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Post Swindon musings

A couple of “I wasn’t there but I’ll pretend I know what I’m talking about” thoughts…

– Most of us would have accepted a 1-1 draw at 2.59pm on Saturday, and that we’re slightly disappointed we didn’t get the win is a good sign. That said, if the Twitterati on Saturday afternoon was anything to go by, we were riding our luck big time (as usual) towards the end.

It does seem that it’s now a case of when, not if, we get the next victory. Nobody seems to be panicking, despite the fact we haven’t won in eight games. OK, Barnet looks even more of a missed opportunity now, but when you consider they beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 away on Saturday…..

– The next couple of games are great opportunities to realise that there are other results possible than a draw in football. We all know what winning tomorrow will do, but coming back from Burton this Saturday with three points will do us just as well. It has been a bit of an upheaval recently, with players having to deal with SC/SB instead of TB, and it does seem that we put things on hold while he was gone.

I suppose we’re glad this is a find-your-feet season, as you can imagine how we’d really be feeling if we were in the same situation last season. Or even pushing for promotion in lower levels than that. We’ve learnt a lot since August, and we may have learnt the most in the past four weeks.

By that, I mean we’ve finally sussed out how to at least survive in the division. While it’s not perfect by any means, the rot does at least appear to have been stopped. Plenty were talking – OK, salivating – about our defensive performance this past weekend, and even Chris Bush and BJ got praise.

While we will doubtlessly lose 4-0 tomorrow and 5-0 at Burton, we do appear to be better than the opening two months of the season. Let’s not pretend otherwise here, we were so brittle at times we looked probable relegation candidates. It really was a big step, a bigger one than we were led to believe, and it’s only now that we’re starting to show we belong in this division.

It still doesn’t mean we don’t need to strengthen come January, but we should have some idea of who we should get in.

– It was interesting to note comments about how we looked better without Jamie Stuart. He’ll certainly stay until the end of the season, but you don’t expect him to be appearing in the 2013 calendar somehow. He’s the current day Paul Lorraine/Jason Goodliffe, namely a good servant who deserves one last season at the highest level but isn’t going to cut it beyond that.

Will he be ousted by C-Mac? Given that WHU won’t allow him to play in the FAC suggests they still want him back at some point. Whether he’ll be there (or here) long term is up to Big Sam, and he’s the kind of player who you wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see us go for in the summer if not.

Even if we’re going to see his last days in an AFCW shirt, it does prove there’s some decent talent out there that isn’t prohibitively expensive. WHU seem to be loaning out a couple of decent youngsters right now – not only C-Mac, but your editor saw Cristiano Montano play for Daggers on Saturday and didn’t look out of his depth.

If West Ham go up, chances are those youngsters won’t be around Upton Park for much longer. C-Mac is starting to look decent at L2 level, but at Championship he’d currently get found out a bit too much. Even if he ultimately sticks around East London, we don’t need to bring in shit/crocks in the summer.

– Does seem there was a bit of an issue (cough) with Swindon fans getting into the home end, and it’s the first time there’s been mention of it happening in a significant manner. Reports that a volunteer steward got punched for their troubles aren’t good, and hopefully it will now force the club to look properly at how we deal with this.

For the purpose of this particular section, your editor went to book a ticket in the JS for the Stanley game, and it’s amazing how easy it is if you’re an away fan to get in. Just your credit card is needed, and if you live semi-locally (or at least don’t give off the impression you’re an away fan) it’s almost like walking through an empty door.

True, some away fans on Saturday got sussed out after they bought their stubs, but they shouldn’t have been able to buy tickets for our end in the first place. We’ve been very lucky up until now that we haven’t been found wanting over it, and finally we got caught out.

We’re going to be tested twice more in this calendar year alone, with Oxford and Southend (who took over 1400 to Dagenham, by the way), and you wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen again both times. This is one aspect of the club where we have to be professional about what we do, if only for the safety/crowd control issue. Match tickets that look one step up from something you buy at a tombola not only look non-leagueish but are reminders of just how much tighter we need to be from now on.

Question is, how? The need for a “traditional” membership scheme has never been more obvious, although I’ve honestly no idea if it’s been seriously considered yet. If it means it has to be a separate entity from existing schemes, then so be it. Because I don’t think the police and local council are going to be too happy with dealing with this sort of thing too many times.

– Finally, I’m fully aware that SW19 hasn’t been particularly updated recently. Shit happens. Match report wise, it may be like this for a while, as even if I’m not working Saturdays it still leaves me with very little hope of getting to the longer away games. Burton is just – just – about drivable, but you try getting to Morecambe from SM4 with literally 24 hours notice…