And I’m not talking about the size of Steve Evans’ undergarments either.
Should we start life as a L1 club in NPL next season, we might look back at yesterday and think that was one of the reasons why we stayed up.
A draw was perhaps a bonus, a loss was something we braced for. But a win?
Feels good this morning though, doesn’t it? The sun is shining brighter, the cold and wind has more of a rugged beauty today, and we can look at the league table with just a little less trepidation.
The game does prove one thing about this particular squad of players – we know how to battle until the end.
True, we’re not particularly good, and we have had to rely far too much on youngsters this campaign. But we’ve got the next best thing, which was proven both at Priestfield and at Rotherham.
When we went 1-0 up, my first thought was how long can we hold out. We rely on trying to win games by single goals too often, and it rarely works.
After hearing that we missed at least two chances to properly put the game to bed – and when was the last time we did that? – it seemed pretty inevitable that they’d equalise.
Your editor was at the Madejski, and the game I was covering had just finished when it was 1-1, so I went and did some actual work half-expecting to be talking about another loss.
Of course, Reilly had other ideas….
With an apparent “great save” by Joe Day right at the end, I think that’s called a perfect result away from home. Ballsy, never giving up, and striking at almost exactly the right time.
Anyone** on their temporary accommodation yesterday will have felt getting drenched on it was worth it after all.
** – only slightly negative comment from me about yesterday – is it me or did we not take as many as I would expect? I know many try to give Gillingham a bit of a swerve with the stand, and if we had a Bradford-esque vital game we’d take a four-figure sum easily, but surely the weather didn’t put *that* many people off?
So, what? Well, in the business end of the season, points matter more than anything else. It’s better to have them than not, as not every team will pull off the escape we did last season.
We’re still ahead of Tranmere and Rochdale in terms of games played, so we’ll be looking for help elsewhere. That is, if Rovers ever get their pitch sorted for games.
Mind you, any little advantage we have right now is vital. Tranny won in the week, and they would have been confident going into their game with Fleetwood, so they may have hopefully lost any momentum.
And not that I’m suggesting anything, but maybe the EFL should decide to adopt cricket rules and deduct points for unplayable surfaces…
At least we came out of the February From Hell™ without too much damage. We didn’t lose against Ipswich, Blackpool and Rotherham, we know about yesterday, and though we lost three games the only horrific one was at Oxford.
Considering that March gives us Bolton, Tranmere and Rochdale, we could do ourselves some very big favours. We won’t though – we’re Wimbledon, this is what we do.
Mind you, it would be nice if we could go against convention here. We should beat the Trotters, just like we should have held off for just a minute more at their place.
Our game at Prenton Park was, by all accounts, absolute horse shit. It would be nice if we don’t hand them the impetus to go on a run.
As for Rochdale, a repeat of last season there would be welcome, but preferably without giving everyone a cardiac arrest in the process this time.
Three games that could well decide whether we’re in L1 or L2 next season. Our squad have learned how to battle, let’s see if they know when to seize the opportunities that await…
Speaking of grabbing hold of things, I note there’s a shindig in SW19 (the place, not here) this week. It’s supposedly to relaunch the flatlining PLB, but it does read a bit like a celebration of finally getting the money needed to finish off NPL.
There does seem a heightened confidence about it now, especially with Chinese whispers over there being a loan on offer but us looking around for a better deal. Which is understandable, servicing a loan is going to test us financially as it is.
But we’re now in March, with the deadline from Buckingham now supposedly lapsed, and things do need to get signed and, well, lifted off.
Having £5m in our back pocket at this stage does help, and chances are the contractors will be a little bit more flexible again if they know we have a loan but are currently shopping around for the best deal.
Not too much flexibility though. I can’t imagine their patience with us lasting much longer if we’re still procrastinating over finances, when they need to pay suppliers themselves to order materials and manpower, and finish the job.
Remember – to Buckingham, this is just another project and we’re just another client.
That their original deadline forced us to get to grips with our money issues worked from their point of view – they’re getting paid some of it at least now – and we’ve been forced into action over seeking additional help.
Hopefully, the loan gets sorted, signed and announced sooner rather than later. It might be on more unfavourable terms than AFCW wants, but we’ll have to bite that particular bullet – we’re likely close to running out of time before we have to pay up.
Mind you, when you see the latest pictures, it seems worth it more than ever.
Especially those shots from the hospitality lounges, looking onto where the field and the other three stands will be. Imagine a game under lights there, with the flats at the back looking all menacing?
We’re in that stage of construction where the next set of photos will make it look even more of a stadium than the last. Especially when the pitch goes down (sometime this month, apparently). And then it really gets exciting.
We do need clarity from the club (stop laughing) about season tickets – though there’s a mailshot in your email inboxes about it, if it opens – and even if we’ll need to groundshare for a couple of games next season.
There will be many, especially in the current Paul Strank and JG Stands, who will need to start planning whether they’ll want to sit around the same people at NPL.
There’s no reason why they should be broken up, if they don’t want to. But unfortunately, AFCW and communication never quite goes together…