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Nearly there

12pm update: No surprise that a new signing gets announced within an hour of me pressing “Publish”. More on him in the next update, but I hope you appreciate the quick alteration lower down…

And I don’t mean Step 4 finally arriving on Monday.

Before I start – while I was typing this, the club announced its groundshare with the London Broncos.

An interesting partnership, although I’ll delve into it more when I write up the Brentford game tomorrow.

And if that doesn’t entice you to come here in your droves, nothing will.

Anyway, tomorrow is the first time any AFCW first-teamer has kicked a ball in a “proper” match, since we went to Sincil Bank.

That was two months and one week ago, and tomorrow we return to SW17 for our first PSF of the new campaign.

Ordinarily, these first friendlies are a mixture of nice-we-are-back and oh-christ-I-was-enjoying-the-summer-break-can’t-we-wait-a-month.

More often than not in recent years, veering towards the latter.

When we play Brentford though, I can’t be the only one who will be glad to be back watching games.

True, we’ll probably lose 4-0, and it will be too hot for it to be comfortable. But it will be good to be normal again.

This is the first Saturday fixture since March 2020 that we’ll be allowed into grounds, even if it’s only a friendly.

That’s a long time.

True, the club has dipped out on making this the second test event, where we require 4000 in the west stand to get its relevant safety certificate.

That will come for Scunthorpe, and if I’m being honest – we’ll struggle to get that amount in unless we’re dishing out freebies.

We’ll also struggle to get 2000 through the gates tomorrow, probably even less than that, and I guess we couldn’t have moved it.

Though ironically at any other time we wouldn’t be fussed with such a low attendance for a PSF, even if it’s against a Premier League side.

Like the Liverpool test event, it will be BYOB (without the lid, or glass, or alcohol), and given the weather – maybe they need a workaround for that.

Even if it’s just somebody walking round with a bin full of ice with bottles of water on sale for £1.

You know, like the guy at East Thurrock United who did likewise with the beer all those years ago.

Or the guy selling £4 paninis for a time at KM. To this day, I wonder if he sold any?

Another reason to (semi) look forward to tomorrow is getting the sense we’re on the right path team wise.

You’ve doubtlessly seen at least one video of them down the training ground since they returned from the break.

Spirits look good, even with the motivational messages all around the place. Perhaps there’ll be a “Pass The Ball” banner up before long…

It bares repeating that this is largely the same squad that turned itself around from February and gave us reasons to be optimistic.

That said, I would have expected another first team-related signing by now.

No doubt there will be announcements made the very minute I press “Publish” on this piece, but they’ll be welcome anyway.

The rumour mill is in operation this morning, with Henry Lawrence (Chelski yoof) and Aaron “Don’t Call Me Elvis” Pressley being linked.

The latter is from Brentford, and maybe the idea is for us to save on petrol and have him arrive on the Bees team bus?

Yes, he’s ours.

Rumours are only rumours though, and as such we’re still a bit light. Indeed, the only major news was Piggy going to Ipswich.

So much for him only wanting to go to the Championship, then.

Actually, a move to Portman Road seemed a little likely when, after we beat them 3-0 in April, Paul Cook specifically made a point of speaking to him after the game.

For Piggy, it’s a good move, and if we’re being brutally honest with ourselves – it’s a step up for him.

Of course, like all transfers it could go wrong, and if we were the ones who got the best out of him…

Other than that, we make the slow steps to normality again from tomorrow.

It’s a shame it’s not “normal” normal, and even after Monday it will be like that for a little while longer.

We’ll be in that strange period before Lockdown 1 in March 2020, when people were doing their own precautions regardless of government decisions.

Not that I think governments anywhere have much choice any more. Living with the Rona is the only feasible option, so best get used to it.

From our point of view, the most important thing is that from Monday, we can have full crowds in stadia again.

It’s a bit of a nuisance that PL still can’t operate at full capacity yet, and we’ve got two more games before we can do that.

The good thing is, the worst case scenario will be that Oxford becomes the first game it’s fully open and operational.

Of course, we’d want it sooner than that, and all being well Gillingham becomes that historic moment.

To put it another way – who do you want the chance to antagonise most – Steve Evans or Karl Robinson…?

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