If Jesus Christ supported AFC Wimbledon, he would have gone back in his cave.
Last night, I was looking for a quote to sum up what I felt about the whole debacle that yesterday turned out to be.
The nearest I got was this one, which although isn’t a bad one isn’t quite the right way of looking at it.
So I’ll create my own instead.
Sometimes, a defeat isn’t enough. It has to be an extremely bad one, one that you simply cannot ignore and know you have to do something about. Even if you don’t want to.Robert Edward Peter Dunford, 2023
Feel free to use that in your inspirational quotes that you share around on Facebook from time to time.
From the final whistle until I’m typing up this morning, that’s my underlying feeling that hasn’t been shaken.
We’ve had loads of clusterfucks within the last few seasons, but this one may be one of the worst of the lot.
If anything, it managed to be genuinely impressive.
Going ahead, then level, then ahead again soon afterwards is genuinely commendable. To get an injury time penalty against you is always a kick in the teeth.
But to have it saved should carry everyone to a glorious victory…
I won’t ruin your month by reminding you of what happened afterwards, although at least two people in the crowd genuinely thought it was a draw.
There really are no words though. I was at Charlton, and I was just numb by it, so I’ve no idea what those there were thinking.
With my morning cup of tea and a cool head, let’s try and salvage something from the football equivalent of a ten-car pileup.
As my newly created quote above states, you just can’t sweep our issues under the carpet now.
We’ve known this particular squad of players doesn’t have it, and that’s been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
We have four games left, and it’s very likely we won’t win any of them.
After all, any opposition manager will know that providing they’re a goal behind, they just have to be patient.
Just wait until injury time, then wait for the crippling fear to strike our back line.
One highly suspects this particular group of players are mentally broken, just like they were last season when they were left to fend for themselves.
During the game, plenty were gushing that our back line all came through the Academy. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why they couldn’t hold on…
Granted, you could ask questions like why weren’t Gunter and Brown put on late to see the game out.
Unless you think neither would have helped matters, that is.
The main reaction afterwards was about Johnnie Jackson, and how the majority now want him gone.
I have to admit, I thought he would tender his resignation afterwards, because that kind of result can prove fatal.
Then I read the SLP, and it’s clear he’s not intending to quit. I quote:
“We have to shape this in the way I want. We have to learn the lessons of this year.
“Learn from what we did in the window, the injuries we have had, and what I know about the league and what I know about the squad.
“We have a lot of work to do in the summer.”
That will please a large number of people, I don’t think.
There’s an important difference between JJ, and previous managers who were axed after similar runs of form.
Mark Robinson in particular lost the dressing room, whereas in Jackson’s case I don’t think he has.
The Iraqi Scouser in particular seems to like our current manager, clearly wants to perform for him, and he’s been our best player since January.
It’s not like we’re even totally shit throughout the games.
We did play well enough yesterday and Harrogate to the point where we were ahead and looking sort-of comfortable.
The reason why we have one point over Easter rather than the six we should have is mostly down to the players not booting it away in injury time.
Some will no doubt dismiss the following as an excuse, but I bet if we had Pearce and Pell playing yesterday, we would be sitting pretty this morning.
There’s still too many weaknesses in the squad, too many genuinely influential players are injured, and we’re not going to move any further forward until they’re addressed.
That won’t stop many calling for JJ’s head, but I still can’t see what difference it’s going to make for the last four games.
We’re probably safe anyway, as the result at Holker Street did more on that scale than the one at Plough Lane.
Obviously, if we were two points off the drop zone rather than nine (ten with goal difference) then I’d be feeling a lot different.
But if we were, JJ wouldn’t be in charge anyway.
It’s pretty clear the club are going to stick with our current manager until the summer, and ignore all the calls for him to be pushed.
That’s brave, as they used to say in Yes Minister, especially with season ticket renewals lurking.
What happens after Grimsby is anyone’s guess, though if Jackson isn’t here, it’ll most likely be because he’s found another job somewhere.
AFCW are clearly taking the tanking approach, namely let the results slide and start again after the last ball is kicked. Find out who wants to be here and who doesn’t.
Yesterday might have sealed the fate for many on the pitch for the 2023/24 campaign. In truth, very few will be missed.
As for JJ, his own future isn’t going to be decided now. If we sack him it will be because of what happens next season.
The club is clearly going for continuity – it’s not the popular choice but time will tell if it proves the right one.
After all, we’ve tried just about everything else our structure allows, and we’re in the same shit.
As said right at the top, sometimes you need a bad defeat to give you a good hard slap, and if we’re not stunned this morning we’re brain dead.
The reaction to this is going to be interesting, to put it mildly.
There’s tonnes of issues within AFCW, which we all know about and will do for another day.
One final thing though. If JJ is to remain next season, he should enforce a guarantee that he gets a proper, workable budget – and get it written in the blood of the bean counters too.
Maybe he could even use the souls of the decision makers as further collateral. If they have any…