Still unbeaten in 2016…
When it comes to writing “2015” and “AFC Wimbledon”, it’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a mixed year. Or at the very least a 12 months that has its two biggest events at either end of it.
It’s easy to remember that this time last year, we were gearing up for the Scousers at KM. One could argue that once Steven Gerrard did that free kick, the campaign ended there and then.
Reading back over what was written for 2014, back then we were discussing Tubbs leaving, the absence of Akinfenwa and the possibility of Chelski buying KM.
Oddly enough, today there’s saloon bar talk of Beast Mode going off to the US, a possibility of Tubbs returning, and the notion that our current ground will be owned by another team in blue from SW London has become a very real one.
The more things change, and all that.
What has been clear, at least on the field, is that a lot of what happens hasn’t moved on after all. We’re currently in better form than we have been, which all started after the horror show of the first half at Newport.
That might take us past Cambridge, although our opponents tomorrow might be a bit trickier than a lousy Exeter side. And it would be ironic if the third round this year scuppers our momentum like it did last year.
In 2015, everything after Liverpool was an anti-climax. In 2016, we won’t even have an L2 game – and we know what happens after we get a weekend off.
As far as NA is concerned for this year, it’s put-up-or-shut-up time. There is still plenty of scope to push for the playoffs, but to do that he’s got to overcome a rather bad habit that has affected him and his team(s).
Lest we forget that our win last Monday did mean we’d got three points for the first time in eight games. This despite us having one of our better run of games for some while.
And Ardley does have a damaging habit of overselling the team and (especially) his own abilities after a couple of decent results. If we do OK tomorrow, his reaction could be interesting. And by “interesting”, I mean predictable.
It’s fair to say that in this, what could be the last five or so months of his AFCW tenure, he’s still yet to properly seal the deal as to whether he’s a success.
His problem now could be that a large percentage of supporters have finally made their minds up about him. Not only does he need a good January window, but also a good Feb/Mar/April/May as well.
The next set of bad results will never be far away, and if they come after the window shuts, it gets too late to say he’s kicked on in the way he needs to.
By that stage, his continued employment with AFCW becomes like the last six months of the TB regime – it can go to shit very, very quickly.
We made an almost catastrophic mistake in the summer of 2012. Should it come to it, let’s hope we don’t make the very same mistake again…
Yes, it’s a typically SW19-esque doomongering start to 2016. Thing is, I expect to be writing along those lines a lot before May. We do have the opportunity to buy and sell players for the next month though.
Which does beg what we need to do. We still lack a cutting edge in terms of our scoring, although I don’t think we’re a particularly bad side.
We don’t need major surgery with the squad. We certainly don’t need another set of snotty nosed kids from the Cardiff academy – I’d rather we use the ones we have. After all they seem to be doing rather well…
Needless to say, off the field is where it will continue to happen. It won’t be too long before we run NPL via Boris, although it’s worth remembering that the very worst case scenario – him rejecting it outright – can be appealed by us anyway.
Will he delay things? Hard to say, though if these things are decided by planners and the parameters of planning law, we should be OK. Having a 10-0 vote from LBM helps things in our favour, as well.
Indeed, now the dust has settled from 10/12/15, you start to realise just what a big hurdle that meeting was. I’m not sure if anyone there or listening picked this bit up, but I’m sure at the beginning they said it was a legally binding meeting.
Which is why petitions like these from the stock cars from over Xmas are the biggest wastes of time going. They can claim 100,000 people can sign it, but legally they don’t have anything to stand on.
Again, if the very, very worst was to happen – that they somehow managed to overturn the decision to have a football stadium – we could appeal and would win easily.
As would Galliard, who (sort of) own the site and chose us to be their development partners. Or NAMA, the ultimate owners of the site, who thought we were the best fit and everyone else was rubbish.
Or indeed LBM, who held two years (and more) of discussing very detailed planning stuff with the only proposal that anyone came up with.
I think it proves not only how well we dealt with NPL but how badly the doggers/stock cars handled it as well. As it’s still the festive period, I’ll be charitable and suggest how naive they have been.
They have no real legal redress now, as they basically let the whole NPL thing happen without an official objection. There’s been some claims that they were told not to object, which I just put down to how appalingly run a lot of minor sports are.
Not to mention how ignorant of the wider world a lot of their followers seem to be. Well, either ignorance or denial.
When NAMA backed our bid, they should have realised their time at the dog track was always limited and started to either plan a proper response, or just looked for another piece of land elsewhere.
OK, I don’t think dog racing or stock cars had much of a future at WGS to begin with, and it’s an irony that our interest if anything prolonged their time there. But any hiccups over NPL won’t come from those running or racing around a track.
It’s things like this that make you realise just how much work has been put into the project already. The amount of meetings, notes taken, proposals to be fine tuned etc. Not to mention the amount of dead trees it must have generated.
2016 won’t always be smooth. But it’s a price well worth paying…