A few thoughts on last night…
In the end, that was quite comfortable. Winning 3-0 in any PSF is a nice feeling, especially as it’s not even your first choice XI, but to do it against a not-bad-strength-themselves Championship side is filling people with a lot of promise.
Don’t worry, when we lose to Wycombe Tuesday, we’ll all be predicting the day and month we’ll go down. I’m opting for 14th January.
It was notable that the youngsters (especially Egli “Don’t call me Egil” Kaja) didn’t look anywhere out of their depth against higher opposition. Yeah, PSFs and all that, but maybe there’s going to be a change of emphasis in that this season too?
The whole yoof-not-getting-games thing is probably the biggest bone of contention beyond paying decent wages for crap, and it gets harder to justify not giving them at least some chance when:
a) they don’t look any worse than some other players we sign, and
b) the purse strings are tightening as it is.
We’ve got three PSFs left now, and by the time we head to Ebbsfleet this time next week, we’ll have a fair idea who’s off to Scunny and who will be playing Fulham in an u21 cup competition.
All in all, from the two games we’ve played thus far, there’s a definite air of promise about. I know Terry Brown always used to say friendlies were purely about fitness**, but there seems a vibe that I didn’t really sense last campaign.
A happy one, at that.
** – as an aside, I wonder if that attitude he had is a generational thing. Younger managers like NA don’t seem to take that viewpoint with pre-season games, emphasising that there needs to be a competitive edge to them as well. Which IMO is a much better approach to have. Besides, as we know in TB’s ill-fated last season, you can tell something is badly wrong even in July…
We’re going to need that team spirit thing a fair bit this upcoming campaign, although it’s not the be-all and end-all of a successful season, but it’s telling that the Burton press corps noted we were a hard-working and lively side.
It won’t work every week, but if you can’t shell out £5k p/w on a skillful player, then the next best thing is to ensure you’re hard to beat anyway. I think we tried that last season as well, with some success, so it’s no surprise we’re attempting it again.
Hell, we reached 15th in 2016/17, and that was with us ending the season after 14th March.
So there’s a lot to be quietly confident for. Hope “Jason Prior” Akpan came on, got some grief and didn’t seem to take it too well. Come to think of it, for a friendly they were a little bit niggly.
Burton do prove that you can be a “small” club and still end up in the Championship. Like Yeovil before them, I expect gravity will eventually scupper them in the second tier, but if they can survive a second season there, who knows what they can start to achieve?
I note that Jimmy Abdou played, didn’t seem to do much wrong, and yet has already received one or two negative comments for not standing out. Personally, I think he’ll be one of these players who you’ll definitely miss when he’s not playing.
Besides, if you spend a decade at a Millwall side that only went down to L1 because of sticking with Holloway for too long, you can’t be that shit.
Speaking of future scapegoats who used to play in SE16, it’s gone under the radar but we signed Liam Trotter last night. NA unsurprisingly was chuffed that we’ve got him and Abdou, especially given that we were down to our last £8.50.
Knowing this club, it probably is literally less than a tenner too.
I’m sure you can have minutes of fun making shit jokes relating to his surname, like any Only Fools and Horses reference or the fact he used to play for Bolton. A Trotter playing for the Trotters, ho fucking ho.
It’s a bit like our opponents last night signing a player called Brewer, or Kenny Irons turning out for West Ham. And yes, now is the time for the punchline with Stefan Kuntz…
We’re certainly boosting the midfield, which just leaves that one final striker to go for (if we choose to that is – don’t be surprised if we end up with some young “project”). Though given Antwi’s rather splendid goal yesterday, wouldn’t it be better to give him a few chances next campaign?
Two final things. Firstly, any reason why the game was played on a Friday and not a Saturday?
And lastly, the new AFCW-branded lager was launched last night. It’s micro-brewery style lager, so those who prefer pilsner/weissbier probably won’t drink more than one bottle just to try it. Your editor is in this category, so I’ll be sticking to KM’s Irish lager in future.
If you do like that particular style of beer, then I’m told it will be very nice if it’s very cold. And it did seem popular – not many bottles remained for sale by the time your editor left the bar 20 minutes after full time.
Will it draw people away from the commercial lagers available? The ones with more chemicals in them than a Bayer factory? Hard to say, though I’d like to know how sales of the “standard” bitters have fared since they started introducing the Plough Lane/SW19 ale a couple of years ago.
Just about everyone I know at games who guzzles ale prefers the Wimbledon Brewery stuff, and obviously it has the added bonus of helping out AFCW coffers.
And having your own club-related brew is one of those untapped markets that I’m surprised more clubs don’t do. We’re quite lucky that in the local area we’ve now got Wimbledon Brewery, but directly opposite NPL there’s something called By The Horns (with its own bar), which I guess will do a very good trade.
But then, it works because one thing regular matchgoers do is drink beer. That’s how the most successful fundraisers work, by simply offering something that people do regardless.
The club will have made a few quid extra from last night alone, and even the Evening Standard took note. I don’t know what plans they’ll have for selling this outside game day, but I bet there’ll be interest from the craft beer brigade if they can mail order it.
And let’s face it, with the amount our fans need to consume to get through some games, we’ll be the richest club in the division before long…