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The new era begins

It’s all quite exciting, really…

Before I start off, those who use WordPress will know they’ve done an “improved” update that managed to make it clunkier, slower and more fiddly to use

Thankfully, you can install something that brings it back to what it was, including the functionality that went missing for some reason.

Or for those who haven’t got a clue what the last two sentence were about, the thing I use to write this got taken over by our previous manager, but I’ve managed to replace him with our new one again…

And that’s how the WD appointment has felt this week – a breath of fresh air.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since Tuesday, hasn’t it? The playing squad is the same, the backroom staff is still here, but things definitely feel different right now.

There wasn’t a press conference, but there’s been the usual media rounds, and there’s been a lot of activity on the OS as well. Positive stuff, too.

I’d like to think the club looked at that now-notorious announcement of WD, and realised just how sour-faced and petty it came across. Not for the first time recently, the Fans Club™ managed to misjudge the mood of the fans.

The whole tweets nonsense has moved on quickly, and it’s only those with a major axe to grind keeping that little sideshow going.

But it’s to tomorrow against Rochdale we look to, and for the first time in a long long while – people are genuinely looking forward to it.

Your editor is at Brentford v Swansea instead, so I get to miss the fun and games, but the sight of two WFC heroes in AFCW garb has really grabbed at the heartstrings.

Not just the older heads, but some of the younger types who have had to Youtube what WD and GH did for us back in the day.

There’s the usual platitudes about coming home, etc etc, but some comments made by our new boss have jumped out. These are a little bit long, but all worth reproducing below:

“It’s no secret that we can’t buy our way out of any division. We have to be resourceful with what we do. We need to be on top of all sorts of scouting, analysis and all the essentials that you can use.

All of that has to be spot-on because we can’t buy the finished product. Getting the best out of the players we have here is paramount. We will be looking to improve upon training ground facilities, looking to improve on data analysis, looking to improve on technology and sports science.

“The medical side of it is critical. I’m not for one minute saying any of this has been bad at all, but these resources will help us get the absolute maximum out of the players at our disposal.

If I have to forsake a wage and lose a player to improve the infrastructure of the club, then fine.

That means I will be getting more out of the players at our disposal, instead of asking for another £70,000 for a player. I would prefer to use the resources available to get the best out of the players we have.”

You know, these are the sort of things I expect a Wimbledon manager to say. No hiding behind stats here, or bellyaching about the budget every twenty seconds.

A pro-active approach, at a club that has been too reactionary for its own good at times.

Every Wimbledon fan knows we’re not the richest, nor will we ever be, so we have to be much more resourceful. To be like the market trader rather than the market researcher or stock market broker.

And we’ve neglected that approach in recent years, so it’s good – and perhaps a little telling – that this was one of the first things our new manager said.

The attitude of having one less player in the squad but focusing on the infrastructure instead is a 180-degree turnaround, and then some. You think of some current wage thieves, and you’ll realise just how much we need this new approach.

We may be able to do it, we may not, but at least we’re going to try and get the maximum out of a bunch of players who have looked a rabble too often this season.

But then, WD’s already getting to work by the sound of today’s SLP. Having an attitude of getting on the front foot is perhaps something the squad themselves wants to hear, but I found the bit about trialists in just as noteworthy.

There are unaffiliated players still about, looking for a new club, and while they may not be worldbeaters themselves – if one comes in and is deemed to have a positive impact then it’s already another step forward.

You get the impression WD has been doing a lot of homework on us, and knows as much about the weaknesses as anyone else already.

While every current player will get a clean slate, bringing in trialists already isn’t accidental. None of the comments are, come to think of it – I seriously doubt talking about a culture change off the field, and a more attacking approach on it, suddenly happened after walking around the place on Tuesday afternoon.

Of course, talk is cheap, and our new management team will be judged on what we do in actual games. We’re still seven points from safety, our squad is still quite poor and our form speaks for itself.

But a thought struck your editor this week about Walter Downes – already, he seems to have that presence of being a football manager about him.

At the Chuckaturd game at Ponti Stamfordi on Tuesday, he came to the touchline in the second half and soon afterwards you knew he was in charge. The players did too, because they visibly went up a gear.

OK we lost, and you should be used to that by now, but whether it was the squad realising their new manager was on the bench – it doesn’t really matter.

Something lifted.

We’ll find out how much it’s already changed by 5pm tomorrow, and if it’s the same old crap then at least we’ve got somebody in who is prepared to rework it.

As said earlier this week though, you start to believe again now. That may simply be the key to getting out of the current shite right now, and tomorrow has the potential to be one of those days.

Though I hope nobody mentions how much WD looked like Ronald Koeman with that black overcoat…