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Post-Chesterfield thoughts

So much for the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, then.

If this was the Premier League instead of L2, and we were first up on MOTD, I suppose we would have been told that while we’ve done well we haven’t really shown enough yet to be challenging for a Champions League spot.

Furthermore, it would have cemented what many people predicted before a ball was kicked, and that Chesterfield are pretty likely to stay there.

If we’re being honest, deep down we expected this loss. In fact, I’ll go a step further and suggest many expected a 2-0 scoreline as well. The fact nobody is really surprised says a lot…

And to be honest, I’m not sure what that says. Yes, we’re disappointed that we’ve lost. We’re also disappointed that we’re no longer third and instead dropping down to seventh (albeit on goals scored).

But your editor remembers the mood the last time we went to Chesterfield. If you don’t, you can relive it here. The vibe is so much different today that it’s practically impossible to get your head around it.

By the sound of it, we could have either lost 6-0 or drawn 2-2 – apparently, the Spirites had one of their best ever games for some while and their goalie obviously saw himself as the next Gordon Banks. Though presumably not going so far as to go blind in one eye.

And to be honest, I expect like Swindon and Port Vale, Chesterfield will be in League One next season. Some teams are almost destined to go up, and they seem one of them. It was no disgrace to lose up there, and plenty of other teams will come a cropper this campaign.

As for us? In truth, I think us being in third place at 1459 on Saturday was a bit of a false position. Perhaps us being seventh is a bit like that too?

Smith is obviously going to have games where it’s not going to go in. Ditto Midson, although some wag is going to say “that’s all of them”. Not me though.


By the sound of it, our defence was shown up for how slow it can be at times, although thankfully most teams won’t be able to exploit that well enough. What has been notable this season is how little that’s actually happened – needless to say, long may that continue…

Jim Fenlon did get some pretty rave reviews though. Too early for speculation about his future? That’s one thing in the AFCW era we’ve yet to properly re-educate ourselves in, although I still wouldn’t expect him to play every game at the moment.

I get the impression that NA was semi-expecting this result, and is merely moving on from it. Whether we’re better facing Burton at home this Saturday rather than somebody “easier” I don’t know. Lose, and it’s two games on the spin we’ve been defeated in. And then pressure starts building a bit again.

But draw or even win? We’re back on track, and all will be well once again.

There’s certainly little pressure on us at the moment, and we’re better off for that. Indeed, we don’t go into Saturday absolutely having to win, but it will be good for the ego if we did.

I couldn’t help seeing this from NA last week, about his relationship with Shaun North. And it does confirm the thoughts that he might end up being the most significant signing for us this summer.

This place has droned on in the past about why having a u21 setup is vital, including having an old hand like North in charge of it, but it’s very easy to forget that our current boss has been a proper first team manager for less than a year.

That’s testament to how well he’s performed in that time, but the guy himself is admitting he’s still learning the job. And you can bet this week he’s asking North the best way of refocusing the players for the game at KM on Saturday.

I don’t think NA will be poached by a higher level club at the moment. He would need another year at least with us to become more grounded and if we’re being honest here – he will see AFCW as his apprenticeship as a manager.

I’ve no doubt our current boss will end up in League One in a couple of seasons time (hopefully with us), as the guy does seem to be quite thoughtful and open to advice from more experienced coaches. I know the club got lucky with him, and he was only 18 minutes away from being a non-league manager, but somehow you sense he’s starting to get what he deserves.

Other thoughts : A quick look at the League Two table suggests that things are starting to settle down a bit. The top three right now are the top three many would have expected. You could probably swap the positions 4-7 with 8-13, and then you start getting into the also-rans.

Things can massively change, and probably will, but there already seems to be 3 or 4 teams for whom it will a v–e–r–y long season. And as long as we keep our form up and not damage ourselves too much when we do have shit runs of games, we can look on them from afar with pity.

That’s probably our aim for the next month or two – just make sure we don’t undo all the good work we’ve done already. I won’t say we could be safe by Xmas, but we can make 2014 a lot more “fun” if we see out the rest of what is actually quite a decent 2013…

Finally, you probably couldn’t help notice some seriously hyper ramping from certain other parties last week about a certain structure near a certain hallowed ground.

And all of it over a council meeting that was pretty insignificant.

They’re clearly being antagonistic, and the club is doing exactly the right thing by ignoring it all. It doesn’t need to respond, because it’s far more important that any plans stand up to scrutiny rather than running off to an obedient  sympathetic journalist at a moment’s notice.

If you read everything on this subject last week, apart from feeling giddy with the spinning, the most important thing would have been what AFCW are planning. The club does have an air of quiet confidence about what it’s doing, and it wouldn’t have gone this far without having a damn good chance of success.

Think about it logically : the club is planning changes to DT shares, things are at a “sensitive” stage* – which may explain the ramping from a certain other party – and the sponsorship of EcoHouse (owned by a property guy who also owns Monza) is not insignificant.

* – although given that Hammam used this very phrase every single interview between 1991 and 1996, that doesn’t fill me with confidence.

In other words, all signs point to just simply waiting for the right moment to set things in motion.

I won’t go so far as to suggest that club “knows” something, because that would be very dangerous, but it does give the impression it’s in control of exactly what it’s doing – and what it needs to do.

You may get an earache given the conduct of certain other parties, but we might be more worried if they were keeping quiet. It’s risky to assume that nobody else has a chance, but sometimes the best thing to do is say nothing…