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Pre Mansfield thoughts

Is it really March already?

Yep, another SW19 update on a Friday, as I’ve got the joys of Kenilworth Road again tomorrow.

I’ve said this so many times over the years on here that it almost becomes a cliche, but I’m probably going to get the better deal.

I managed to miss Tuesday as well, and while those calling for more goals finally got them, our defence has given up for the season.

Since Pearce disappeared, so did the meaness of our backline. All of a sudden, it’s looking like a giant leaky thing that couldn’t trap a fart.

And while I don’t particularly want to single out one particular player – I don’t find it a coincidence our backline is worse with a certain “one of our own”…

For those going to Plough Lane tomorrow, I hope you get a bit of joy for once.

With luck we won’t fuck up too often on set-pieces, and also we see more goals from the Iraqi Scouser too.

A few strikes from other players would be nice as well. They are allowed to find the net on occasions.

One does sense our playoff push finally died on Tuesday though.

If that’s the case – and sadly, I think it is now – it’s anyone’s guess what happens to our form.

I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to see us not only lose tomorrow, but quite a few from now on.

Which would be a shame as even up until a couple of weeks ago there was a genuine outside chance of making the run-in a bit interesting.


The rest of this season will become less and less important for matchgoers, though a meaningless run-in will be an oddly welcome change.

It’s definitely important for our management team though, in preparing for next season’s transfer window.

At the moment, JJ is our manager. Although intriguingly at the time of writing, he went from 16/1 to 5/1 in the next Oxford manager stakes.

I expect it to be Grant McCann, probably as soon as I press “publish”, but the club might have to prepare for yet another new manager search in the near(ish) future.

If it’s true JJ got less help in the transfer window than he reasonably expected, you wouldn’t blame him for making glances elsewhere.

I don’t doubt he’s committed to us, but he’s proven he can steady the AFCW ship and didn’t do a bad job at Charlton either.

He is building a pedigree as a manager, and he would be a good fit at a League One side with a vacancy in the next year.

This summer is another important one, but we will need to properly back whoever is in charge.

As a club, we can’t (literally) afford to go backwards, but not properly investing in the most important part of the club will do exactly that.

That’s for the summer though. We still have two months or so left, and it can quickly get down to the hardcore and semi-hardcore going to games.

Matches like Crawley and Rochdale will now struggle to attract the casuals, even with incentives.

The weather should be better, and AFCW isn’t immune from people deciding there are better things to do on a weekend.

If the on-field product is poor, then that makes those decisions even easier for punters.

Work notwithstanding I’ve long been a regular matchgoer, home and away, yet it’s a view I sympathise with.

To be honest, despite having a hotel in Manchester lined up for Barrow this month, I’m genuinely in two minds whether to bother going.

Sure, the weekend away is fun, but I just feel I could spend at least a couple of hundred quid on better things than us right now.

I doubt if I’m alone in thinking that, and you shouldn’t be remotely surprised if crowds now drop for the rest of the season.

Something that affects the bottom line, certainly in times of beer sales, hospitality and other match-day concessions.

Granted, you can’t really make a case for St Evenage at home on Tuesday, as we would probably struggle with that even if we were doing well.

And tomorrow isn’t a bad time to do Kids For A Quid, even if the OS is optimistic at describing it “a key stage of the season”.

Unless by “key stage”, they mean “season ticket renewals”?

I expect this season will turn out to be like the first in League One, or some of the pre-Wombley Ardley eras.

That might be a good result after the last few seasons, but you can’t do that long term.

Otherwise, the club might need to do another KFAQ and this time start paying the youngsters to attend…

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