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One More Heave

And “heave” being the operative word here.

So, it all comes down to tomorrow then. Accrington Stanley at Plough Lane, on 30th April with a 12h30 kick-off.

A game that we not only have to win, but we also have to overcome a seven goal deficit over Fleetwood.

That means they either have to get gubbed by about six goals at Bolton, or we have to score more than one goal in a game.

The last time we netted twice in one fixture was Doncaster at home on 26th February. The previous time before that was away at Charlton earlier that month.

And no, we didn’t win either of those games.

Oh, and we’ll need Rotherham not to slip up at the very last at Gillingham, and instead have them celebrate promotion with a win.

It’s not going to happen, is it? I won’t commit to doing something dumb like running around Morden town centre in a Franchise shirt if we stay up, but I think I’d be safe if I offered.

Really, tomorrow is just going to be a farewell to not only people you see at games and nowhere else, but a season that promised so much.

Which in the end proved to be the most horrible of the AFCW era.

Make no mistake, people channelled their inner Lee Brown/Roy Keane after Fleetwood away, and it was the supporter equivalent of a dressing room barney.

No doubt some of it hurt a lot of people. But nobody should be surprised when patience finally snaps…

Things are calmer in the buildup to this, if only because deep down we know it’s a lost cause.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d be absolutely amazed if after all this, we did somehow turn around such a big goal difference and stay up.

But a large part of me wants to go down to League Two now. If only because it’s the sole way we’re going to learn any lessons.

I wouldn’t even fancy success if we had both Ollie Palmer and Joe Piggot up front tomorrow, let alone the impotent eunuchs we’re lumbered with.

Remember that stat about scoring two goals in a game twice since February 5th? We netted in a 2-2 against Cheltenham the weekend before the trip to the Valley.

After that, you have to go back to the Wycombe game away where a “2” was next to our name on the scoreboard.

Add that Zach Robinson and Aaron Cosgrave are both youngsters who were asked to do too much, and are now paying the price, I won’t be surprised to see us get another draw.

As somebody elsewhere memorably put it this week : Bolton to beat Fleetwood 7-0, Rotherham to beat Gills and us to win 1-0. Our result is the least likely.

Really, I’m just looking forward to the final whistle, and therefore push this wretched campaign into the past, where it belongs.

Tomorrow could have been a dead rubber after all, if Sheffield Wednesday had played ball at Fleetwood on Tuesday.

They neither failed to beat the Cods nor put a massive dent in their goal difference.

It does come to something when shite like us still isn’t officially relegated until the last game of the season.

We should be dead, buried, and looking how to get to Barrow again next season by now. But we still have a 2% chance of survival.

And remembering that that just makes you think “What if?”. Like – what if we’d sacked MR just a couple of games earlier?

Or if we held on against Fleetwood? Or Crewe? Or Cheltenham? Or Doncaster at PL? Or Wycombe? Or Franchise? Or.,.. well, far too many games.

Or if we had any level of competence from the club decision makers in January? Or before that?

That’s all water under the bridge that crosses the Wandle as you approach Plough Lane though.

After the final whistle tomorrow, we start to look forward again.

Starting with confirming our new manager. It might have been just a placeholder interview, but Mick Buckley says that recruitment discussions are already under way.

Those are his words, which you could probably read in one of two ways – we’re either planning the player out list regardless of who’s in charge, or we’re actively putting into place a permanent boss who will in turn make that decision.

If we’re going with MB, I won’t be remotely surprised to see that announcement made next week.

The permanent manager is the most important decision of the lot, because the on-field stuff is by far and away the most important issue at AFCW.

Buckley didn’t mention the CEO position, and if he’s prepared to stay in situ up until September then we might not need to rush after all.

A new manager and chairman will be a massive step forward. And on the finance front, there is some legitimately good news.

Getting rid of secured debt is a good thing, though of course it just turns it into friendiER debt.

Not “friendly” debt. There’s no such thing, and anyone who things otherwise is dangerously deluded.

Iain McNay once again comes to the rescue, and we’re going to badly miss him when he finally can’t put any money in.

I find the cash injection from Ananth S. Nathan is the most intriguing of the lot. After all, what’s in it for him if it’s only ever a donation?

This might give a bit of insight:

Ananth is based in Malaysia and is keen to work with our club in developing commercial opportunities in his region and beyond.

In recognition of his substantial investment and our expectations of an ongoing commercial partnership, Ananth will use the title “International President”.

Just think – a mere three years ago, if you mentioned that we’d have a Far East investor putting significant money in, many would be having a fit on the floor screeching betrayal.

Now? Welcome, our Malaysian financial overlord. Can we have a pre-season tour in Kuala Lumpur please?

Incidentally, this is why I’ve long believed that if the conditions were right, fan ownership at AFCW isn’t set in stone as much as many think.

We may clear PL related debt in the next couple of years, but there will be a lot of “new” debt on the horizon.

Paying more wages to players, revamping Plough Lane itself, and the small issue of a new training ground will tug at the pursestrings.

The biggest bunfight will be increasing the amount of equity an outsider can buy from what it is right now.

But if somebody comes in with a pledge to fund, say, a new training ground in return for new and additional stake – the voters will pass it, and by a landslide as well.

Oh, and we also won the EFL’s Community Club of the Season as well, which is nice.

That said, one of the big problems this season is a sense we put that as much to the forefront as our core business, and because of that we’ve been fatally distracted.

Community stuff is great, but it’s only ever a sideline. Too many at the club forget that.

I suppose now there’s not much to say beyond getting this one final shitshow out of the way.

The final whistle can’t come quick enough, and by 3pm tomorrow we’ll know our fate.

Apparently, it’s a shorter close season than normal, with our League Two campaign kicking off on the 30th July.

I’m not sure if that’s true. The last time there was a proper close season (ie before Covid), there was a three month gap between the last game of 18/19 and the first of 19/20.

The same applies this time round.

We’ve got a LOT of rebuilding to do, and chances are we won’t get all of it done before the start of next season.

At least we’ll have the pre-season friendlies to look forward to. We’ll need a lot of them, methinks.

And wouldn’t it be the final insult if we play Sutton in one of them – with them as a League One side..?

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