Welcome to Easter. Or more accurately, the other time of year where you forget what day it is.
Like Xmas, the games come a bit quickly. Unlike Xmas, at least it’s not cold, dark and miserable weatherwise.
It’s just like that on the field of play.
Anyway, if you were one of the 600 who got a ticket for the fantastically nicknamed Sulphurites tomorrow, your faith might be rewarded.
It won’t, and we’ll inevitably lose, but it would be nice to get our first away win in 2023. Hell, we’ve only got one point on the road since late February.
It’s not as chronic as last season proved to be, but it’s starting to get close to it.
More on that a little bit later, but the big takeaway is the club’s communications once again came up trumps and forgot to mention allocation until it was too late.
When the news we’d sold out for Harrogate hit the airways Monday, it genuinely seemed to surprise a lot of people.
OK, for a new ground on a public holiday (in a nice part of the world) a 600 or so allocation is always likely to be tricky.
We shouldn’t blame Harrogate for it, considering that between 2002 and 2021 we offered not many more tickets for away supporters.
But not telling people that there’s a small amount of tickets on sale to begin with, and you’d better get in quick..?
I don’t find it a coincidence that within about a day or two, the club suddenly announces a new Twatter feed to keep you updated on purchases.
It’s at https://twitter.com/AFCWTickets in case you’re wondering.
I also don’t find it a co-incidence that the OS had an update on St Evenage on Saturday week. With amount of tickets available and amount sold…
The AFCW era has long had an attitude problem to actually telling the punters – sorry, “owners” – any useful information.
I’ve seen that first hand, where I was once told that there was no point in posting some important info on the OS as “everyone will read it on the guestbooks anyway”.
While that was some while ago, the cultural hostility to divulging it is still there.
Thankfully, it seems that Danny Mackin has much more of a professional outlook, as this is a sign of the club positively reacting to legitimate criticism.
It’s probably too late for this season now, but this could be a very helpful tool in the coming campaigns.
Like so many things at AFCW, it’s something that should have been done eleven years ago.
It’s the fault of so many that we’re finally trying to reverse some deeply ingrained mentalities, with patience at an all-time low.
That will be painful to go through. Especially when for the last few years the illusion of change has instead led to things remaining pretty much as they are.
Which is why I find the OS interview with Craig Cope, our Head of Football Operations, intriuging.
It would be too cynical, even for me, to suggest this has come up when next year’s season tickets are about to be publicised.
But CC does at least try and explain what he does, and why the current product smells of decaying turd.
Firstly, I wonder if his “carpet was pulled from under our feet in January” comment is more than just referring to the injuries and Towler/Assal departing?
The rumour that the transfer budget was withdrawn at the last minute still hasn’t been buried, and I genuinely believe it’s played a part in our recent slump.
There’s the usual stuff about planning for the future, and being excited about it. This being on a club media outlet, I don’t expect to read anything different.
The way Cope is talking about lining up targets though, it sounds like JJ will be here next season.
Some will be very dismayed to hear that, though objectively speaking – sacking yet another manager isn’t going to change things that much.
We’re in a muddy ditch, the wheels are spinning but not getting any traction, and we’ve changed about three or four drivers.
At some point, you have to try something different that might actually do something – if unpopular.
That point has been reached.
Leaving aside your editor’s distaste for getting back old WFC stalwarts, perhaps the biggest thing about Andy Thorn as Chief Scout is wondering whether we’ve had a Chief Scout recently?
Well, that and him looking like professional wrestling personality Paul Heyman in the OS picture.
We’ve gone from Simon Bassey doing all the scouting, to the catastrophic approach we did under Mark Robinson, to whatever it has been under JJ.
And to be fair to our current manager, he’s bought in some decent enough players.
Of course, no recruitment policy is worth anything if there isn’t the funds to back it up…
Cope attempts to explain why there’s so many injuries, and reading between the lines it appears to be a mix of training facilities and not being quick enough to spot potential flare-ups.
Though I wonder how that ties in with Skiverton’s recent observations that we’ve overworked some players? Unless we’re having to do so because so many others are getting crocked.
Your editor hasn’t been to our training ground for a number of years, but I doubt making the players walk ten minutes on the street to and from the pitches helps.
Though I’ve been to the training grounds of Palace, Fulham, Brentford, West Ham and Charlton in recent seasons, and you’d be surprised how ordinary most of them are.
There’s the usual stuff about already being prepared for the 23/24 campaign. And to be fair, we were hampered last season with JJ coming in late and having to quickly arrange some PSFs.
Especially as he took over from a Head Coach who believed that a team just needed three friendlies maximum.
Oh, and there’s the usual ad for the open training session at PL on the 13th April.
I once saw a similar one at Upton Park (don’t ask why) and they’re good PR even if you won’t get to learn much about tactics.
It’s for the kids off school, and maybe there’ll be interactive drills where they learn how to kick the ball forward, marshall a back line and shoot somewhere goalwards.
The ones with the best scores at the end of the day get put into the first team squad at Broadhall Way…