It took twelve years, three attempts and a lot of angst in finding out we drew them, but last night we finally – finally – did the cunts. On their own patch as well.
The day seems a lot nicer.
Yeah, it’s “only” the JPT, but somehow that doesn’t quite matter. First and foremost, it gets a nasty little monkey off our back – a hoodoo, if you prefer. We were denied in the FAC right at the death, and the less said about the C1C the better, so there’s a big sense of payback on that score.
If you haven’t seem them yet, the goals are here. The churlish stuff out of the way first – all I’ll say about their two goals is that I hope we were playing the occasion.
As our strike force has got better this season, our defence has gone backwards a bit, and our balls ups looked even worse on viewing them this morning.
But that’s the grumbles out of the way. Even if you take out the emotional baggage that will always surround this matchup, we went to the team that is fourth in League One, and we beat them.
You think of how lousy we usually are in any cup, and to make it through two knockout stages in the same competition is nosebleed territory.
It’s not on that link, but SSN interviewed NA afterwards, and he said that he didn’t need to say anything to the players because they were too busy celebrating. And while many (this place included) have thrown some pretty barbed comments at him in recent times, he got it right last night.
Putting the subs on turned out to be a masterstroke that Franchise couldn’t cope with. Our second goal was a goodun, but so were the other two as well. Actually, considering we went 1-0 then 2-1 down, that “R” word is coming back in our minds again.
Are things finally starting to turn? We’ll see when we
lose to play Bury and Wycombe, but you don’t win games like last night and fail to get just a smidgen of confidence building.
AA in particular can’t stop finding the net, and is proving why he’s a highly regarded L2 level striker. OK, I mean Akinfenwa, but to be fair Azeez is starting to look useful as well and is placating pre-season nerves about him.
Did Tubbs come on BTW? He’s somebody who needs to find the net again, although in his case that’s a matter of when, not if he does.
But you can analyse various things over and over again, but it’s all secondary to the main point of all this – we beat fucking Franchise.
Last night and today reminds you what being a football fan is all about. In WFC times especially, we never really had a proper rival. In the AFCW era it’s different – there are teams we’d be happy to beat (ie Crawley, the Axewounds), but we’d easily support them if they were to face Franchise.
Quite a few don’t like the use of the term “rivalry”, although my only problem with that phrase is that it’s too mild. Crawley are rivals, Franchise are the mortal enemy.
They are legitimate though, even if their formation wasn’t. And they have been legitimate for the last decade or so. Hell, they even have a bit of history now, including a promotion, a JPT win and a 4-0 win over Yernited’s third string.
No, they shouldn’t exist. Yes, they stole our league place. But that was the battle in 2001-2005, and this is 2014. Where AFCW are in League Two, Franchise are in League One, and we meet in proper, grown-up competitive football.
The term may rankle with some, but we certainly do have a rivalry with them. The reaction after we beat them (and their customers apparently think it’s their lowest ever point) proves that – you can’t fake that joy, and deep down we do care about beating them.
While I can understand some people treating the u21s as the real fixture last night, what’s the point in doing so? Come to think of it, what’s the point of the hardline approach a few took that last night shouldn’t be celebrated because it gives credence to Franchise?
The only people it punishes are themselves. Franchise exist. They’re not particularly liked, if anything they’re usually ignored, but they are alive and around. They aren’t going away.
Which is why us winning last night was the best thing we could have done. Trust me on this – the wider footballing world takes far more notice of AFCW when we’re doing things on the pitch than trying to fight the last war with Franchise.
Even AFCW itself was more acknowledging that we were playing them before yesterday, giving it a bit of buildup. Which is what it should be doing, and proving that you don’t have to like them to admit they exist.
Apparently, we’ve been mentioned on the radio, and in some quite unusual places as well. You can’t buy that publicity.
Today, our players are all heroes. Even the ones who helped gift them their two goals. And this picture of Neal Ardley after the final whistle says more than the last 700 words ever could.
A few other thoughts : there weren’t too many of us there last night, so those who wanted a mass boycott got their wish 😉 By the sound of it, there were more doormen and other hired goons than there were supporters.
Just hope nobody did try and get on the pitch from the upper tier though.
It’s easy to forget that we’re now in the quarter finals (southern section), where we can now face one of Leyton Orient, Northampton, Gillingham, Coventry, Crawley, Plymouth, and whoever wins out of Cheltenham or Bristol City tonight.
The obvious choice would be Leyton Orient away, although Coventry at the Ricoh will have a bit of poignancy. Needless to say, it will be Crawley away…
Finally, I mention the Ricoh because it’s ironic that
London Wasps are announcing their own franchising on today of all days. To be honest, there’s something more typical of rugby union going more down those lines than football ever does.
Northampton play occasionally at the Frenzydome, the likes of London Irish and Saracens have nomadic histories, and there was the rearrangement of the Welsh clubs a few years ago. All without much of a murmur.
Your editor heard a bloke called Dai Young shrilling the virtues of becoming Coventry Wasps on SSN this lunchtime, and he was clearly reading from the script from Koppout and Wankie almost word for word.
I’m not kidding – “busing people to the game”, “the alternatives was no Wasps”, “partnership” etc. Jesus, all he needed to add was “frenzy” and we would have the full set.
Their ex-owner Chris Wright sounds a bit like Uncle Ron here, when he said he wouldn’t have done it, although one of their players lives up to the stereotype of your average rugger bugger type.
Obviously, this is deja vu to any of us, but the trouble is I’m not sure if we’re going to see an AFC Wasps (or it being rugby, wouldn’t it be RFC Wasps?) coming up through whatever the rugby union divisional setup is.
Part of the reason why AFCW was a) set up to begin with, and b) has progressed to the stage we reached last night is that football fans don’t take those sort of things lying down. Anger really was an energy, and still is to a degree.
Do rugby fans share that? I’m not sure, and I would expect more of those who currently watch their games to go to their new digs. Unlike Franchise, I imagine it might be more of a success.
Of course, I could be wrong here and in a decade time RFC Wasps will face Coventry Wasps in their version of the JPT. And will get a last minute try…