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Don’t Panic

At least, not until this time next week.

I think I’m glad I was covering QPR v Leicester yesterday, as one of the most disappointing pre-season campaigns draws to a close.

Yes, they’re friendlies. Yes, they’re solely about fitness. And no, they ultimately don’t matter.

But you really can’t blame people for feeling uneasy before we head to Donny on Saturday.

How many goals did we score in the seven PSFs we had? Three, wasn’t it?

Two of those were penalties, and one of those was at Met Police when the under-18s took the field.

I would have expected more – a lot more – from yesterday. And to be fair, when hearing Palmer put us ahead, it was like we were finally getting our arse in gear.

Then they got a deflected goal. Then they scored a penalty. And that was that.

Reading some of the comments from those there, it sounds like so many other of our PSFs this year – some decent moves punctuated with a eunuch approach to scoring.

We’ve needed one more striker anyway, and I think we’re really going to have to press on and get one now.

An experienced one at that. Perhaps we should use the money we’ve got for Cox…

Not for the first time, one is going into the first competitive game of the season thinking we’re underprepared.

I used to sense that virtually every time we started a new campaign under Ardley, and I have a similar feeling right now.

If there’s one good thing , at least MR seems to understand that performances like yesterday will fuck us up.

Having an “honest chat” after your final PSF seems quite drastic, but there are worse times to have one.

I don’t doubt this next week will be very tough for the players on the training ground. But they can’t complain at that.

It was interesting listening to Robbo’s comments on the video that he didn’t seem happy at some of what the younger players did. Or didn’t.

The “unsexy” comment about “doing their jobs” made my ears prick up.

Is there already an attitude issue with some of our youngsters? Or are they simply getting a kick up the arse and a reminder what proper football is all about?

Terry Brown once said that players that age tend to blow hot and cold, and the important thing is how you manage that.

MR does at least have a good track record with less senior players, especially in terms of the first team.

After all, this time last year who would have predicted Tzanev, Rudoni and Assal would step up?

I don’t have a problem with going towards the younger end anyway. It’s not like we’ve had a glut of senior players in recent years who have done much better.

If we can click at some point, that will be more important next season than if they’re old enough to adopt a child.

But having such a young squad is a gamble, even if Robbo’s hands have been tied to an extent.

I don’t believe we couldn’t get somebody more experienced who would give the younger squad members encouragement/a bollocking.

Like Darius, except more likely to play more than five games a season. Hell, if they know where the net is too…

The most important thing about yesterday wasn’t on the field, but off it.

By all accounts, the test event went well, although I don’t think we’ve officially heard if we’ve passed it or not.

The pictures of the Cappagh Stand suggested that we got the 4k (or at least as close as dammit), and no stories of anything major untowards.

Little things like toilet issues and a too quiet PA are easily rectifiable, and there’s always going to be teething troubles.

People sounded genuinely impressed with the whole setup, and there’s a real sense already that we’re at home.

With luck, Bolton becomes the final test event, and one that is in front of a full house. Do that, and the whole WFC/AFCW circle becomes complete.

Plough Lane v2.0 has been used since November, yet the first time it will (with luck) be properly filled out will be 40 weeks and 4 days later.

It only took nine months.

Presumably, the perimeter wall/turnstiles will be completed by then, as the security for 1400 Notlob supporters will be “interesting” otherwise.

But it’s something we can finally – finally – look forward to. Not just because of the last thirty years but the past eighteen months too.

One final thing that somebody elsewhere pointed out yesterday, and is quite mind-blowing when you think about it.

Yesterday, almost as many people filled the Cappagh Stand as the whole of Kingsmeadow.

Our previous home venue in KT1 was inadequate as far back as 2009, although that statistic just puts it into even more perspective.

And while some things around AFCW haven’t changed too much – the time we played at KM already seems a lifetime ago…

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