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Most wonderful time of the year?

Though whoever thought of using that song in a holiday ad this summer deserves a special Xmas bonus…

So, welcome to the yuletide period. Presents, food, not knowing what day it is even more than usual.

Lame Xmas jumpers, even lamer Xmas-related jokes. And crude comments about stuffing your bird, or Santa coming once a year.

The latter being the bedrock of SW19 since 1999, needless to say.

For everyone in football, there’s a glut of games too. In our case, we’ve been rather unbusy since St. Evenage got called off.

Well, there was Plymouth away in the Mario Pizza thingy, where we managed to lose on penalties after being 3-0 up at half time.

To rub that in, Sam Cosgrove got a hat-trick, though perhaps that’s not as weird as Kyle “Baby camel” Hudlin scoring twice.

There might have been a mitigating factor according to JJ in his post-match comments, with the big bug going around.

People do get ill at this time of year, especially with flu/RSV nasties. Something a few Covid obsessives need to realise.

One hopes we recover in time for Boxing Day, which is this Monday. And also that Newport come down with a dose of the shits to boot.

Because a loss to them would be a lousy way of losing our unbeaten League run that stretched back to Slutton at PL.

If you told me after that bleak aftermath that we a) wouldn’t lose a L2 match before Xmas, and b) JJ himself would get Manager of the Month, I would have sent you to Springfield Hospital.

New Year’s Day takes us to Gander Green Lane, with presumably a sellout in the away end. And no doubt a couple of AFCW fans in the home sections too.

It would be nice if we could do ourselves justice that day with a proper thumping win.

Not just because of what happened in mid-October, but for the FA Cup game a few years ago. Otherwise, Slutton become the Hampton and Richmond de nos jours.

If mentioning the Axewounds gives you a nostalgic twinge for the Ryman/Conference South days, you’ll love the trip to Essex on the 29th.

Your editor has been to Colchester’s new ground, and if you like out-of-town venues with a McDonalds over the bridge and lots of car parks, you’ll be in your element.

Oh, and it’s bleeding cold there too.

Remember the Cambridge game that cost MR his job? I was covering Colchester versus Tranmere that afternoon, on the hottest day of the year up to that point, and yet I still managed to be shivering.

Mind you, that might have been down to following our game from afar.

So we’ll be pretty busy. Though there will be no Newport update on here as I’m at Watford v Millwall instead.

We’re playing well enough for the run of games not to be problematic, though I expect we’ll lose two or three quickly once we suffer a League defeat.

I don’t doubt there’ll be kneejerks aplenty, and the usual suspects will remember they want JJ sacked after all.

What I hope doesn’t happen is that we freefall just like we did after Oxford away this time last year.

You can read the report I did yourself, but in hindsight it was seeing the first frames of the slow-motion car crash 2021/22 became.

But Terry Skiverton seems mindful of what’s ahead, and this is where having an old hand on the coaching staff helps.

Unlike just about everyone involved last season, our current management team seem capable of taking responsibility when it goes pear-shaped.

We’ll have more setbacks, but it’s nice we can talk about looking forward and sense you’re not being told what you want to hear.

Tellingly, he’s focused on transfers, and it appears that we’ll be looking to be pro-active when the window opens a week tomorrow.

It might have gone un-noticed but he mentioned “maybe one or two going” (his words).

I wonder who? Hudlin back to Huddersfield? You wouldn’t be surprised, even with his two-goal cameo earlier this week.

Assal? If the money is right and we can get an adequate replacement in, that would be good business.

One of the older heads to retire? I’m thinking of Gunter here, though I expect he’ll be here until the end of the season.

It’s more important to see who is coming in though, and whether the club allows more than £1.50 in transfer funds.

I think we’ve mentioned before that we need another proper striker, in case Manbun gets injured/suspended/goes off form/goes to the barber.

We don’t need to relive January 2022 and the horrors of that month. And I suspect we won’t.

Whoever comes in, it probably won’t be Zach Robinson returning south of the border.

That’s an interesting one, if it comes to pass, and he’s either being primed some more for next season with us – or we’ll cash in on him this summer.

It’s like us and Ryley Towler – somebody on loan who’s playing very well which benefits the parent club in the long run.

Perhaps with our new-found shithousery, we’ll get another Harry Pell type figure in, to further enhance our reputation?

Speaking of HP, he seems to be loving life back in SW17, and that definitely shows with his performances.

I don’t doubt that our new found, ahem, resolve has partly come down to his approach.

And if we can add somebody else equally, ahem, adept at gamesmanship – we’ll win as many games as we’ll lose friends in L2.

That’s a good thing, by the way.

Other than that, we’ll just have to wait and see. Just like we’ve got to do for the rest of the transfer window and beyond.

At least this Xmas period, we’re looking forward again and shouldn’t need to look over our shoulder too many more times.

Given our decent run of form, it will not surprise your editor one bit to see us lose all three games over the holiday season.

But we’ve got enough talent and – more importantly – nous to get out of that rut this time.

I rather we didn’t though, and I’m enjoying our unbeaten run. I don’t really want to see that end with a whimper this next week.

We’re owed a nice present after the shite of recent seasons, though I’d prefer to receive it this May…

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