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Navy Blue

The most anticipated tie against a Portsmouth side since HMS Victory visited Plough Lane…

Well, we’ve had our ten days off from shitting the bed, and we head down to Fratton Park tomorrow.

In fact, we’ve got quite a busy week ahead of us, with Crewe then Fleetwood awaiting us in the next eight days.

And already, in mid-November, it feels like a make-or-break week.

I suppose because the last few games are still lingering in the back of our collective minds, and they’ve been allowed to fester without a match last week.

Pompey away last year was in the middle of the freefall that ultimately cost Glyn Hodges his job.

I can’t remember if it was 3-0 or 4-0, but to make a proper Navy reference – we were pounded like a dockside hooker.

Tomorrow, one suspects we need a (positive) reaction more than ever.

We don’t necessarily need to win, but if we are going to lose we do have to look like we’re giving a shit.

Play poorly, then do likewise against Crewe on Tuesday, and who knows where we’ll be heading.

Apart from downwards.

There was a lot of radio silence from the management team after Sutton, until earlier this week when we had a massive interview from Robbo, Joe Palmer, and our Recruitment Manager, Will Daniels.

The criticism has clearly got to them, although they can’t say it’s undeserved, and they are able to get their point across in a way 99.99% of fans can’t.

It’s just a shame that it gets off on the wrong foot with some of the most patronising, and cringey, pre-amble I’ve read in a while.

I read it when it first got published, and again this morning before typing this, and it manages to get worse upon re-reading it.

Things aren’t great at the moment, but it doesn’t help when you’re given a condescending load of waffle that somehow puts the blame onto supporters.

It feels like being finger-wagged by some minor public school headmaster, and being told “Now, we’re very disappointed in you not having the correct opinion”.

We had enough of that crap during the Ardley era, and it contributed to the toxicity back then.

I suppose it’s best to know what the self-proclaimed Fans Club secretly thinks of its own fans though…

It’s a shame that we had to wade through the off-putting bullshit, because a Q&A can calm a lot of tensions.

The trouble is, when you set a bad tone from the off, you tend to look at what follows with a more jaundice eye.

Which is an own goal by AFCW, as the actual interview isn’t too bad, if you read it in isolation.

OK, the scouting thing probably isn’t much different from what virtually every other EFL club does.

One can say though that at least we now have a scouting and recruitment network. It something that was always an issue, to put it mildly.

Many might be surprised at the Football Manager revelation, but it’s not exactly new or radical.

You can read most of the rest yourself, although MR does seem to understand that fans will boo, even if he doesn’t agree with it.

The whole Moneyball approach is all very well if you’re winning games. When you’re losing though, talk about “culture” and “processes” is just banal.

And no matter what people within the confines of SW17 0NR may think – our fans are as intolerant of bad form as anyone else.

I don’t have too much sympathy if players start sucking their thumb when they’re getting called out (unless it’s genuinely unwarranted).

Proper football is a tough, unforgiving industry, and they’ve got to learn that. And quick.

Tomorrow on the south coast wouldn’t be a bad time to show the positive reaction where it actually matters.

Then at PL on Tuesday, then again a week tomorrow.

I said right at the beginning that it feels like a make-or-break week, and one expects – not hopes – the players and staff know that.

Because it’s not up to the supporters to dig us out of our rut…

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