Well, I needed today in so many ways. Unfortunately, if you can guess the acronym in the header*, AFCW managed to give me a predictably shitty end to an extremely shitty week.
* – to save you Googling if you don’t know it, it means Situation Normal : All Fucked Up. It’s an acronym used in armies around the world, especially in the US, and it basically means that if everything is going badly, it’s going normally.
Firstly, thanks to everyone today who wished me well and all that. I did need something “normal” to go to and do today. And thanks also to AFCW for giving me Charlies 1 Stanley 1 as a distraction.
Let’s be honest – we were shit. Your editor last saw us play at York, and even then we weren’t entirely wonderful. Today though, I sense we got away with it a bit against the bottom team who had ten men.
Yes, we had to rely on Benno in the 85th minute against a team that will likely be relegated and weren’t playing with the full eleven.
All points are valuable, and all that, but at last we can fully put to rest the notion that we’re playoff contenders. We’re not, in fact we’re nowhere near. Neither our midfield nor our front line are anywhere near the quality of that level.
Only Porter seemed much cop in midfield. Why has Pell gone off the boil so much? Neither Moore did much, and one has to wonder if both of them are trading off their reputation a bit. Why not put in Sweeney and (when fit) Francomb?
Speaking of reputation – is it me or is Midson getting a bit more of a free pass from people than perhaps he should get? He managed to do two miskicks in the first ten minutes, then I can’t really remember what else he did.
Smith? You can see why he’s way down the pecking order at Charlton. He’s another one who’s gone off the boil, but then our strikers generally seem as potent as somebody who’s just had their dick removed.
Strangely, I don’t think our defence and GK are that bad, for the division, but yet again we go behind and yet again we have to chase the game. And you have to wonder exactly why that happens.
It sure as hell ain’t by accident.
Which leads us to the man who celebrated his first anniversary with us on Thursday. There seem to be a few current complaints that NA is too negative, too unwilling to get the players to take the game to the opposition (needless to say, he was credited with changing things against Scunny and Burton which help us win).
If he did set the side out today with a safety-first attitude, then the result today was his own fault. This isn’t Chesterfield, this is Accrington Stanley. Who are bottom of the pile for a very good reason.
Ardley needs to freshen up ideas, and quick. He sounded a bit exasperated and staring at a brick wall if his post-match comments were anything to go by – and he needs to rethink and reboot.
Since your editor went up to York, our record is W1 D1 L3 and we were very lucky it wasn’t a fourth loss. I don’t believe we’re bad enough to be a relegation threatened side, but quite honestly we may well have been on today’s showing.
Why not bring back Strutton from wherever he is and put him in? Whether you put him in with an underperforming Midson or an underperforming Smith is up to you, but both of them need a fucking good kick up the arse.
We can happily write off Sheringham,Â so maybe we’ll have to do what I hope we wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) need to do and bring in a striker on loan? Though that’s fraught with dangers.
Why not start with Sweeney? Or Fenlon? Or Arthur? Rotate this squad, make them realise that they’re too comfortable and they’re not nearly as good as they think they are.
Maybe even throw in a u21 player if he’s ready? This current lot play with too much fear and the way that we seem to improve whenever we make changes hints at that.
For NA though, he’s now got to start earning his corn. Today was shocking, and those who were at the Northampton game will say this wasn’t a once-off. This is his team now, and he has to start getting the best out of them again.
Because trust me, nobody is in the mood for yet another struggle for survival when we were promised we wouldn’t get one this campaign.
It’s all very well somebody like Pell saying before the game that they owe us a performance, but they’re just empty words when they step onto the field and give us nothing of the sort. We had too much of that last season, and this time patience will genuinely run thin if it continues.
We’ve now had three games against three of the sides at the bottom and we were five minutes away today of losing them all. Normal service is well and truly resumed…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Benno’s goal.
Minus points: Everything else.
The referee’s a…: He was certainly getting a lot of stick from us, although at the same time he didn’t hesitate in sending their bloke off. As usual with refereeing performances, usually when he gets blamed for a team playing badly it’s not usually his fault…
Them: Insert potentially dubious joke about the anti-homophobia campaign here, especially how often they went down injured.
To be honest, I can see why they’re bottom with only three points, because if we had a bit of courage about them we would have still won reasonably comfortably today. That we had to rely on their bloke getting sent off says more about us than them, needless to say.
Give them their credit, considering Accrington is about the size of Carshalton they’ve done well in surviving in the Football League up until now, although one senses they’re probably too small as a club to eventually go the same way as Barnet.
And yes, we still haven’t beaten them…
Point to ponder: Did hitting third spot do us a lot of damage after all? It gave plenty of people – presumably on the field as well as in the stands – a bit of giddyness and delusion of grandeur.
We have certainly lost the early season trait of hard work and taking games by the scruff of the neck – and by fuck do we need to get back to basics and formulate plans A, B and C again.
Next week we’re at Morecambe, and now the pressure is properly on us to get ourselves out of this rut before it properly turns damaging. It won’t hurt to make some changes, perhaps some unpopular ones too, as quite simply labouring to a point against t’Stanley isn’t good enough.
Even if we change things and don’t get the win, if we play better then at least it’s something. Our confidence is sliding away in front of our eyes, and as we know it’s pretty bloody hard to get that back when it happens.
Indeed, one wonders if the players who started today know they blew their best chance before NA finally gets his size 9 steel toecap out? We have gone backwards, and the good start seems all too far away…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Our first ever point against t’Stanley. Perhaps this was a better result than we thought? 2) It was Korea Day, hence Nongshim distributing their goods (though I think their noodles aren’t as good as Mama), and apparently Korean beer on sale in the bar. I would insert a joke about North Korea here, but their national team actually got to the World Cup in 2010. 3) The inflatable shootout thingy managed to deflate before the game. No symbolism here, honest.
Anything else? Apart from today at KM being the best place I could have been today? Strange as it may seem, I think I appreciate letting off steam (ahem) about how utterly whale wank it was.
TBH I’m not sure if there’s much else to say. Like just about every other club anywhere, people are generally (and genuinely) very nice when the shit hits the fan in the way it did for me this week. Mind you, it always amazes me how many people do bear burdens of looking after old/sick relatives in life generally, not just those who go to games.
I think today also reminded me just why people go to football in the first place – it’s often said it’s a release from week-to-week stresses, but you don’t really appreciate that fully until such time as you really need that release valve.
To a non-football fan reading that, it would seem trivial and somewhat primitive, but for the millions in the wide cross-section of society we call football supporting, that makes immense sense.
It would have made my life better this weekend if we’d won, but it wasn’t to be. I’m hoping to get back my mind back on track and start writing about the things like the booklet for the stadium that got dished out today, and hopefully wonder why we are playing so shit right now.
That may take a little while, perhaps, so if things are sporadic on here for a bit then I’ve got other things to do. But I’m going to be glad when I do…
So, was it worth it? Surely taking a point from t’Stanley was worth it? Surely?
In a nutshell: Trouble at mill.