Occasionally we even resemble a football club…
So, the Magic of the Cup (TM) weaved its magical spell over SW17 yesterday, and gave us, er, some magic.
That wizardry coming when the referee blew his full time whistle, and we could all go home.
OK, I wasn’t there (I was at Charlton, which wasn’t much better), but when even the happy-clappy types were saying it was dire – you know it was shit.
Those hoping for a confidence-boosting goal-fest might be feeling more deflated than usual this morning.
We did enough, we kept a clean sheet, and it’s good to see Ollie Palmer a) back, and b) scoring.
But “enough” is all it was.
Should we really be surprised though? We’re low on confidence at the moment, the attacking verve shown earlier has now clearly gone.
The need for another weekend off is obvious, and thankfully we’ve got one in six days time.
And if you’re being honest – how often do teams struggle against non-league opposition in the FA Cup?
A quick glance at the fixtures yesterday shows that Walsall, Pompey and Lincoln scraped through too.
Your editor mentioned being at the Valley earlier, and they had to wait until 73 minutes before their first goal.
They’re doing well under Johnnie Jackson, by the way – a bit like how we kicked into gear after Robbo took over.
And at least they (and we) got through – Wigan drew against Neal Ardley’s Solihull. At home.
So it’s possible one can read too much into a 1-0 win over a Conference North side on our own turf.
Football doesn’t always work the way you expect it to, after all.
But we’re in the draw tomorrow evening, and that’s all you can ask for. Where we get to dream about a glamour tie at home to Burton.
This next stage** is always the bastard stepchild of the FA Cup. It doesn’t have the glamour of the third round, for starters.
There’s not the romantic ties the first round gives, nor the shit-it’s-getting-serious latter stages when it starts actually mattering.
** – as an aside, am I right in thinking our first ever game against Franchise has the record number of TV viewers for the second round?
There weren’t that many shocks yesterday, and the non-league sides that got through were playing each other.
All in all it’s a bit like how our performance sounded – a bit meh.
Perhaps the most important thing from yesterday wasn’t anything to do with the FA Cup itself.
The crowd was officially just short of 5k, of which a good proportion were kids.
Those there will know what percentage weren’t regulars, but this is one of the (many) reasons why we had to move back home.
The official attendance would have disappointed some people, but it would have easily filled KM.
Many there yesterday will have not only been inside PL for the first time, but probably a football match too.
And some of those will want to go back again.
True, others will be put off football for life, but some will have loved the atmosphere, the whole matchday experience.
They’ll want to go back for another game. And before long, we’ll have hooked some new supporters for life.
This is where having a 9k stadium that is actually somewhat decent helps us.
Even if you assume only 5% end up being regulars from now on, that’s still 5% more than we would have otherwise got.
That number becomes higher once they start taking their mates, who hopefully become hooked themselves.
It’s not just 7/8 year olds. There were a number of 14-18 year olds there yesterday too.
Just as those at the Pompey Mario Pizza game seemed to be a lot younger as well.
The most important thing we can do now is ensure they can actually get in the ground for “normal” games to begin with.
If some anecdotal evidence is to be believed, a number of people swerved yesterday because the ticketing fiasco(s) has put some regulars off.
It’s no coincidence that a week ago, AFCW advertised for a Ticketing and CRM Manager. Which is something I thought we would have had already.
Though I found this other placement advert just as intriguing.
Our next home game will be against Crewe on the 23rd of this month, a Tuesday. That could be another good opportunity to get some more arses on seats.
Ditto Fleetwood the following Saturday, and the first real test of our future ability to attract new support.
Who knows, maybe the team itself will manage to do its bit by then…?