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We go again

I suppose these past few days could have turned out a lot nicer.

Your editor once read the account of a Man City fan who went to Old Trafford,  and saw his team put in one of the worst performances he’d ever seen in a laser blue shirt.

It wasn’t the performance as such, though that sucked of shit, but they managed to pick the worst venue and the worst opponents to do it. It was almost like going outside their home end with a sign saying “kick me I’m stupid”.

And then putting their thumbs up when they did.

Which is pretty much how I feel about Tuesday. No, I didn’t go, and nor did I watch it on live streaming. I decided Gander Green Lane was a better place to be (as did three other AFCW fans that evening).

But when the universal opinion of those who watched it say the same sorry tale, you don’t need to have sat through it to sympathise with the aforementioned Citeh fan.

Oddly, I had a bit of a hunch that it would be 3-0/3-1 to them. I don’t know why, it was an odd buildup to begin with. Very odd. It was almost as though it was a bit too low-key for our own good.

I don’t know whether borderline pretending the game wasn’t even taking place “helped” the performance and result, but it was stifled as much as I can remember any pre-match for a good long while. Perhaps ever.

No, we never want to play them, and hope daily for their demise, but like it or not – they exist. And they’ve now beaten us in two cup competitions, the second time quite easily.

And that’s harder to swallow than just simply mentioning their name.

What’s perhaps more annoying is that it’s yet another cup competition we’ve waved the white flag on at the earliest possible stage. Especially as other clubs in this division have managed to put out higher level opposition this week.

While it’s “only” the C1C, it’s still a competition with a high profile. I’m not bothered about Franchise drawing Yernited at the Wankiedome, in fact I think they’ll find it one of their most horrible experiences.

But as somebody put it after Tuesday, we never even look like we can cause an upset.

Since our FL return, we’ve played each season in three different cups, and in order of when we played them, this is how we’ve done:

First season:
C1C: lost to Crawley
JPT: beat Stevenage, lost to Swindon
FAC: beat Scunthorpe, lost to Bradford

Second season:
C1C: lost to Stevenage
JPT: lost to Southend
FAC: beat York, lost to Franchise

Third season:
C1C: lost to Millwall
JPT: lost to Brentford
FAC: lost to Coventry

This season:
C1C: lost to Franchise

Pretty dreadful record, eh?

OK, we would have beaten Coventry last season if Ross Worner had negotiated the A3 in time, and if he hadn’t ballsed up against Millwall (maybe this explains why Shea is starting games right now?), but the stats don’t lie.

Even in our first season, where we had the momentum early on, the games against Bradford and Swindon turned out to be depressingly familiar (and we were a bit lucky to even take Swindon to penalties that evening).

Tomorrow is the first round of the JPT draw, our potential opponents are listed here. To be honest, you might as well hope for a fun evening out at Brisbane Road, because whoever we play you know we’ll fuck it up regardless.

And even if we didn’t, we’ll end up drawing Franchise and stick our head in the sand about it.

What has become clear is that we already need a good performance tomorrow at Kenilworth Road. Two league games in, and already the mood is more pessimistic than it was this time last week.

I don’t think we’ll struggle position-wise this season, if we do then the conclusion why will be obvious. But we’re already in danger of possibly only getting one point from nine by the time we face Hartlepool.

And that does play on the mind. Lose tomorrow and we’ll be going to Southend with two demoralising defeats behind us. Our main problem this season may end up being motivation rather than talent.

Win tomorrow, and this past week gets put behind us very quickly. Even playing well and getting a draw will lift the spirits somewhat.

By the sound of it against Shrewsbury, the big bugbear was going 2-1 up and then becoming complacent. That’s one thing, but what is harder to remedy is self-doubt – which is something that sets in very quickly if you’re not careful and can cripple a side.

And there’s been a smidgen of that this week.

Neil Cox has mentioned about “being brave” at Luton, though of course it’s just words. Talk is cheap, especially saying it on your club’s official channel.

But if we are going to be brave, to come out fighting, to put last week behind us, tomorrow would be a good time to do it. We haven’t seen too much of that for a good while, and especially considering there will be quite a few who will have seen us at three away games in the past week come Southend.

Tomorrow is a big test, in more ways than one. It may not set the tone for the rest of the season, but bad habits are very easy to form and hard to overcome…

Finally, it’s going to be weird playing Luton again in the Football League. I’m sure many will remind them of a certain game at Eastlands, although like Brizzle Rovers will prove, they were a bit too big to remain in the hellhole of the Conference for too long.

It’s probably done them a world of good, and it would be no surprise to see them as a League One side in the next couple of seasons. Like Pompey before them, they may have needed to hit that rock bottom before they find themselves going upwards again.

Or in other words, a bit like us in 2002.

I hope people have got their tickets in the post, as it sounded like there were issues with that these past few days. It’s actually nice to have some game within the South East at the moment, as you’ll be moaning like fuck when we go to Carlisle early next month 😉

Oh, and one final thing tomorrow – is the mattress by the ground with the turd on it still going to be there…?