Hmm. Yes. Well.
Did I step back in time to last season this afternoon? If not, then what was League Two 0 League One 3 all about?
Seriously, it could have easily been five or six to the tractor drivers, and we wouldn’t have complained.
Worse, apart from a token effort at the end, I’m struggling to remember us even remotely taking a swing at them.
And any good feeling about going into next season evaporates quicker than leaving a bowl of water outside right now.
I hope JJ is going to those in charge and demands at gunpoint some of the Rudoni money.
Because unfortunately, today proved to ourselves there is still too much crap left over from last season.
Our new skyscraper didn’t play, by the way. He’s training with the squad from Monday, assuming he hasn’t tried to escape back to Yorkshire.
He might have struggled like the rest of them though, and when ITFC went ahead with a goal I will term as “soft”, I think we could have gone home after that.
Those of you who spent this afternoon in the garden or out and about had the better deal.
Mind you, and in a horrible sense of deja vu, we managed to be even worse after the interval.
All I remember of their second goal was how lousy it was to concede. And all I remember of their third was Tzanev being lobbed and looking like a chump.
Put it this way – it’s bad enough when opposition fans mock your goalie, especially in a PSF. It’s another when your own fans give a somewhat sarky “Well held keeper” after a routine catch.
We made about eight or nine changes on 70 minutes or so. Not because of fitness or the heat, but probably because JJ was getting fed up with them.
His body language said how unimpressed he was, anyway.
Helpfully, the club puts up a post-game interview within an hour of the final whistle now, and the latest one came up while I was typing this.
Like most managers, he tends not to throw players under the bus during interviews, though he commented about us being “under duress”.
I wonder what he’s really thinking right now though?
The long and the short of it is, we’ve put in a shitty performance two weeks before the new campaign starts.
If there’s any bright spots, it’s that this is “only” a PSF, and if you’re going to get a wake-up call, best to have them now rather than when the games actually matter.
Chances are, we’ve probably learned more about ourselves today in a poor defeat than we’ve done in any other of the PSFs.
And I include last week at Eastbourne Borough too.
We’ve got two games to get some resemblance of a starting XI for Gillingham. What makes me think a couple of those who’ll start aren’t currently at the club…?
Plus points: It finished early.
Minus points: We lost. Not likely to score. Outclassed too often. Feeling of deja vu all over again.
The referee’s a…: The biggest thing he did was not playing the full 45 minutes in the first half.
Either he forgot to add on the drinks break, wanted a cold one himself, or he just felt sorry for us and hated us suffering.
Them: To think we got a point off them last season.
Looked sharper, fitter, more controlled and poised throughout, and as said about – another couple of goals wouldn’t have flattered them.
Whether they’ll be near the top of L1 next season remains to be seen, though if not I’m glad we got relegated after all.
A fair few of them, about 500 or so give or take, and they were notable on Plough Lane itself before the game.
Apparently, one of their heroes walked into the away end during the game. Not that he got a chance to watch them, given the amount of their fans wanting a picture…
Point to ponder: Does Tzanev have to look over his shoulder more this upcoming season?
Today might have just been a clusterfuck of a game, and he won’t play nearly as painfully as he did in future.
But we’ve got a decent enough backup in Broome now, and I get the feeling JJ in particular won’t be as sentimental if a player isn’t performing.
One of the criticisms about Mark Robinson was that he continued to favour “his” players regardless of whether they were on form or not.
The Bulgarian Kiwi doesn’t have that protection now, and a repeat of today in a game that matters might see him benched.
Then again, he isn’t alone. Many of last season’s squad must be hoping we’re still being slow in getting new players in.
They’ll get another chance on Tuesday, assuming the heat doesn’t cancel the game, but one suspects it’s not going to be as easy for them in 22/23.
And that will be a very, very good thing.
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Did we need to have allocated seating today? Unreserved was best, and would have saved a lot less hassle with people asking others to move. 2) While I would never buy a replica shirt – I know their markups – the new top seems very popular. 3) Display of old WFC images around the west stand look great. The wooden statues on the other hand…. don’t…
Anything else? I was going to mention that this was a League One fixture a mere season ago, and I thought it would be a painful reminder of the mess we made.
Considering our “performance” today though, it makes that reality less unpleasant to swallow.
We’re a League Two side again for a good reason, and this game reminded us why.
Imagine this squad going up against Ipswich, or Derby, or Sheffield Wednesday next campaign?
While some are prone to massive panic (and a few are already running around their room in their underpants screaming), I don’t think we’re so bad that we’ll be following Oldham and Scunthorpe.
If nothing else, I expect new faces in by September 1st. Even if they’re our fourth choices rather than our first.
I don’t doubt the club want to get back to the third tier as soon as possible, and I think we will at some point.
We may not be in a position to make a fist of it next season, although a couple more signings might change that dynamic.
But if we do find ourselves promoted this time next year after all, we’ll going to need to do a lot more work to stay there…
So, was it worth it? If you were at the beach today, then yes.
In a nutshell: Hello again 2021/22.