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Stanley Knife

January. What an interesting month.

Players come and go, as do results. Seasons are made, and sometimes broken. The Magic Of The Cup™ is over for another year, although I can’t remember playing any Senior Cup competitions this season.

Yet sometimes you can also wait. For what isn’t entirely clear, but you do wait for something.

I suppose the NPL project is one of them. The stadium planning is continuing along, and it’s interesting the club directly addressed the flood plain issue on the OS. Given that it’s supposed to be one of the main issues surrounding the redevelopment, it’s a welcome article to read.

In both senses of the word. Firstly, and most importantly, there are no fundamental issues to derail it. Re-calculations are needed, ditto some more tanks to store the oceans of water that, er, don’t happen each time it rains.

I haven’t got the actual EA link to hand, but it seems LBM could ignore their recommendations anyway. OK, it’s better not to, and I’m in no doubt we’ll supply most if not all “additional information” they require.

Chances are, it’s as much to do with arse-covering more than anything else. The mob doing this for us are pretty experienced, they’ve done over 2500 of those according to their website, so we can assume they know what they’re doing.

In a previous life, your editor worked for engineering/architect companies of that stature, and if our advisers are anything like the individuals I worked for, they probably have their responses to the letter drawn up already…

Secondly, it’s part of the general PR campaign. I have to admit, I don’t think we’ve been particularly vocal, and sometimes it has felt as though the momentum is against us.

No, it won’t shut up certain parties, especially as they have their own agendas (and we know what they are), but they needed the flood plain issue to be a stone dead killer, and it isn’t.

Or in other words – their fox hasn’t been shot, but it’s limping around crying its eyes out.

I haven’t read what TfL said, but apparently it’s generally positive if needing some more firming up here and there. Standard stuff, really. I don’t doubt things have been missed, or not done fully, but in a project this size – are you surprised at that?

Granted, there’s still a lot more to do – and you have about another week to sign the #bringthedonshome thingy (and don’t copy the template) – and we’re definitely getting into the business end of all this.

But the club is now finding its voice – at a time when it’s going to need to use it…

All this does make one forget that we still have some games on the field to play. And in 2015, our record has been, well, shit. In all competitions, it’s P3 W0 D0 L3.

And if past form against t’Stanley continues, you can make it L4.

I decided not to depress myself by asking for reports from Carlisle, although it’s not the first time we’ve gone ahead after a minute then managed to lose the game. We do need to get over the post-Liverpool hangover, accept that Tubbs and Barrett are gone, and start getting points again.

Because I’m not in the mood for the fourth relegation scrap in a row. And we shouldn’t even be contemplating one.

We’ll be doing it with a new striker, one Craig Tanner from Reading. It’s an intriguing signing, and like Connolly not one that has been universally welcomed.

Mind you, many of the same people “underwhelmed” at Tanner were also the ones giving Azeez a hard time after last week, so maybe a mute button needs to be pressed.

What this means for the other AA and Oakley is unclear, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either (or both) go on loan. That’s probably what both need right now anyway, and it’s not like we couldn’t call them back if need be.

Both are effectively for next season, not this one.

Back to Tanner though. Another youngster though, to go alongside BMO and a 37-year old. Already some bridges along the A3 have been checked for suicidal Wombles.

That said, on the field is where it matters most. There were times this season where we used to look pretty ineffective even with Tubbs playing (and I thought Pompey’s striker was quite non-descript at Brizzle City).

And it’s true that in L2 especially, it’s very easy to pay big wages for shit. You can just as easily sign a Danny Hylton or Charlie Sheringham (stop shuddering) for what I imagine we’re paying Tanner and Reading.

We may have lucked out getting Tubbs to begin with, and there is an argument that what we offered him was too much for a player that underwhelmed a bit more than people want to admit.

Tanner is only ours until the end of the season, although Reading can take him back after a month (deja vu…). But as long as he scores goals and wins games, that’s all that actually matters.

Of course, keeping them out the other end is as important, and again the collective pants are getting soiled with our two dummy-sucking centre backs.

If ever a pairing need a good game tomorrow, it’s those two. Although that may not happen as apparently Goodman is struggling for fitness.

As is Benno. As is Phillips.

Will we get to see the Lesser Spotted (Will) Nightingale instead? Whatever, we might need some fresh thinking if it goes to shit again tomorrow.

Benno is close to collecting his last pay-day. Framps has pretty much taken his own one now anyway. Phillips is just a weird signing the longer it goes on, and we can’t even play Goodman and Olishaja together without one of them getting crocked.

I hope we don’t dawdle over this, because otherwise you can see the OS headline now : “Matt Mitchel-King rejoins the Dons”…