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End of an era

There will plenty of times to write about what is bound to happen today, or at the very latest tomorrow, but I suppose it’s good that I wasn’t at KM last night after all.

First things first – when your (soon-to-be-ex) manager does a lap of honour with tears in his eyes, and won’t even do the press conference because he is inconsolable, it’s pretty much game over.

Everything that was tried just didn’t work out in the end, and while it would be cruel at this time to suggest he was a failed Football League manager, that’s ultimately what happened.

Thankfully, at least in terms of the whole six five years of TB’s reign and not just the last 12 months, he didn’t get people baying for his blood in the end. He wouldn’t have deserved that. Instead, when a couple of months is up and we’ve forgotten his record in the FL, he’ll be in the Allan Batsford category of permanent legend.

Whether you can say that the reaction to last night is as much a symptom of how we got into this mess in the first place – namely, the emphasis on sentiment and emotion – is up for debate. But he’s said his goodbyes to everyone, he’s gone out without people hating him, and he can now go on a much needed holiday.

And yes, this should have been done at the Shrewsbury game.

There won’t be too much discussion of the game itself, and you’re looking in the wrong place for that. But by those who have made comment on the actual ninety minutes, it was a case of how flat and disorganised again we were.

I haven’t seen their goal, courtesy of Rene Howe’s arse, but when you again rely on the goalie to keep the scoreline respectable, that’s why we’re replacing the nameplate on the door of the manager’s office right now.

It would be unfair to comment on individual players, although Harrison and Jolley were getting namechecked. And not in a positive way, too. But we simply failed to raise our game enough – again – to get anything.

When you’re 1-0 down at home, if you’ve got anything about you then you at least make the effort. To be fair, like we did against Rochdale, although I suspect that was as much down to Midson’s sending off as anything.

While the main problem this season is going to be partly rectified either today or tomorrow, the focus now goes back on the players again. Apparently, many of them went out of TB’s office “bleary eyed” after the game, which obviously means that they’re not going to see him any more.

And you know what? I hope the next manager gives them the arsekickings of all arsekickings.

If the whining, precious little toddlers that make up our squad don’t like it, then tough fucking titty. The delicate, fragile flowers haven’t done enough this season to justify their wages, regardless of who has been taking their team talks.

The next manager won’t be as “nice” as TB, and for that the players get exactly what they deserve. No doubt we’ll get tweets in the next couple of weeks saying how hard training is nowadays – if that’s the case, then good.

See, the onus is back on those who put the shirts on again. They have to prove themselves again, especially to a new man who may not think much of them. They are down the bottom for a reason, and there is now no hiding place for them again.

How a new manager lifts things remains to be seen, but one can reasonably expect either a new manager boost or some serious changes in January. It’s not like the players have done enough to hold that off, and if there’s any collateral damage I won’t have any sympathy.

I want AFCW to be a Football League club, and we need to upset a couple of delicate types to ensure that.

It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but it needed to happen in so many ways. There’s going to be a fair amount of blubbing, some anger, the odd lashing out or two (which again illustrates why you should not get emotionally attached to a manager, no matter how “nice” he is). But we will move on, and be all the better for it.

Mind you, times like this make you realise how quickly things can change in this game. Our first competitive game of the new season was five weeks ago yesterday, at Stevenage, and I wouldn’t have predicted it would have come to this so soon. But that’s football, and that’s the reality of life at AFCW – we do what we have to do because we have to do it.

To any outsiders who may be looking in, wondering why our manager is about to be elbowed after just eight games in – it’s not just the eight games of this season thus far. Although that in itself would cause alarm bells at most clubs in the FL.

It’s also down to a flat and lifeless pre-season, which came after a very strange close season when we released 14 players and failed to adequately replace them.

Which came after an end of season that managed to see us lose 4-0 to Barnet, which cancelled out some of the better results one sees towards the season’s end.

Which came after the horrible time where our soon-to-be-ex-manager was one game away from losing his job, after a run of seven games without a win (that included us losing to Hereford too).

Which came after the first massive cull of players that gave us a run of three games where we thought we were on the right track.

Which came after going between October and January 14th without a win.

And in all that time and the post-Eastlands bounce between August and October too, with no improvement in all of that time about how to operate a defensive unit.

This is why we’re here right now, and this is why Terry Brown was in tears yesterday.

At least we have something to look forward to again, even if it’s only Simon Bassey taking charge on Saturday (I won’t be there, sadly, but this has now got the potential to be one of the most enjoyable away days for a while). While I’m sure he’ll only be kept on for “continuity” for a while, our plight has become such that even he might be able to conjure up something a bit different for this weekend.

There’s going to be plenty of column inches written in the upcoming few days, and some of what is said won’t be to everyone’s liking. But the closing of a chapter has that effect, and once people get various things out of their system, we can move on.

After all, it’s not like we have much choice…