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One F in Friendly

And after seven weeks since Eastlands and losing Danny Kedwell and Steven Gregory and the rest of the players and getting in newbies and getting used to being in the Football League again, and………

League Two 2 Premier League (XI) 0

It’s almost as though we never went away, isn’t it?

OK, you can’t read too much into pre-season friendlies. They’re good for giving all the players a run-out, it sharpens the fitness and gives us something to work on in training, and it’s a nice social occasion too. And lest we forget the Derek Duncan Syndromeâ„¢ that can turn a player in pre-season that looks the part into a regular season player that looks a spare part.

But what did we learn? Firstly, how good it is that we’ve still kept most of the squad intact. Brett Johnson in particular looked as though he’d never been away – a future captain? Until he gets sold to Leyton Orient, that is. When all is said and done, we “only” lost two players we didn’t intend to let go.

Toks, Jolley and Jackson look like they’d been eating concrete all summer, and somebody obviously put something in Brendan Kiernan’s pre-match meal. You would think he would be one of the first going out on loan, but could he give us something extra up front that we’d never considered? He performed well at Crawley after replacing Drewe Broughton, although that evening even I think I could have done as well.

Secondly, our newbies look all right. If Max Porter and Charlie Adameno can put in performances like that during the season we’ll very quickly forget who they replaced. Jack Midson? Needs a couple of games under his belt, to be honest, and a few decent workouts against Staines and Slutton next week will help. Not to mention playing somebody like Charlie A beside him rather than on his own.

Baz Savage? Well, he’s a big unit isn’t he? Obviously looking to impress people as he didn’t dye his hair for the occasion. We might keep him, he might not – wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t, to be honest. Szymple Szymon the Pole? Again, another one who will need a couple more games to really make an impression, although I reckon he’s more likely to be in the squad permanently than Savage.

The goalie? Made some very decent looking saves, even if he does  have that South American “eccentricity” every so often. I’d expect him to sign up (with Turner on a long loan), though whether he’d want to play second fiddle to Seb is anyone’s guess. Hopefully with MMK and the return of Gwillim (and a new striker?) we can settle down quickly and stun Crawley.

Most of all though, there’s that little bit of confidence you feel with the squad. This was a decent enough Fulham side, don’t forget, and while they could (and probably should) have got a couple themselves, it’s still a scalp. It’s a real shame we only have Watford left who are of Football League standard, because these sort of contests will only help our player raise their game. And their overall standard.

Anyway, excuse the ring rust. It’s still my pre-season too…

Plus points: We won. Clean sheet. Second half. Nobody played badly. Good saves by the Venuzualan. Decent first half save by Turner too. Grew in confidence as the game went on.

Minus points: It’s only a pre-season friendly.

The referee’s a…: It’s their pre-season too, so we ought to cut him some slack on anything he does wrong. Which to be fair, he didn’t. As an aside, do referees suffer the same PSF trials and tribulations the players do? Such as getting a triallist fourth official…

Them: Not a bad side for them, really. I watched their starting XI against that Faroe Island side at Craven Cottage (£5 a ticket), and I think they suffered a bit of ring rustyness then as they did today. Hard to say how they’ll do in the Prem, although you wouldn’t put a decent Europa League cup run past them.

Decent enough turnout by their support too, although one suspects they’re saving up for their trip to Norn Iron to face Crusaders. Cue comment about us being better opponents…

Point to ponder: Afterwards, Cashy was on Radio London (tried eavesdropping in but gave up). Haven’t seen the WDON interview he did afterwards, but it appears we may be getting another striker in this next seven days. Presumably, this will be THE missing striker. Question is, what will this do for Baz Savage? Maybe we’ll keep him? If you think that last season, we had DK, JM, Nokkers, Luke Moore, Kiernan and D-SY, that’s six players.

If we did keep him and get this mystery new striker, that would give us the following: Jack Midson, Charlie A, AN Other, Savage, Kiernan, Luke Moore. So that wouldn’t be much less than what we had last year. When you also consider that we’ll tend to use 3 strikers a game in one way or another, maybe having that amount wouldn’t be so large?

In all likelyhood though, if AN Other comes in, as said above Savage will be gone. Unless Kiernan goes out on a long loan somewhere. We need another proper striker, but six up front would probably be too much. Well, unless we played them all at the same time and intended to win every game 10-9.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The AFCW fan who was being stopped, searched and photographed by a copper outside New Malden library at around 2pm. Blimey, in my day they just used to fine you if you took your book back late. (2) Still got bloody Blue Square Bet boards around. Hope we’re not saving them for this time next year. (3) Strange to see the John Smiths look so empty. Even when it’s got nobody in it, it still looks inadequate. Still, they need it clear simply to defumigate the smell of old men’s piss that builds up over the season.

Anything else? Not really. You sense there’s going to be some changes as a League club that may put a couple of noses out of joint. Even if it’s down to something like WDON being more sober and possibly subscripton only. Found out today that stewards will have to wear proper trousers and not dress like your editor, that sort of thing.

How will people cope with such new conformity? The answer is, pretty well I reckon. Remember when Dons Online ceased broadcasting? We coped with it. How did we put up with proper segregation? Pretty well, actually. We’ve coped with a TV gantry and being live on the box, and going full time, and Luton coming down. Hell, some people have just got over giving the back bar open to the carvery 😉

See, when it comes down to it, we adapt pretty damn well. If massive changes to the OS happen, and people  have to pay for a subscription to WDON, people will get over it. Nothing is forever, as newspapers are finding out (perhaps if they didn’t give their content away free on the internet, many newspapers would still be alive and flourishing today? Just a thought…).

I won’t go on a big rant about our comms, and how precious little buildup the club has given to not only today’s game but the practically sneak-in-through-the-back-door approach to announcing signings. All I need to say is that we need a full time comms individual in this day of instant news – there does seem to be an impasse between those who update the OS and those who could do a professional enough job in generating content (which is something FL Interactive would want for the new OS)…

Will there be moans and grumbles? Of course, this is AFC Wimbledon and nothing we do is without a hissy fit somewhere 😉 But like our team today, we get over it…

So, was it worth it? Yeah, guess so. Even if if it did rain for five minutes before the game.

In a nutshell: What close season?