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Welcome back to Hell

Bloody hell. Not only did I forget that the Capital One Cup draw was this morning, I also forgot that we could have drawn THEM in it.

And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

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At the Wankiedome. First things first. Unlike some (many?) of our fans, I don’t think these things are fixed. There was always a reasonable chance of getting this fixture, especially when we’re unseeded, they’re not, and it’s a regional draw.

Yes, we’d all prefer Charlton, or Millwall (again), or one of the Midlands clubs. But equally we could have got Yeovil. Second things second. The reaction to this has been very interesting – yes, there’s a lot of people bringing up their breakfast right now, but this time around it feels somewhat different. You won’t need me to remind you exactly how you felt when we got through to face them the first time, though oddly I still remember the “You Franchise bastards, we’re coming for you” chant at the York replay.

It’s not nearly as much of a sickener this time round, simply because of something SW19 has made mention of in the past – this will be the second time we will face them, and we’ve had the cathartic moment two seasons ago.

We now know what to expect. We know that Wankie will try and make this out to be “Dons v Dons mark 2”, but it’s only us who pay attention to him these days. And to be honest, I don’t think we do that so much now. Like last time, people should be left to their own feelings as whether they want to a) go, and/or b) watch it on telly. That’s why there wasn’t a split in the fanbase, when there could have been divisions that still exist today. People shouldn’t be lectured, or hectored, into boycotting if they do want to go. That argument got settled when 3000 went up there last time anyway.

No, I won’t be going. I may (hopefully) be working that evening anyway. And to be honest, we won’t take even half those numbers this time around. In fact, we could struggle to take four figures. Many people went the first time because they wanted to go once and experience an occasion that had history behind it – whether you want to admit the significance of it or not. Some weren’t even AFCW fans. Why would those people go again? It’s a pain in the arse to get to in the evening, it’s the League Cup and it’s quite possible it will be televised again. That’s the increasingly obvious line of thought many are taking – get on TV and get the TV money.

Tramadol 50 Mg Buy That’s assuming Sky think it’s worthy of showing, that is. Your editor has had SSN on in the background since I’ve been writing this, and it has been mentioned just once since the announcement. And Alex Hammond said “it could be a tense one…” Outside the AFCW bubble, one has to wonder how important this fixture really is. It’s an intriguing one for the neutral, undoubtedly, but then Cambridge v Birmingham City is too. Last time out, it was interesting how quickly it was forgotten in the wider footballing world after the circus left town. We might get on telly, but only if there aren’t any better games on. The most important thing about this fixture is that it’s perfectly winnable. We will (or should have) a better side this time around, and if we add the second decent striker to Tubbs, then who knows? I think that is what aggravated me most about last time there – we lost in the last minute to them. I want revenge, and a painful one at that. Look at the fixture this way – we’re due a cup run or two, and we are also due a “big” result. What better place to get both of those than the Wankiedome? The first round of the League Cup always throws up upsets, and just think of the boost to us if we do beat them. Especially if we go through and draw Manchester United. The squad and NA have a very good incentive to get off to a good start next season now, and you would hope that’s the mindset that will get drilled in. That we’ve got under two months to digest this fixture (rather than the two weeks last time) is going to be too much for a couple of people, but it gives us something to aim for.

It’s all very well for Bassey on Twatter to say “day ruined”, but he can help towards making the evening of the fixture one very happy one indeed.

Our rivalry with them will never be a “normal” one, as unlike just about every other rivalry we actively want them to die. Perhaps literally. But all the while we get to play them we should use it to our advantage.

Arguably, the money from last time helped us keep our Football League status. We need a motivational result after the durge of last season, and beating them will do exactly that.

If we can cause them a couple of injuries in the process, so much the better.

The fixtures come out tomorrow, and I don’t think we should let this game overshadow both that and further signings. It’s not just another fixture, but it’s equally not worth crippling yourself over.

Finally, and a quick change of subject – it seems that we’ve unfortunately lost Shaun North, if this is anything to go by. It would be a genuine loss to us, especially asĀ  he had more coaching/managerial experience than the rest of the club put together.

He had links in the West Country, and to be honest I don’t blame him for taking the position. If anything, he should have been more involved with our first team more…

So we have to replace him a year after we got him in. If NA is sensible, he’ll go for another experienced old hand who knows what is really required from youngsters to break into League Two.

There will be plenty of clamour for Chris Perry, and quite simply I hope we give him a wide berth. Our development squad is too important for us to put in somebody with precious little experience, and once again it would be bringing in somebody purely for sentiment and emotion.

If we must bring in ex-Dons, then put them alongside people who know the mechanisms of football at this level. Look at how NA struggles at times when he’s run out of ideas and there’s nobody with experience next to him…