A few pre-Barnet thoughts. Just don’t get too excited…
There’s an undeniable sense of quiet confidence about at the moment. Given our current form, that’s understandable, and we can head up the
Northern Jubilee line tomorrow without trepidation.
At least, we should do.
From now until Easter is undeniably crunch time for any legitimate playoff hopes. So many games in such a short space of time, and a repeat of post-Newport results may even make SW19 believe we’ll extend our season.
This, by the way, is a good time to mention I will be out of the country between the 9th and 26th May…
It’s ironic that the part of the squad that has caused us so much past grief – the forwards – are the ones you can rely on this season. Elliott and Taylor have finally settled in, and we’re using Akinfenwa sparingly these days.
Not to mention Azeez, who is still in “project” stage.
You can work out how many goals we’ve scored in 2016 alone, but a lot of our current run is down to Taylor/Elliott. You sense that they’ve just been allowed to get on with it, and they’ve responded in kind.
And we’ll need that to continue. As well as get lucky with them not getting crocked/sent off/crap again/caught in a scandal involving sheep.
We have hit a roadblock at the back though. We’ve lost Osborne for the whole season now, and Sweeney is both young and has had the sniffles this week.
If a loan CB comes in, it’ll basically be another back line that has to learn each other’s ways and methods, and as Ben “Twatter” Wilson proved, even just one change can damage things.
And we’re not going to get much time on the training ground to sort that out. Well, unless you think what we’ve done during the week has been the handbrake for more than this season.
Perhaps the players really are getting to do it more themselves now? It would explain a lot. And we certainly look a happier squad than we have done for a while…
So to Barnet. The sort of game where we’ll either win 4-1, lose 2-0 or scrape a 1-1 draw with a last gasp equaliser, probably from Francomb or Azeez.
It’s one of those sort of contests that you don’t quite know what will happen, but if we go into it too cocky/complacent, we’ll easily become a cropper.
And that might be our biggest obstacle for the rest of this season – complacency. We were walking around like a dog with two dicks before Yeovil, and we all know how that game turned out.
Most of us have, to our credit, been more measured post-Luton. There’s the (very) odd one or two whose feet are never on the ground, but the attitude is that we can do it rather than we will do it.
That’s probably because we see things as a bonus right now. What we’ve always wanted is to see us actually play as a L2 side without dogmatism or an inferiority complex, and if nothing else we’ve finally got that.
While reading through SW19 reports from a couple of years ago recently, we always expected us to be in the top 10, or top 12 even back then.
So currently, we’re at par for our expectations.
The playoffs might be a step too far, but considering we’re a club with some attendances 4000+, not a bad turnover in terms of merchandise and beer sales, and finally – finally – one or two yoof teamers coming through, we’re now at the level we should have been since 2013.
A thought occured to your editor this week. Have we (sort of) become like WFC was under Terry Burton? NA uses him as his mentor, and there’s a lot of similarities there.
It’s hard to believe in THAT 2001/02 season we were actually all right on the field of play – we finished 9th, had Shipperley and Connolly** and we even went to Maine Road and won 4-0.
** – and you’ve undoubtedly hummed the tune in your head already. Feel free to continue it for the rest of today.
We’ll never know what TB mark 1 would have achieved, but under NA we might get to find out. Of course, if we’re going to relive that time, I fully expect Erik Samuelson to announce tomorrow we’re moving to Weston-Super-Mare.
I jest. I think. But when you read the latest NPL update then at least we don’t have to go through such shit any more.
OK, having to sort out a section 106 before we submit to Boris is new to the great unwashed, although it just proves how complex and time consuming these applications really are.
The Halliwell Jones stadium in Warrington took – wait for it – 1238 days from the initial planning application to the first game, so these things are never quick.
Obviously, delays mean we’ll need to shell out more, but rushing it through will mean costly (in both senses of the word) changes and possible re-submissions, so we really do need to be patient.
It’s no surprise that we’ll be looking to cut costs on it. I expect that the money we eventually spend will make a few of our fans bite their pillows anyway.
The biggest one is the reduction of capacity from its initial 11k to below 10k. That’s not a massive deal in truth – where Man Yernited played last night has a capacity of 11k, and if we’re being honest, we’re only ever likely to need 10k or even 9k for many years to come.
I would be cautious if it dropped below 9k, as that might be trying to do it too much on the cheap. And when you start doing that, you end up paying more in the long run.
If I’m being honest, we won’t start the 2018/19 season at NPL. I don’t think we’ll get to the GLA before Easter, possibly not even until after then.
Not to mention sorting out the rest of the s106s, the design tweaks, the costs and the inevitable clusterfucks that will happen before we even start demolishing the current shithole on the site.
But at least we can start thinking about those things more now. And even if we did come home six months later than we first planned, it will be worth it…