What a lovely fortnight this has been – fourteen days without AFCW managing to ruin any of it.
No, this isn’t 2012/13 by any stretch, but I hope the pile of rancid goat spunk that was Brizzle Rovers has finally got out of our system. That horror show almost seems a lifetime ago, but it was our last competitive fixture.
With luck, the players have had a shitty couple of weeks, and can somehow find it in them to make that pay off with a decent result tomorrow. If nothing else, we need to start learning how to win at home again, and stop it returning to being Theme Park KM : the place where all visitors go home happy.
Make no mistake, Mansfield are bound to be clear favourites tomorrow. Their record against us in the AFCW era is P4 L4, and their previous six results have been all losses. If all goes like it normally does, it will be the easiest win they’ll have all season.
It shouldn’t be, of course, and you get the impression NA is pretty pissed off with that too. I shudder to think what will happen if we stick to type, although it might make the “out” list in January a bit more updated…
Thankfully, we’ve been spared two weeks of “we owe it to the fans” bollocks by our players, because they inevitably let everyone down when they say it. There isn’t much more in the way of excuses for them anyway – they’re good enough to beat the Stags, they certainly have the motivation to with the last pile of shit, and it’s not like they’re tired from about three games in eight days.
Or they shouldn’t be, anyway.
Would it be too alarmist to suggest a couple of players are playing for their employment with us come January? It’s the time of the season when minds are finally made up, and with both Sammy Moore and Harry Pell likely to miss the game, it’s a very good opportunity for a couple of the forgotten midfielders to prove themselves.
Francomb has to start showing why people jizzed their pants after hearing us sign him permanently. KSL needs to start getting into the swing of things a bit more. Luke Moore, likewise. It’s not like we’ll miss Pell on Saturday, given his recent performances, and another Saturday without a game might refocus him a bit.
See, I don’t think we need major surgery next month – it is inevitable that there will be a bit of squad strengthening, and maybe one or two higher-profile signings, but it’s going to be as much for next season as doing anything this campaign.
And anyway, how much nicer will the rest of the weekend be if we can stop acting like AFCW always does, and actually win a fucking game against a team on shit form?
Apart from that, it’s been reasonably tranquil around these here parts. I expect most of you have already signed bringthedonshome.org – if you haven’t, do so. It’s the initial steps in getting to where we want to be (in both senses of the word), and if we could get it up to 10,000 by the end of the year…
I’m sure with the upcoming hurdle with the secretary of state thingy there’ll be the usual mudslinging and histronics from other quarters, but it only seems to motivate us even more over it. And the club is doing a traffic survey on Saturday, so no doubt things are more advanced behind the scenes than we think…
The DT elections came and went without much of a flicker on the Richter Scale. No change there, then. Still, it was interesting that Moorad Choudhry got elected, considering that people with views about funding which even threaten to veer off the plantation have, in the past, failed to get on.
Then again, with last season still in the mind, and the new stadium project focusing more and more people, it does seem the more conservative types who bother to vote in DT elections have twigged it’s not the AFCW of the first FL season any more – let alone the Conference South.
Tom Adam getting ousted may seem unfair to some, given that he seemed to be around even when your editor was a DT member (eight years and counting now, I think), but fresh blood and even fresher thinking is never a bad thing at any time.
And in the case of AFC Wimbledon as it approaches 2014, more so than ever.
Finally, and with no little nostalgiaÂ – after disappearing off the radar for a good while, TB is back in football management.
At, er, Margate.
Guess no Conference club looking to get into the FL had his phone number after all, then. Still, I doubt few would have expected him to be back in “that poxy division” (as he so memorably said after we finally escaped Turdeyland).
One could have expected a Woking or Dartford, maybe, or an upwardly mobile Conference South side? Although given his alleged comments after we last played at Hayes Lane*, guess he could have forgotten Bromley…
* – speaking of that game, with all this recent match-fixing stuff going on (and especially relating to the Conference South with the two Whitehawk players) – does anyone else have that slight “hmm” now about it? No proof at all of course, and your editor wasn’t even there that fateful day, but then how many still wonder about Fash’s basketball exploits against Sheff United at PL…
Mind you, when he wasn’t even getting the Handy job, the only way he was likely to get back into management was at a team 12th in the RP. And if we’re being honest here, are you that surprised?
He’s the wrong side of 60 years old, his well known domestic arrangements were always going to work against him (unfairly or not), and there are now plenty of young managers who are coming through with coaching badges and fresher ideas.
And no, I’m not going to be cruel and say they know what a defence is 😉
To be blunt, his time as a top non-league manager has simply passed. And when he wasn’t immediately re-employed after getting the axe from AFCW, his stock was always going to go down quickly.
Indeed, the day he left us, SW19 wrote this following observation:
Maybe it was because he was an old-fashioned non-league manager? By that, I mean that he cut his teeth against the Wokings and Leigh RMIs rather than the ex-League sides that now dominate the Conference. I donâ€™t think he was fully convincing as a manager against the ex-big clubs in non-league, and needless to say you have to be exceptionally so in the FL.
These days, if he was starting out, he wouldnâ€™t have got much further than the Conference South in level. Maybe at one of the few remaining â€œtraditionalâ€ type of non-league outfit in the Conference, but would he really be at a Luton or Mansfield if he didnâ€™t cut his teeth 20 years prior?
Bold bit to keep the original emphasis.
Your editor was sad enough to research the ages of the vast majority of Conf/Conf South managers. About 19 or 20 of them are 45 and under, and of the rest, only one is older than TB.
That would be John Still, who didn’t make nearly so much of a pig’s ear of it in the Football League as our former boss. And arguably went a step up (in terms of stature) for a final pay day and may well be a manager in the FL with Luton again next season.
Age worked against TB,Â but just as fatally his last few months of his AFCW tenure did as well – that alone would have destroyed any realistic notion of him resurfacing at an ex-League club in the Conference. If you were a Lincoln, or a Grimsby, would you want to take a risk on him after that?
And I don’t think he would have been nearly as beloved, nor would he have got as much slack (or bending over backwards to constantly bail him out) at an ex-League side – or indeed, anywhere where the expectancy would be on him.
It was odd that none of the more “traditional” Conference outfits or Conf South picked him up, but they too are increasingly a young man’s domain. Christ, Salisbury have a 28 year old in charge…
Being out of a job in management for over a year wouldn’t have helped, nor there being no AFCW/Aldershot/Newport type clubs around any more. So maybe, just maybe, the Ryman Premier is his level now?
He wouldn’t be the first manager to find that out, ex-Villa boss Brian Little ended up at Gainsborough Trinity not so long ago. Though what he’s going to think when he walks out at Carshalton or ETU is anyone’s guess.
Especially when after that 5-1 stuffing at Valley Parade, he was apparently seen looking around the empty stadium afterwards with a rather sad demeanour, knowing he was never going to take charge of a club in a venue like that again.
Still, this is the arse end of 2013, and one presumes that Margate have a little bit of dough (relatively speaking) behind them – although they’ve also got seven points from their last six games. I see Stuart Cash has gone with him, so that’s that partnership together again. Presumably a few local pubs will get more custom now.
He will probably do quite well with them, though you can’t see him getting them above Conference South at best. Still, we’re bound to get a PSF down there and he clearly still has his fan club at AFCW.
Oh, and one more thing : just spotted off their website – I guess this guy will be looking to reminisce about his Football League career with his new boss…