at Broadfield for once, we’ve got it right there. Remember the dangling carrot that was Millwall away? Assuming we have any strikers still left at the club by then, it would be one helluva good baptism of fire to have. If that doesn’t motivate TB and the club to get the best players possible, I don’t know what will.

This will now become the most interesting pre-season in a while, as we know we have to make moves in the transfer window, and we have to get it right. Hitting the ground running is pretty vital this time around. Isn’t it nice to know that the as-yet-unannounced PSFs will have a bit of meaning beyond fitness for once?

Anyway, come back to me on the 30th July and let’s see if we’ll be taking over the Thomas Farley again, for old time’s sake.

Of course, the distraction of DK’s transfer request is still turning heads. After sleeping on it, it’s probably best for all concerned if he does move on now. We don’t really know whether it’s true he wanted a 5 year deal at the club – which we’d never give him – but if he did stay we’d be dealing with a player who doesn’t want to be here.

I haven’t seen the post-match interview at Eastlands with DK, but people have pointed out he referred to AFCW as “they” rather than “we”. Maybe in the euphoria he was dropping hints? If he knew he was going, then I do give him credit for stepping up and netting in the way he did.

The rumour mills are starting up about where DK will end up now – it seems that Gills is the logical choice even now. Peterborough have also been linked in the accurate world of Twitter, and of course Crawley won’t go away. There is a school of thought that if DK leaving is down to job security, maybe Luton would be a good place for him? Yes, it means he won’t be playing in L2, but they’re more likely to offer him a longer contract.

Speaking of idle chit-chat, and this is something we’ll have to get used to a bit more, some rather worryingly sounding rumours that DK isn’t the only one putting in a transfer request. How true this really is will be clear sooner or later. Even if it isn’t true at all, it’s still worth stating the following:

Any player wanting to leave AFCW right now would be absolutely fucking stupid.

As was pointed out a lot yesterday, there are hundreds of players looking for a club. Let’s be honest here, some of our current squad members wouldn’t get a sniff anywhere near another L2 outfit. They are mostly unproven at this level, and some definitely won’t make that step up.

These sort of rumours aren’t nice to hear or read, but there’s always a little element of truth in all of them. Right now, our players must feel they’re on a high in their career – the publicity of the playoff win was one that gained international recognition and their agents are already seeing dollar signs. Purely as an advising fee, of course…

One would expect that being on top of the world will go to a couple of players/agents heads here : remember how Dave Beasant thought the grass was greener on Tyneside? We got in Hans Segers and we carried on as normal as a club called Wimbledon could be. If a couple of players really do storm out of talks and demand to be moved on, get as much money as we can for them and get somebody else in.

Our current squad are good, but they’re not that good.

Still, it’s all part of the real world of real football that we now live in. If we have to start making unpopular decisions about funding, so be it. Our hard-won League place is too valuable now for dogmatism.

Further proof of that will come with the release of the fixtures tomorrow. Your editor will be in Scandinavia from tomorrow until Tuesday, so no further updates until then. By that time, we’ll know when we’ll be at Plymouth, when Barnet and D&R is, and what game we’ll be relegated by.

I would say we will have a new striker by then, but that’s just a tad too optimistic…