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Mack and Cheese

Big couple of games ahead…

So, the one we’ve all been (not so) secretly waiting for, tomorrow. The fixture that made staying up last season just that little bit extra rewarding. And let’s not pretend otherwise – it is the biggest league game of the season.

Would we have preferred it so soon? Especially as we’re already in such a slog of games that we don’t get a rest until mid September? Don’t think it really matters, to be honest. After all, if you can’t get motivated for Sunderland and then West Ham…

Tomorrow (and Tuesday, come to think of it) is a free hit. Nobody really expects us to do well, after all the Mackems gubbed Gillingham on Wednesday 4-1. And if we defended like we did against Walsall, that will probably be the score after ten minutes at half time.

A few words on the game earlier this week. It was a reality check, especially without Deji at the back. And it proved how important it is to tell anyone sniffing around after him to fuck off until January/May.

It always felt like we were in trouble from the off, although we were still in it until the second goal. And the less said about that the better. It’s not good to have Sky Sports News on the next morning and Nightingale’s howler getting more than a little exposure.

Even Appiah’s goal was one big “meh” moment, although at least he has finally found the back of the net.

That said, we weren’t as bad as too many contests last time out. We’ll play worse and win this season, although we definitely struggled with that cutting edge up front again. That new striker is practically mandatory now.

Your editor wasn’t supposed to be there Tuesday – I was supposed to be at the Valley, which is where I’ll be tomorrow and quite a few Saturdays this season.

By the look of it, I should be at more KM games this season, and maybe I’ll get to see first hand how they deal with the bar queues and those at the turnstiles in future.

Because on Tuesday, both were pretty lousy to be in. Your editor got waved through without having to scan his ST, like quite a few other people, and I really hope that doesn’t count towards the 80% threshold.

Not sure if having the card manually scanned by a turnstile operator makes it more efficient either, rather than doing it yourself a la Fratton Park.

As for the bar queues – when did they get so bad? They’ve always been busy, but it’s been the last season or two when the complaints about them have really shot up from memory.

Fortunately for me, I only drink alcohol at evening games anyway, and I get there early enough before it properly starts getting jammed at about 18h40. It’s got to the stage that anyone who can drink away from the ground should do.

Which is part of the problem to begin with.

We’ve been at KM for about 15 years now, and I’m still struggling to think of many other pubs around there apart from the old stripper one and the other one that’s closed down near Homebase.

So just about everyone who doesn’t have a pre-game watering hole in Wimbledon or Raynes Park (or New Malden?) piles into two bar areas that was designed for about half the people it gets.

It doesn’t help that Kingston council apparently won’t let us put in extra (mobile?) dispensers, and needless to say that everything from now on is going to be sticky-plaster.

There is an undeniable level of discord around the whole KM experience right now. I don’t listen to the 9 Years podcast, although one topic this week is on that very subject. The issues at home games, that is, not your editor’s listening habits.

And I think it’s gone just beyond the usual griping about cold chips and the like.

As we look towards the future, there’s always been a likelihood that KM goes from simply being merely inadequate to barely tolerable. That’s now proving the case, and I’m almost glad that I won’t be there tomorrow.

It doesn’t sound that the ticket buying facilities for West Ham have been entirely successful, to put it mildly. Right now, you’ll probably be better off going to KM during the week and buying future stubs in person.

We needed the CRM badly, but when you still get season ticket holders struggling to buy online, it’s more than teething troubles. Weren’t these glitches supposed to be sorted out by now?

It’s ironic that as we seem to be moving forward on the field, things are catching us up off it. There was always a time where our way of doing things – our culture – would hold us back. That time, increasingly, is now.

We’ve got a year to sort it enough before going home. And it’s pretty much official that we’ll be moving mid-season, baring a massive problem or an archeological find of a historic Austin Allegro from Roman times.

Quite a few are blaming the slobbering former Foreign Secretary, and he didn’t help at all, but the delay over the s106s played a big role in it too. I forget how long that took, but it almost seemed like it would never happen.

Whoever and whatever the fault was, it’s academic now. Surely nobody actually believed it would be open by September 2019?

The comments of Erik Samuelson suggests that the club will definitely move in as soon as it’s ready, and as said on here so many times before – if we can do, we should. Any trip to KM should convince any doubters.

We go back to the sheer logistics of moving mid-season, and especially with season tickets. This is where having a card based system should – should – make life easier on that score.

When NPL gets completed, there will still be a month or so of ramp-up events and everything. That should give enough time for people to select their seats, the club to process it, and print out new cards for the new place etc etc.

Logistically it will need a lot of planning, but the biggest problem will be manpower. We’ll probably need to double (if not triple) the amount of people involved in all this, especially in such a limited timeframe, because otherwise the club will grind to a complete halt.

I don’t know how feasible it would be to limit the amount of STs for that initial half-season, but anything that makes life easier should be taken with both hands. It will be challenging enough as it is.

No, it’s not ideal to move in halfway during the campaign, but Hull City moved into the KC Stadium just before Xmas in 2002. And that was probably a bigger logistic headache than even ours will be.

And they might have sorted out the bar queues by then. Though if they’re selling Bud Light at the new place, you might be able to get served straight away…