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Pre-Northampton thoughts

I’m going to try very hard not to mention a certain game on Tuesday. Chances are, I’ll probably fail…

So, Northampton tomorrow. A game that almost seems to be forgotten about, though one that could just about seal our League One place next season.

Be honest – if we had a free weekend ahead of us, most wouldn’t notice the difference. It’s going to be that sort of few days ahead of us. But it’s the Cobblers, and one we should definitely not ignore…

As it stands, we’re in a good place right now. The results are going our way, the confidence is growing, and the notion we could well get at least a point tomorrow is very real. Perfectly ripe for the inevitable fuckup, no doubt.

We’ve certainly needed the rest, though one hopes that we haven’t lost the momentum we’ve built up because of it. A team that can go to two of the top six and get four points, in the space of a few days as well, isn’t doing too badly.

And while we’re grateful for finally getting points on the road, winning or drawing at KM is equally important.

There are seven home games left, or six proper games and one circus (told you I was struggling not to mention Tuesday). That’s more than enough to get the two wins we still likely need for safety. Hell, if we drew most of them, we’d be more than all right.

Not to mention if we get another Scunny/Bolton type run of results. Although given that two of our remaining away games are against teams currently in the bottom four, maybe we’ll need to keep winning at KM after all?

Anyway, we’ve signed Will Nightingale, Barcham and Robbo to new deals, so obviously planning for next season has already started. The last name on there may raise a few eyebrows, but then maybe that’s as much to do with the first name on that list too.

I don’t doubt Robbo will play a few more cameos next season, and I guess NA’s thinking is that it’s somebody else you don’t need to replace when you can get one more campaign out of him.

Indeed, our manager is stating that he doesn’t want a major overhaul, and while some will inevitably depart, we’ve already kept one name many (?) expected us to release in the summer.

Mind you, the nucleus of this squad isn’t bad. It’s adapted to League One, it has rarely looked out of its depth and is in mid-table for a very good reason. So all things being equal, maybe we shouldn’t expect too much this close season after all…

Your editor went down the training ground for professional purposes yesterday, and we do seem quite a unified squad who get on well with each other. The vibe is good, and I believe one certain player when he says we have a good bunch of lads.

Think of how Bournemouth have still got a lot of their squad (and manager) who were there in the Championship days. While time will inevitably see a breakup of it, for now we don’t need to.

That goes a long way, and unity is not something that’s always been said of our squad since returning to the Football League. We also seem quite modern in our thinking in terms of the backup, including our sports psychologist.

I mention him by the way, because SW19 managed to get a response from the AFCW powers-that-be in the previous comments section 😉 Check them out…

Done that? Good. It’s interesting that a) he’s pretty much “around” if/when we need him, and b) he tends to deal with NA rather than the players directly. Although anyone remember that thing on Football Hurts with Jon Main (?) going through some sort of mental strength session?

Didn’t do him any harm though. Or us.

One question though – if he’s always been available to us, how does that explain the slump around the time of the Curzon game..?

Anyway, it’s nice to get some clarification, because let’s face it – 98% of us don’t know 98% of what goes on, so you can’t really blame anyone for thinking the shrink comes in and results suddenly start to improve.

It’s been said on here before but it’s worth repeating again – comms is something you either “get” or you don’t, and AFCW does have a problem with that a fair amount of the time. Which leads me onto the thing I tried to avoid mentioning…

This week has unsurprisingly been focused on next Tuesday, aka the circus coming to town. There’s been a fair bit of angst about the beamback to Frenzyville, the difficulty in getting tickets for some fans, and a sense amongst some that the club are being dismissive over their concerns.

Personally, I think it’s a case of AFCW protecting its own arse. And maybe protecting our own fans from themselves.

We are a League One outfit, at least on the field, and as such we’re answerable to various licensing authorities, the police, the Football League, the FA, other clubs and some other influential bodies that I can’t think of at the moment.

You can piss off our own supporters, because they know, you know and I know – we’ll bitch about it to our mates and/or on various social media, but we’ll be back next week unless we’ve thrown a real hissy fit.

But you can’t piss off those who could actually do a lot of harm to AFCW. Take the beamback to Frenzyville – it’s basically to stop as many of their windowlickers (including Wankie) turning up on Tuesday, nothing more.

I’m not that bothered if they make a couple of quid out of it – the whole “don’t give them a penny” stuff went out the window the very moment 3000 of us stepped into the Frenzydome back whenever it was.

If we turned it down, we get unwanted visitors as a result, then something happens, the blame would be on us. Not Wankie, not Franchise, but us. And that won’t matter how unfair that will sound to some either, because we’ll get nailed due to neglect.

Same with the ticketing. The club simply wants the least amount of people there on Tuesday, full stop. It’s a very difficult fixture as it is without being more lax over who can come in. And let’s face it – some people sans billet do want to cause grief.

Minor incidents cannot be avoided. You can’t avoid them in a football ground, on the street, or in your local Co-Op. But you can try and minimise them as much as possible, and our ticket policy does exactly that.

Our aim, apart from getting the three points and reminding those cunts why we wouldn’t even want them coming out of our arse, is to get through without a major incident. That would cost us a lot in money, security, perhaps certain bits of the ground getting closed, not to mention the negative PR associated with it.

Those who know the score wouldn’t be so judgemental against us if there was something that went wrong, but it’s best not to have that against us. Ditto, it won’t have that much impact on NPL as a few are suggesting this week.

Maybe that was true a year or two ago, but any holdups now will have nothing to do with crowd control – and I’d argue this sort of fixture proves it’s more needed than ever.

But the club doesn’t want to take any more risks than necessary, and I don’t blame them at all for that. The Charlton game must have been a real eye-opener, and we learned some very valuable lessons that day.

I did have a dig at the club’s comms earlier, so praise where it’s due with the meeting last night. It’s obvious why they’re going to keep some measures away from public consumption, which is partly why they held a meeting rather than update it on the OS.

I’m surprised that the bars are going to be open, though perhaps not entirely surprised that away fans won’t be allowed in. Funny that. That said, I would guess the Met are going to have a lot of say on the night, so don’t be entirely surprised if you find you can’t get your pint of Mehmet Mehmet’s Jockstrap, or whatever the real ale there is called.

Forcing them onto a coach then making them pick up tickets is the best for all concerned, especially if it inconveniences them. Even Wankie isn’t stupid enough to get on a coach (I think), and you can bet the coppers will be very eagle-eyed on that score.

Checking for banners, pyrotechnics etc is pretty much standard stuff for a high risk fixture like this, so leave your “Peter Wanklemann Fucks Toddlers” banner at home. I doubt if you’ll be able to take even a piss without a steward or copper checking your weapon, either.

All of that is for Tuesday. We have a game tomorrow by the way. One hopes the players aren’t as distracted as the fans…