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Piggy Goes To Market

I’m quite proud of that headline, if I do say so myself…

So, farewell Joseph David Wozencroft Pigott. A man with two middle names, and we all know about those sort of people.


When the news broke on Wednesday, it was unsurprising as much as anything.

Maybe it’s because his future was still up in the air when the retained list was announced?

Though people were more concerned with Assal not being tied down at that stage, and we know how quickly we did that.

But deep down, we all knew that a 20-goal striker in L1 was always likely to be a hot property.

Especially one that was out of contract, which will probably explain why nobody came in for him during January.

After all, why offer money now when you can wait until June and get him for free?

While one can be (justifiably) cynical about players praising the fans, I don’t doubt the comments of Piggy are genuine.

He became a L1 player through us, when he otherwise might have been a L2 player at best, and I think he seems to appreciate that opportunity.

But like all players, his biggest loyalty will always be to himself, and he’ll always want to make that move.

I didn’t realise he’s 27 years old, so assuming the rumour mill is correct and he’ll be a Championship player next season – you can’t blame him.

It will be interesting to see where he ends up, assuming it’s the second tier.

If he wants to stay in the south east, the likes of QPR, Millwall, Reading or Luton wouldn’t be bad options.

Should he want to move further up north, then you can bet the likes of Forest and Coventry would take a punt.

Although he’s the sort of player Peterborough would take on, as their latest version of Ivan Toney…

From our point of view, it’s an undeniable loss, and this is where the awfully-named transfer committee** needs to have a strong start.

** – anyone else have visions of it having a sub-committee that takes two months to discuss whether a player has the right ethics to join us?

The problem has never been about losing players, it’s who we end up replacing them with.

As for losing him for nowt, it does stick in the throat that yet again we dip out on money because of contracts ending.

I don’t think we’ve ever properly got a grip on that side of things, and it’s only now that we’re starting offering 2+1 deals.

When the likes of Pigott have been signed on shorter deals than the likes of Mr Championship-Quality, you know we’ve got to sort that out.

And quick.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve noticed a few comments about why we can’t do what WFC did about selling our players for decent wonga.

The trouble is, and like so many things in trying to compare the WFC era with the AFCW one, it’s a different time these days.

I’m not just talking about the whole Elite Player Performance Plan thing, but our general spending power.

I’m going from distant memory here, but back then we could afford to gamble a bit more on youngsters.

I could be totally wrong, and I will gladly accept proof otherwise, but I’m sure we used to offer promising youngsters four year deals in the WFC era.

That gave us enough time to build up say, Chris Perry, into the defender he became. And when somebody like Spurs came calling, he was still under contract so we could get the ££.

Even if was only three years, we were still able to offer extensions with better terms to the home grown talent until they moved on.

Today, offering youngsters 2+1 deals is as good as we’ll get, because we can’t afford (literally) to have a player flopping on decent wages.

We have to get lucky these days, and hope that an Assal or Rudoni start coming good before we get them on “proper” contracts.

And then hope they don’t go off the boil.

More established players are always tricky, because we’re not in a position to offer longer term deals for them.

And to be honest, I’d rather we got a decent loan for a Premier League/Championship youngster.

The old SW19 adage about L1 teams spending a lot of money for crap applies more so than ever, and who wants to risk signing another Appiah?

You won’t always get lucky with loanee youngsters, but they tend to be as good as shelling out for a more experienced pro at this level – and they carry less risk if they fail.

We’ve got to up our game as a club when getting loans in, but I’d like to think we could at least adequately replace Piggy with a good thumb-sucker for next season.

Interesting times ahead, and not necessarily bad ones either.

While writing this, I realised that nineteen years ago today, our football related world turned into a massive pile of shit dumped upon high.

Those who experienced that horrible day will never totally forget it, but the fact I had to be reminded says a lot.

While many will mark this Sunday (30th) as the birth of AFCW, I always consider today as the date when the eras changed.

I don’t know why, I guess I remember it much more than anything else bar the “I just want to watch some football” comment that came soon afterwards.

While it wasn’t quite the footballing equivalent of Günter Schabowski saying the East German border was open, that quip felt a little bit like it even now.

On this very day, I used to do a “XX years on” comment piece, examining how far we’d got and where we stood.

The last time I did one was just before Wombley in 2016, and the one before that was in 2013.

I pretty much explain why I stopped doing them in the one I did eight years ago, and my thoughts haven’t changed.

But this anniversary, while important, doesn’t quite have the meaning I think it used to these days.

Why? Because the people who lived through it are getting older, and there aren’t so many of us/them about these days.

Some people will never get over the events of 2002, and that’s understandable. Yet everyone is going to have to face up to this sobering fact.

There are now AFCW fans of legal drinking age, who weren’t born when the Three Man Commission made its decision.

If that makes you feel very old all of a sudden, you’d be right.

Just as WFC drawing at Elland Road in 1975 is ancient history to your editor who was born in that year, 28th May 2002 is ancient history for a growing number of our support.

It’s something that may be odd for a lot of our older supporters to get their head around.

But in the next couple of seasons, there will be young lads in the club pub at PL who weren’t born when we were scoffing cheese rolls at Merstham.

Or standing on bales of hay at Sandhurst, or in the burnt out shell at Feltham arena.

And it won’t be too long before there’ll be junior kegheads who weren’t born when we beat Staines in the Turdeyland playoffs.

Or even those who were alive when AFCW was a non-league club…

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