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High (Wycombe) Society

Amazing the difference a win can make to your weekend…

Sitting here on this rather bleak and wet Monday morning at SW19 Towers, it’s nice to be able to read comments on the game and hear things like how more pragmatic we were, and how we only looked in trouble late on.

I remember saying to somebody before the game how nice it was not to go into a game in a constant state of dread and almost wanting us to lose it. While we still have a lot more rebuilding to do on and off the pitch, at least it’s good to hear that we’re reaching something akin to minimum standards.

No, I wasn’t there (Palace v Cardiff was good though), as you can tell, but the general consensus seems to be that we didn’t try fancy, tippy-tappy football. And guess what – a game which a week ago we probably would have lost has turned out to be a 1-0 win away from home.

There are the usual caveats about this win, needless to say. One swallow may make your summer, but it doesn’t paper over what needs to be done – your editor remembers Steve Staunton’s first game in charge of Ireland, where RoI won and the goalscorers all ran over to the bench. We all know how that turned out.

We were playing Wycombe, who are in as much shit as we are, and like Chesterfield before them responded to losing to us by sacking their manager. And what are the odds that Waddock has already sent his CV to us?

And let’s be honest here – with all of the emotion of the past week (most of it genuine, although some of it coming across as a bit grief junkie), if we couldn’t have got a reaction at Adams Park, when could we?

But at least we can glow in a win again.

Your editor saw the clip of the goal, and what struck me was how much more of a vibe there was even in that short clip. OK, we’d scored, but while we always seemed to play within our shell beforehand, we seemed “freer” if that makes sense.

Even with Byron’s penalty miss – and boy did that look a straightforward one for the keeper – we still had enough in the tank to pull ourselves out of something that would have previously forced our heads to drop.

Start of a new dawn? Not particularly, but what it does suggest is what happens when you don’t do idealism – before the game, our former manager was pretty adamant that his demise was nothing to do with tactics or coaching.

OK, then. At least we now know why we’ve been so shit this past year, and why he’s currently sitting at home today waiting for the phone to ring from a Conference chairman. As an aside, anyone else amused at the way Bassey and Sammy Moore are saying that they owed Saturday to TB and SC? This may be me being cynical, but if they were so behind him, why did they play so shite that he had to go? Remember, it was nothing to do with his tactics and coaching…

Enough snark, we won on Saturday after all. I suspect that our improvement was as much down to potential managers watching us – Dennis Wise was reportedly there, ditto Lawrie Sanchez (making a load of notes, apparently), and no doubt other interested parties who are a Google away from being identified.

Some are already suggesting that we should pick Bassey. Which would seriously undermine not only our recruitment process but our credibility as a Football League club. Bassey is far too inexperienced and the club isn’t nearly developed enough for us to take a gamble on him.

And that’s what it would be – a gamble. While all managerial appointments (and sackings) are a risk, we’re still in too precarious a position to allow somebody with zero managerial experience and as much proper knowhow of the FL to take control of what will be a vital appointment.

Beating Wycombe with the backdrop of the last week is all very well, but we have struggled against the Rochdales and Accrington type teams, and they are the bread and butter games we need to start doing well in. We didn’t manage that at all under the old regime, of which our caretaker manager was an integral part of.

By all means treat Bassey as somebody who lined up for us in the CCL, but appointing him would be purely for sentimental reasons. And we’ve had too much of that attitude recently as it is.

Thankfully, it seems that Bassey himself is expecting he won’t get any interviews, of which these initial discussions start this week. Maybe even today. One suspects the club have had a few people in mind who they have hoped applied, and any eagle-eyed Womble may be keeping a lookout for the usual sighting of Erik meeting somebody in a car park in Acton.

It’s pretty pointless naming names, as we don’t know who has applied and who will want to work for the £15 p/w we’ll pay. Even so, with reportedly up to 30 “sensible applications” received before the weekend, and the usual last minute rush, we’ve got some serious thinking to do. Although doesn’t a manager who puts in their CV early suggest willing on a scale that a late applicant wouldn’t?

We will see in due course, but one thing is clear – on the surface this will be a quiet week for AFCW, but behind the scenes it will be one of the most intense for a while.

The less sentimental and more hard headed it can be, the better. We’re not going to get too many more opportunities to get the next managerial appointment correct this season, so let’s make sure we get the right bloke in because he’s the right bloke and for no other reason.

After all, imagine the feeling we have right now if we go to Rotherham and do the same as Saturday…