And after the Wycombe game came…
To be honest, I’m in quite a few minds about Southern Softies 1 Northern Types 2 – we could have pulled it back at the end, our defence is looking (relatively) less shaky – not that that is saying much – we’re not losing games 4-0, and there’s a possibility that once we find “it” we can start pulling ourselves out of danger.
But I can’t help but think something is missing.
And it’s a big “something”. I’ve written that a lot about our games this season – there’s maybe some potential there, but it’s not being taken by the scruff of the neck and shook out of us. For those with long memories, how many times have I written that if we had a bit more spark we would have got something?
That was again the case today, although I don’t think if we got it back to 2-2 we would have really deserved it. There wasn’t that get-up-and-go that one would expect from us – I’m not saying we didn’t try, but I don’t think we had enough self-belief to pull it around today.
And that’s the issue facing us right now – the lack of this something that is making us drift to yet another game with no points.
It doesn’t help when you don’t have anyone up front, of course. Harrison was given the man of the match by the sponsors, although I can’t see how. Well, unless it was down to alcohol and LSD.
Many will say we had nice approach play, but we lacked a cutting edge. OK, agreed. But hasn’t that been the problem for a good while? Without Midson we have nothing, and even so, our top scorer last season didn’t exactly give off the best body language before he got sent off against Rochdale.
Today did prove a few things though. It pretty much hammered a nail in the coffin for the very notion that Bassey could be our full time boss. Even if Jacob Murtagh believed otherwise:
Sorry Jacob 😉 To be fair to him, the classified results did say we’d won 2-1…
But all we’ve done under Bassey is just prevent the back line from playing tippy-tappy football any longer, which is pretty basic stuff. And makes the previous negligence of our back line even more breathtaking.
But nothing has significantly changed under the caretaker, and certainly nowhere near the extent it needs to. There was a definite air of more-of-the-same today, when we need something a lot different.
This week, both Moores and Seb Brown have insinuated that they want Bassey as their permanent boss. It’s pretty bloody obvious why – he’s their mate, after all, and all the while he’s in charge he’s not going to drag them out of their comfort zone.
And none of them, especially Brown, have set the place on fire this season, so they’re not really in the position to select who they want giving the team talks. Let’s be blunt here – these players need a fucking good kick up the arse by somebody who isn’t their best buddy.
Whilst walking out of the ground, I overheard some of our fans suggest that the players didn’t appear to be playing for their futures today. Which when you consider at least one potential boss was there making a lot of notes is a pretty dumb thing to do on their part. Perhaps they really are in their comfort zone?
If the new boss hasn’t picked that up before he takes charge, he certainly will once the training sessions and actual matches kick into life….
Plus points: We scored. A bit more of an idea at the back.
Minus points: We lost. Still pretty much flat and end-of-an-era stuff. Probably wouldn’t have scored if their keeper hadn’t lapsed at the end.
The referee’s a…: Can’t see his name mentioned too much in my notes. Unsure if that’s a good thing or not.
Them: Yet another “traditional” Northern team that will never get relegated and who we continue to struggle against. Bit like Rochdale, “limited” but know how to win these games. And something we’d better learn to do, and quick.
They’re currently fourth in the (painful looking) league table, although whether they’ll be up there for long remains to be seen. I expect their budget and cashflow isn’t significantly higher than ours, but they prove how a smaller budget shouldn’t be a hinderance if you set up astutely and pragmatically.
Mind you, they did have a nice looking team bus…
Point to ponder: Do you get the feeling Warren Cummings wish he’d never signed for us? We can safely file him under “flop” – he’s slow, easily picked off by clued up opposition players, and is playing second fiddle to somebody who’s come up from our youth team.
Worse for him, he’s now being treated with open contempt by some of our fans, and I’m sure he was booed when he came on today. Apparently he got similar grief against Torquay too, and unless he has a Lazarus-esque transformation, I can’t see him being here come January.
What does he bring to the table anyway? Dressing room banter? I don’t believe he’ll be somebody who will be costing us only Â£400 p/w, and unless the new boss decides he’s worth keeping on as a defensive coach, we are pretty much lumbered with him.
He’s not alone, of course, and you have to wonder about the likes of MMK and Osano too. They’re injury prone, and taking a weekly wage out of the budget. If the new manager doesn’t think he’s some magician with injuries, and would rather have players that are actually likely to play regularly, then they too have to be having sleepless nights.
It may not even stop there. What about the likes of C-Mac and Prior? They will probably get another chance, but they might not have enough time to fulfill their potential, so to speak. Prior might consider himself unlucky after the Crawley player did him, but as Ross Montague and Paul Miller would tell you, that doesn’t mean a lot.
One thing is becoming clearer – it’s going to be a chaotic season…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Feels very weird not having SC and TB around any more. This was your editor’s first game since their axing, although to be honest I got used to their absence quite quickly. As with all these things, we have an ability to move on very quickly. (2) The absolutely disgusting amount of bird shit around the disabled area of the Tempest End. Seriously wish I had taken a picture of it, if it wasn’t going to make me heave. (3) 3405 there, and you do have to question whether the uncertainty around right now is putting people off as much as the results…
Anything else? I really don’t envy Erik and co about the new manager situation right now. It does sound pretty intensive stuff (the first set of interviews were yesterday, and the first one was earmarked for an hour and took 1h40…) and the potential to make a bad decision is pretty high. That said, one suspects the eventual winner will be the one who is interviewed and makes us think that the next person is wasting their time.
Needless to say, this is actually quite an important time for the club full stop, as for the first time its tenure in the division is in legitimate danger – and with no guarantee of us pulling out of it. Getting it right is absolutely mandatory for this season, and for future seasons to come.
Come to think of it, the club itself is having to do a lot of growing up pretty quickly. I don’t doubt that it would rather not have to find a new boss, and would have preferred a much more orderly transition on their terms, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we have to do it properly.
And it might have come at the right time in this stage of the AFCW era. Something like this also forces us to re-evaluate our direction as a club, how we go about it and what we really want it to be. No doubt we’re already rethinking about our transfer policy, and how the way we were doing it before is letting us down at this moment.
The longer we had held on not trying to make the decisions, the more ingrained the culture would have become and the harder it would have been to shift. Already the club is now having to prepare about how to provide support and backup for the new manager – an individual who (should) have more FL experience than probably everyone at the club put together.
To provide that support, the club itself has to raise its game, to raise the standard of how it does it. Not only will more be expected of those within the club, better has to be expected too.
Around the time of the managerial departure, somebody wrote on another place that it was time to kill off the non-league aspect of AFC Wimbledon. While that will take a good while to fully get out of the club, we are being put in a position where we have to be more professional nowadays. For some people, it will be a step too far for them, in both senses of the word, but for others it may be the catalyst for the club to really start growing.
Things happen for a reason. And AFCW are about to find that out…
So, was it worth it? Hmph.
In a nutshell: Roll on the last interview.