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Normal Service Resumes

And the most predictable result of the weekend goes to…

I’ve been supporting a club called Wimbledon since 1983, in both its incarnations since then, and one thing has been a constant in those 37 or so years.

Whenever we get a slam dunk of a game ahead of us, we usually manage to balls it up.

When I found out we had gone being 1-0 up to being 2-1 down in the space of four minutes, I just laughed to myself.

It’s AFC Wimbledon. It’s what we do.

Before writing the next bit, your editor looked at the goals, and while Longman was a bit right-place-right-time (not that’s a bad thing), there’s something depressingly familiar about their equaliser.

To be fair, their second goal was a decent strike, but just as the warning signs were there against Plymouth, it finally caught up with us yesterday.

We won’t be scoring goals for fun every week, so we’ll need a strong back line. And despite our heroics at Fleetwood, we just haven’t got one.

But let’s get back to the real reason we lost yesterday – everyone was being too damn optimistic before the game.

Predictions of 3-0 to us, bets of Piggy getting a hat-trick, and all-round hubris never ends well.

When we went 1-0 up, and people were looking at the league table while stroking their genitalia, no wonder the Football Gods slapped us in the face.

We don’t learn, do we?

It’s no bad thing if we get brought back down to earth, providing losing doesn’t become a habit.

Don’t forget, it’s our first defeat this season in ninety minutes this campaign, and we do look in much better shape than we have for a good couple of seasons.

If we’d lost at Fleetwood but won yesterday (which would have netted us exactly the same points as we have today), we’d consider it a good return.

Again, though – it’s that mental hurdle of never being able to beat the teams like Stanley that trips us up again.

That will prove the difference between yet another season of struggle, and one that is a helluva lot more comfortable.

I don’t know what we change tactically, that’s what we pay Glyn Hodges and Nick Daws for.

There seems to be a bit of criticism that we approached a home game in the same way as an away one.

If so, maybe we’re taking playing at Loftus Road a bit too literally?

Hopefully, the Plymouth goalfest hasn’t put us back in our shell, because going attacking is much better than defending all the time.

We’re better at the former than the latter right now, which definitely hasn’t been the case recently.

Speaking of GH, he sounded fed up in the post-game interview, though this bit caught my eye towards the end:

“We just need to have a few more things up our sleeve and a few more personalities to take the game by the scruff of the neck, perhaps something different to open up the opposition.

Bold bit mine.

I wonder what he’s insinuating from that? Is he challenging our current squad to have some bollocks about them?

He mentioned after that quote that he put Chislett on for exactly that reason, so he does feel he has somebody with a bit of character.

Has somebody finally figured out how to pay a debenture into the club, meaning we’ve got a few extra pennies in the budget?

We’ll wait and see on that, I guess we won’t but this window in particular has been a surprising one (in a good way).

Either way, I expect it will be another “big discussion” tomorrow at the training ground. Though you can have too many of those before everyone stops listening…

Of course, with the transfer window shutting this month, the rumour mill keeps spinning.

The only one that involves us seems to be Piggy getting linked to Swansea. Which may have a bit of plausibility in it, but equally it could just be agent speak.

As far as I know, the only “proper” place it’s appeared is the Daily Mirror’s “Live Transfer” section, where it’s more important to fill up space than anything else.

Trust me on that, I did that for a month or so. You could get away with any old shit, as long as it sounded remotely realistic.

Not that anyone is irreplaceable, and if the Swans or whoever came up with a decent amount of dough, we’d be utterly stupid to turn it down.

With the caveat that we have a replacement lined up for him – if we haven’t, then don’t sell unless we have to.

This is where we need a decent scouting and recruitment policy, which we’ve never really had** until Nick Daws turned up with his database.

** – true, Terry Brown was able to bring in a lot of players because he had the non-league contacts, but in the professional game you have to do it differently. Especially when you don’t have the spending power.

It’s a lesson we’ve been slow in learning.

Personally, I don’t get too hung up with players leaving. It happens all the time, and a club must always plan for that eventuality.

What has been the problem in the last few years is our inability to replace outgoing players properly. You could name Darius Charles and Dannie Bulman as two great examples of that.

It’s why we’ve had the players we’ve had until this season – to be blunt, our transfer policy has too often been haphazard and almost panicky at times.

Should Piggy go, it will be the first proper test of the new way we seem to do things, and for our sake it needs to work.

If our players start to improve, then obviously they’re going to be looked at by other clubs.

This will be especially true of our youngsters, if they’re showing anything of themselves in first team action.

Pigott may or may not be Championship quality, but if we’re noting how he’s playing then others certainly will.

That’s a good thing in a way, because it means they’re performing for us and we get better results.

It’s also frustrating, because we lose players who play well. And these days, for various reasons we won’t get so much money for them.

But it’s something we’ll need to learn to cope with. After all, a certain club called Wimbledon FC wasn’t too bad at that…

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