Maybe the spirit of Al Davis might turn up this time…
Was it really a mere week ago today that we not only shit the bed against Crewe, but rolled around in it and refused to let anyone clean the mess up?
Just in case you’ve forgotten. Or forgiven.
Our final away game of this incredibly awful season is thankfully upon us, and it just so happens to be against another relegation threatened team.
It’s funny how Fleetwood have been linked with two of our most important games within the last decade-and-a-bit.
We will always remember the original Great EscapeTM, with Jack Midson’s penalty keeping our EFL status intact.
And don’t forget the Conference two-legged playoffs against them too. Two games suggesting we were ready to return to the League after all.
Things are, alas, different in 2022. Comparing our current lot to the heroes at the Emptyhad is like comparing rancid tar to a Waitrose steak.
But this is also a vastly different squad to the one that saved Ardley’s bacon. Back in 2013, we had some proper experienced old heads who just kept us up.
As we head to Lancashire tomorrow, we have a shambolic load of useless loans, overworked youngsters and less firepower than the Russians in western Ukraine.
A rabble that still hasn’t won since 7th December 2021, if you need another reminder. And we’ve somehow got to get a win to realistically stand any chance of staying up.
Can we do it? Yes. Will we do it? Er…
We’ve got to win a game sometime, haven’t we? I know the winless record is jointly held by both Derby and Macclesfield.
36 games sans victoire for both of those. We’re on 25 (or is it 26?) so still some pain to go yet.
Actually, if it wasn’t going to bugger us up for next season, a part of me wants to get this record for ourselves.
It would be a nice symmetry alongside the longest run without defeat. Though I’d prefer us not to go 78 games in the other direction…
But tomorrow is effectively win or bust. That we’ve still got a chance of survival says as much of the quality of L1 as anything else.
We could still stay up even if we draw, I believe, but that would require a) us beating Accrington, and b) everyone else to lose at the same time.
That’s not going to happen, so we’ve “only” got to beat Fleetwood and t’Stanley, and see if anyone else does us a favour.
Anyone who’s heading to Highbury tomorrow could be forgiven for being in two minds.
Get a win, and it’s great. We’re still alive for another week – not to mention the feeling of, er, a win.
But if we do get a victory tomorrow – the following seven days are going to suck after all.
Imagine knowing we can beat t’Stanley, rely on a couple of results elsewhere, and perhaps be in L1 next season?
You’d be a nervous wreck by the time Friday morning comes, let alone Saturday.
The phrase “It’s the hope that kills” is as old as the hills, but it’s one of the truest statements ever.
If we do get relegated tomorrow, at least we can mentally cast this season aside next week, and just plan on meeting your mates next Saturday lunchtime.
I don’t want to go down at all, but if anyone wants tomorrow to be the decisive act on our L1 tenure, I wouldn’t blame them one bit.
Because watching AFCW right now is like seeing a dying relative. It’s probably kinder not to keep them alive.
I doubt if Mark Bowen would see it that way, he’s obviously on a mission not to become the first AFCW era manager to suffer the drop.
He was on BBC London a couple of days ago, and while I only listened to a clip of what he said – he seems to think we’re out of luck.
You could argue that’s talk from somebody managing a team who’s about to go down. You’d probably be right.
But he’s not going to give up, and you have to hope that somehow gets through to the players.
Also, I only found this out indirectly – did he throw Rob Tuvey under the bus?
As in, an implication that he needed his input on players because of lack of time, and if he’d known the players better he might have done differently.
This could be totally wrong, but if it isn’t – Tuvey won’t be here next season if MB is.
We would not miss him.
Apart from that, I’m really not sure what to say about this season any more.
I wrote a few more things, but I only found I was repeating myself, only in a different way.
We’re totally stuck in a rut, the final whistle on the season can’t come quick enough, and there’s a collective sense we just want to take the hit and move on.
I wish anyone at Fleetwood good luck tomorrow, because if we do go down there are better places to spend it than in Blackpool.
No, that’s not a typo.
Should we find ourselves in L2 by 5pm tomorrow, your editor is going to be pretty busy for the next week on here.
And my conclusions will be anything but pretty…