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Valiant Effort


Yeah, it’s a crap headline. But it’s late…

To be honest, I’m pretty much in two minds about Near The Bottom 2 Up The Top 2. If at 19h44 this evening you would have offered me a draw, I would have snapped your arm off for it.

So why am I disappointed? More to the point, why am I annoyed that we didn’t get the three points? Oh yeah, our second goal, which seems to sum up too much of our season – shitloads of hard work (at least in the NA era), a bit of quality, a bit of panic and then one utter brain fart that undoes all the hard work.

Is that a good sign or not? Are we simply turning the corner and still going through some more pain in order to go upwards? Indeed, does us drawing against the league leaders and being pissed off that we did so a sign of immense promise?

Your editor saw the brief interviews with NA and Mickey Adams on Sky Sports News, and it was interesting to hear the PV boss admit they got out of jail. I won’t comment on the PV second goal, but I hope MMK’s shovelling skills are used to clean up the horseshit he left on the pitch after that.

NA’s comments were interesting too, insofar as he made a point that a couple of months ago we would have lost the game. I’ve no doubt he’s secretly fuming – again – over yet another lapse at the back, but at least he can still say we’re unbeaten in 2013.

I guess my feelings right now are one of two strands : our defence went back to the bad old days tonight – it was almost as if Stuart Cash had taken over training this week and did his usual turn-up-at-the-end. You really have to wonder how much longer MMK in particular is going to play, especially if we get somebody either a) before January 31, or b) on loan until the end of the season (a la Mambo).

If we had shown more at the back, we would have had three points this evening, and we would be wanking ourselves blind over it.

But on the other hand. we are still in the bottom two but we’re nowhere near being a lost cause. Yes, it’s going to be a massive slog for this season, but we’re not losing games, and we did hold the league leaders at home. Plenty of other teams won’t do that this season.

There are lots of games to be played, of course, and we are still a week away from permanent signings needing to be made (and I get the gut feeling we will make them). You can bet that NA will be making them watch the video at some point soon, pointing out where we got it wrong, and just as importantly getting it right.

It could have gone badly wrong tonight, but we’re pissed off because it didn’t go quite right.

So, what? I think we’re a side that still needs to “click”. I believe we’re more than capable of staying up this season, we’re certainly digging in and getting results (funnily enough, I also believe that the current bottom five won’t be the bottom five come the end of the campaign).

I believe that half our problems that came after their second goal was down to us losing our confidence, which can only come with the experience of not losing games. But we won’t play many better sides than PV this season.

The first half showed real, genuine desire, and PV knew they were in a game. Your editor saw them at Gillingham, and to be honest I feared the worst for tonight after watching them. Did they underestimate us? Probably, but as we know ourselves, you have to take that opportunity.

Those at the Wycombe game say that it was just silly little mistakes that cost us the win. But they’re costing us victories and not actual points, and there will be quite a few struggling sides tonight who will look at what we did and think that we’re not quite the pushovers we were earlier on this season.

Whilst walking back to SW19’s mode of transportation this evening (thanks Simon), I was overhearing the conversation of three Vale fans, who thought that both sides could have won it and us taking off Ajala changed the game for them. I wasn’t going to ask them about what they thought of Byron Harrison…

Speaking of the man who is lucky to find himself not part of a Tescos burger, has any player taken so long to fire into life? You have to wonder if it’s ever going to happen for him, and he seemed out of place again this evening. Yeah, I know he’s had a back injury, but he’s starting to remind me of Ross Montague. Stevenage fans are probably still pissing themselves that we made him our record signing.

Yeah, I know he’s our top scorer still, so god knows what he drugged opposition defences with. Maybe we ought to start speaking to a couple of urchins around the Cambridge estate…

So, I’m annoyed but I’m not depressed. We held on against the side who I reckon will finish either first or second this season, and I suppose we can’t ask for more than that. It’s Burton next, so it’s time to avenge the 6-2. Now that is a winnable game.

A few other ramblings of randomness : You may hear a fair bit about the banana that got thrown onto the field. Having nearly been hit with said fruit, I’m 99.99% sure it was thrown in a moment of madness rather than anything pre-meditated. It wasn’t a racist gesture. They got the guy who did it, by the sounds of it though.

Mind you, the reaction of the referee was classic – it couldn’t have been more camp and more suggestive if he had dressed up in a basque and hung around Portsmouth docks yelling “chase me” in a high pitched squeal. I presume he kept the banana for his own personal use later, although I suspect he wasn’t going to eat it…

The crowd was a bit low, although considering it’s been bloody awful weather, it’s on a Thursday evening and it was on the telly I suppose it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a soul-destroying experience being there, anyway.

Finally, there was yet another leaflet handed out, this time it’s called the We Are Wimbledon Fund. If you didn’t see it, or you avoid the OS, it’s basically another fundraising effort (well, duh) to boost the transfer kitty by an extra £400,000 each year

OK, being a L2 side ain’t cheap, and it’s obviously we need to improve on that score. And it is certainly a lot more formal and “proper” than the (quite simply tinpot) approach of a bucket collection to do the self-same thing.

The thing is, how likely is this going to raise £400k a year? I could mention the “In The Wider Interests” attempt to rename the old JS which has raised a grand total of…… £1,736. That doesn’t seem too promising a benchmark for anything as ambitious as that.

Granted, allowing people to make one-off donations and/or direct debits will help, but one can’t help but think it’s the same old approach of digging into the pockets of the supporters yet again. A few people will put the usual amount of money in, but the rank and file will have probably put the leaflets in the recycling bin by the end of the week.

Is it simply going to end up being a case of the likes of Mike R putting in five or even six figure sums yet again to make up the balance? And if so, isn’t that just tiptoeing around the whole Resolution 10 thing? Obviously, if we can persuade supporters to put in £400k per year, then fine, but the only time I can really remember fundraising on that scale ever reaching such numbers via “the fans” was the original £1m for the KM lease just short of a decade ago.

And back then the whole AFCW thing was fresh, and people weren’t nearly so worried about their jobs and mortgages and anything else like that.

I’m going to stroke my chin and suck through my teeth, and give a semi-patronising response of “we’ll see if this works”, although I do have to question the statement that £400k equals 1000 of our fans donating the cost of half a cup of coffee each day. So people pay £2.20 or so for a cup of coffee? Mind you, being a tea drinker I’ve no idea what Starbucks and co charge for their finest Colombian.

Come to think of it, aren’t there simply too many different fundraising ventures anyway? We’ve got this, the Golden Goals, the Dons Draw, the “In The Wider Interests…” thing, not to mention the usual cost of tickets, programmes, bar receipts and occasional raffles and bucket collections. And DT membership, which for most people is just a donation. Oh, and whatever the 1889 Yellow And Blue Club comes up with.

Why not just about 1 or 2 at the most? Given that funds for most of our fans are pretty limited, not to mention the usual problems with the milchcow approach. As a throwaway example, how much would a percentage of takings/winnings from the Dons Draw directly into the transfer fund raise? It’s no co-incidence that both the DD and Golden Goals are the biggest and most consistent forms of fundraising in the AFCW era. It’s pretty bloody obvious why, but the smartest fundraising has always come from giving donors something in return.

Don’t believe me? Just look at any advert from a betting company with their £xx free bet. The punter gets something in return and the bookie gets a new customer with the unsellable asset of goodwill.

You could push a revamped Dons Draw as a “you can win £1000 but also help the club’s transfer kitty”, and I bet you wouldn’t get much less than yet another load of leaflets handed out asking for your direct debit details. Rather than just beating people with a stick, try giving them a nice carrot to try and munch on.

And who knows, it may raise enough to finally replace MMK…