A quick couple of musings before the 7th vs 10th matchup…
– The big news is obviously the first step towards going back home. And while there’s many more hurdles to vault over, at least we’ve finally done that first step of walking the walk.
It is a first step though, and one that could end up getting quashed almost heartbreakingly quickly. But Erik and others seem quietly confident on that score, almost as though when planning everything they had this exactly in mind…
We’ll obviously find out more when LBM officially announce things, but here’s what we do know : the plan is for an 11k stadium, we’re partnering with Galliard (who were also involved in the residential side of the Emirates), and it will eventually cost
us Â£16m* That figure may sound a lot, but it’s not like we’re going to have to pay it off all in one go. I would guess any community share issue would allow big investors (ie the people at AFCW who have a lot more money than they let on) to start putting in the significant sums of cash.
* – apparently, it won’t cost us Â£16m – it may be the total cost but our figures are apparently nearer Â£5m – more than surmountable.
Naming rights are, well, naming rights, and there’s also the little issue of what we can get for KM. So I don’t think cost will be massively prohibitive – I would guess that because it’s gone so far, with almost 3/4 years worth of planning, if there were really problems which were insurmountable then we would have abandoned the idea pretty quickly.
This is why I do believe the club when they say that our business plan is robust – over the last twenty years it’s not like we’ve done nothing and we’ve suddenly decided we want a stadium after all.
The other day, your editor found some WISA t-shirts with the stadium sketch of PL that were produced before 28/5/02 (still in the wrapper and pristine), and back then we were speaking with LBM about it. Although the difference is/was, those in charge back then were hellbent on Frenzyville.
There’s a lot of knowledge out there, and we may well finally get to see that in action. We should be cautious rather than optimistic over this specific development – a few have started running away with the idea that we’re actually going home – but one senses we’ve got most if not all things up to scrutiny our end.
Are we awaiting the last push that most of us will want to do in our football supporting lifetime? It looks like it, and I would genuinely surprised (and dismayed) if there wasn’t.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but we’re finally on the right road. Mind you, it took long enough…
– All this will be a backdrop to the Burton game tomorrow. Your editor won’t be there (I’m at the Kassam instead), but this is one of those games where you might not be able to confidently predict anything.
It does seem that we got over Chesterfield as one of those games, and while we could lose to the Brewers, we could just as easily win it.
Being at KM helps, and two long away games on the last two Saturdays has been unfortunate. Tellingly for this week, there doesn’t seem to be much radically altered in how we approach this game from last time out.
There’s been no interviews of going back to basics, or chest-thumping, or whatnot. Presumably because we don’t need to do that – I’m in no doubt we’ve looked at the Chesterfield game, as we would do for every other match played, and taken on board what needs to be taken.
But the continuity will help us. Going into the game tomorrow, you don’t seem to need to think about it. If that makes sense. We know the defence and Worner are working well enough now. We know that Midson needs to score, and that Smith can put last week out of his mind.
Things are, well, normal.
Actually, tomorrow will be just a good a test as where we really are as much as Chesterfield was. It’s not quite a run-of-the-mill fixture, but it’s not exactly Oxford v the Spirites in terms of big-gameness.
Beat Burton, and the confidence returns. Even a loss and a good performance wouldn’t be killer, although I think we don’t need to start getting into the habit of going on 3/4 game losing steaks just yet…
– Tomorrow also sees Chris Hussey return, and it’s not really the big deal it could be. I get the feeling from this interview that he knows it didn’t work out for him as much as it should have done last season.
And I wonder if his mistake for THAT Barnet game still haunts him as much as it does us?
Last season was pure hands-to-the-pump stuff, and I’ve no doubt he was brought in with the best intentions. But it just demonstrated why you shouldn’t sign players on the basis that they used to play for you.
If he wasn’t somebody who played for us in Conference South (or was it the Conference? So long ago now) then I don’t think we would have gone for a player who was more a left midfielder than a left back.
Had Kennedy and Fenlon been more available (ie not crocked) then we wouldn’t have gone in for him, and that both of them show more at LB than he did says it all.
We don’t miss him. But you just know he’ll have an absolute blinder tomorrow against us…
– One player who won’t even be on the bench is Charlie Strutton, who has gone on loan to Braintree. It’s a bit of a strange one, with Sheringham being injured/crap, but he’s a distant third or fourth (depending on whether you include Luke Moore as a striker) in the pecking order right now.
It’s obviously in our interests to have him scoring goals, although there will be some who wondered why we re-signed him in the summer if he’s still going to be a bit-part/work-in-progress type player.
Presumably he wasn’t a major drain on the wage bill, and given that we had to replace two other strikers as it was, letting him go would have stretched resources a bit too much.
If you remember how many new players we had to get in anyway, then Strutton was at least somebody we knew about and wasn’t so shit that he was only to be released. Whether he has a proper future with us I don’t know, I suspect he doesn’t, but for now he’ll do.
– We have signed Harry Cooksley though, after being on trial for us. Presumably he was found not guilty.
He’s obviously going to be more u21/development squad material, although he did turn out for Aldershot once last season. And time will tell whether he’ll make the step up to the first team.
But at least we can get these sort of players in and build them up these days. Cooksley can play on either wing, apparently, and you only need to read the rave reviews Fenlon is getting to show that it’s possible to develop your own and them coming good.
From what we’ve seen and heard of the u21s thus far, they’re playing ad-hoc games and not getting stuffed in any of them, so there’s obviously some talent there.
The point of this sort of setup is to develop individuals into bona fide first team players, so it’s best not to get too excited when we win a game 😉 One thought though – do Franchise have a similar team…?
– Finally, I was reminded this morning that a year ago yesterday, TB got the axe.
I know that we may still go on too much about last season, etc etc, but even so the guy seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. You would have thought that at least one club in non-league would have snapped him up.
But then, he might have ended up being sacked at the worst possible time in his career.
Below the Conference, the vast majority of clubs seem to be tightening their belts and going for younger, cheaper managers. There are no AFCW/Aldershot type clubs around any more, and we all know how he had a budget-busting approach to the rotating door of transfers.
When you consider that, perhaps it’s no surprise he’s spent a year out of work?
Unless he gets a desperate Conference/CS side soon, he may be best taking early retirement. If he ended up struggling with the demands AFCW put on him, he wouldn’t last too long at Luton, or Grimsby or Wrexham.
Dave Anderson could find a job in management as soon as he left us, because his level and management style was (is?) still in demand. TB is finding out the hard way that his isn’t.
I wonder what he thinks when he looks at how we’re doing now? Not what he tells a paper or a fan, but genuinely deep down. Very few of what you’ll see tomorrow will be his team, and the bulk of things we do now replaced what he put in. That can’t be good for his confidence.
Mind you, given how he’s struggling to get another job, one wonders if for all the chasing of his dream of being a Football League manager, whether he thinks it was really worth it…?