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London (is not) calling

And so the hope of silverware flies off into the distance for another season…

To be honest, there was nothing last night in the LSC that you wouldn’t have predicted from the last few years of watching these sort of games. A mixture of first team fringers and promising youngsters, together with a couple who you haven’t seen before and probably won’t see again.

And of course, a loss at the end of it.

OK, we’ve managed to avoid (?) the possibility of playing Ks at their place in the final, although that would have been a nice end-of-season treat for us. But yet again, one walks away from these Senior Cup games wondering what our approach to them actually is.

Last night saw the usual mix of Jack Turner in goal, Brendan Kiernan, Brett Johnson, Jason Prior and Kieran Djilali, plus the likes of Theophanous. They are – or should be – good enough to get through to the final, but it just seemed like a collection of individuals who only got introduced to each other before kickoff.

Which to be fair is probably what happened.

True, things might have been different had Brendan K scored rather than hit the post, but as the game goes on you wonder what the point really is. The likes of Turner, Brendan K and Theo don’t really get a chance to show what they can do, while the first teamers never go anywhere remotely like full pelt

BJ seems to be going through the motions and see this season out now (rumours abound that he’s currently doing the knowledge, so maybe he could jobshare coaching duties with Bassey next season?). Prior? I dunno, coming back from injury like he has isn’t going to make him conquer all upon his return. You do start wondering about his future already if he keeps getting injured and not getting a sufficient run of games…

Speaking of predicting the future – Kieran Djilali. It comes to something when all you remember from him last night was having a “discussion” with Marcus Gayle after getting subbed. Not sure how true it was about him allegedly trying to headbutt MG, but TB was seen speaking to him on the pitch afterwards.

Let’s face it, we won’t miss Djilali. The kid has talent, but the stuff between the ears and his big mouth will push him towards the non-league graveyard in a season or two. When your manager “throws down the gauntlet” to you, and all you offer is your version of David Haye vs Dereck Chisora, be prepared to do your future interviews with the NLP…

The wider question is what we now do with regard to Senior Cups. We are obliged to be in them, we would get fined if we don’t, but in theory they should be a useful tournament for us. That they never seem to be says more about the gap between the first team and the squads below it, and how we’ve never seemed to bridge that gap.

Actually, I suppose I lie – they are useful because it says a lot about the chasm between the first XI and the others. Most if not all of the non-recognisable names from last night aren’t going to be anywhere near League football, although if one watches reserve football from higher up that’s often the case anyway. If one is feeling snarky, one could say a couple of players you’ve heard of could come into that category as well.

At various times, we collectively talk about what needs to be done in the summer, to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of this campaign. Usually it’s about the first team, but it’s worth keeping half-an-eye out for what happens underneath it. What occurs won’t get the column inches on the OS, but will be an important next step.

Only this week, the club were advertising for u14s for our new Centre of Excellence, which is great. But what do we do when they start reaching 17 or 18? Our second string is currently in the Suburban League Premier Division A, and I really can’t see that’s going to help us if we’re in it next season. Whatever is on offer to us that puts us at a much higher standard should be taken with both hands. It wouldn’t matter so much if we then got tonked 5-0 every week, because it would then show what calibre of youngsters we need to start cultivating…

I guess we’ll see what happens in the summer, which sounds like a standard phrase right now. One thing is certain, we won’t be signing Pim, which looks like the rumours he was on a lot of money with us were true after all. We’re also trying to get in Billy Knott and George Moncur next season, although in the case of the former you have to presume a Championship side may come calling first.

And then there’s Rotherham on Good Friday. That’s Friday, and not Saturday as a fair few of our fans are saying 😉 Mind you, at least it gives our defence a chance of turning up on the right day for once…