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Bah, humbug

Apologies once again for any sporadic/brevity of what you’re about to read – but if any youngster reading this ever decide to take up football journalism as a profession, your Boxing Days will be as one of my agency bosses described this morning as “traditionally the crappiest day of the football reporting year … and it did not disappoint”.

There is nothing better than sending off four long reports off then finding an hour later the manager of one of them has been sacked. No, really.

Anyway, it seems that AFCW had a crappy Boxing Day as well. It pretty much sounded that the day was summed up by an eagle-eared supporter that the ref was referring to Southend players by their first name and ours by their number.

He was also the referee for the Port Vale game last season – if you remember, he was the one whose “decisions” made somebody throw that banana on the field out of sheer provocation.

And he was from Essex too. Hmm……………. Oxfordshire. Sadly not Essex as originally thought, although that would have sent the paranoia waaaaay through the roof…

By plenty of accounts, we happened to play quite well, although there are some games you’re just not going to win. Until we learn to deal with teams who know exactly how to play the referee, and we stop being quite so naive, these results are always going to happen.

Inbetween the wishes of the referee to enjoy the butt-plug the Southend players gave him for Xmas, once again it sounds like we’ve got a bunch of eunuchs up front.

The trouble is, you don’t know whether the 300+ minutes sans but are down to NA’s safety-first approach, where his perfect gameplan is to be 0-0 after 85 minutes, or the impotency of our strike force.

We have the following:

– a popular striker who hasn’t performed at all this season (Midson).
– a striker who only the management team seem to think is any good (Sheringham)
– a youngster who does the work of the other two, and will inevitably blow hot and cold (Smith)

And the last one pisses back off to Charlton before long.

To be fair to Midson, a lot of people were praising his contribution yesterday, although whether he realises that he needs to finally start taking the opportunities he does get might have something to do with it.

Whatever the reason, at least January isn’t too far away. The stat going around at the moment is that since we got back into the FL we have not won one single game in the month of December.

That’s pretty sobering to read, although in the previous two instances our squad was so shit that it was limping along to its major surgery. This time round, in the last days of 2013, we are once again hobbling – but we have a solid enough base to build on.

We’re not in crisis – yet – but we do need to make a couple of additions to make sure we’re not when it really matters. It really was no co-incidence that NA was talking about freshening the squad after the game.

Refreshing is a bit different to rebuilding, this current squad is all right but not much more. By the sound of the following comment:

We’ve got a plan that we want to put into practice for the second half of the season and we’ll look at that then.

It appears we’ve been planning for this for quite a while.

We can only guess what is in the pipeline, although one assumes the strikeforce will need a bit of the attention that the backline had in the summer.

At least things will be planned this time, and decisions can be made without having to rush out and buy somebody – anybody – just to plug the leaks. While we clearly need to get points now to finally get out of the current rut, momentum upwards can change quite quickly in the position we’re in.

A win against Plymouth and/or Daggers, and things start feeling better throughout the camp again. Yes, I know that’s a bit of an “if” right now, but if we had no luck against Southend yesterday, then at some point our fortune has to change.

Doesn’t it?