Well, I suppose this counts as a bonus update.
If you said to me a fortnight ago that today I would be willingly going to Buckinghamshire for a 12h30 kickoff, I think I would have treated you like a complete weirdo.
And muttered something unrepeatable under my breath as well.
Still, the fixture calendar was kind enough to allow us a chance to go to Wycombe in the former JPT.
A competition that continues to be massively unloved, and keeps its tradition of utterly shit sponsors.
It’s called Dodgy Dave’s Motors Trophy now or something, which might give you an idea of the prestige this tournament has.
People blame the Premier League under-21s for devaluing the trophy, with their “#bteamboycott” stuff, but in truth it was lousy even before that.
As you probably know, it was a dead rubber, the winner gets to play in the next round at home, and we lost 1-0.
It’s not something I’m going to spend masses of time writing about, and in some way I’m only doing this because otherwise it’ll be a fortnight without updates.
And if you want a “proper” SW19 report on this, you can fuck right off.
It wasn’t exactly a strong XI, as you well expect. It was typical of these sort of ties, where you’re more interested in who’s likely to feature in a proper game.
Josh Davison probably isn’t going to get many chances as a starter, neither are Lee Brown and the Bulgarian Kiwi.
They were OK, relatively speaking, though Tzanev’s ability to keep the ball on the pitch when kicking remains the same as ever.
The likes of Sasu, Ball, Lakin, and the returning Kalambayi got some much needed minutes, and if anyone is going to come on as subs in the EFL it will be those ones.
Perhaps the two remotely interesting things about today were:
1: Our complete inability to score a penalty continues, this time Manbun adding himself to the list of spotkick failures.
It wasn’t a bad strike, just a decent save by their keeper, but if he’s pushing for a starting place in our team he has to score those.
Davison, not their shotstopper. Though maybe we should get Bass or Tzanev to take the next penalty? Couldn’t do any worse.
2: Seeing three Academy players coming on, one of which was a 15-year old lad called Justin Clarke.
According to JJ, we had to take him out of school to do some training yesterday. Although it’s a bit too tempting to suggest he would have learnt more out of the classroom than in it.
Apart from that, there’s not really much else to say about today.
Losing is always disappointing, and we’ll be away for the knockout stages of this fixture. Which ironically means we stand a better chance of winning.
To the sheer indignation of a few of our fans, Wycombe fielded Lyle Taylor who signed for them a day or two ago.
He looked unfit but at the same time you can see what a decent player he is.
The rumour mill is suggesting we were after him but wanted too much money – to the point he would have been the highest paid player by some distance.
Which from our point of view is understandable. Especially given his game time the last year, or lack thereof.
Plus, remember the old SW19 adage of previous players returning to us? Only Jake Reeves has had a proper impact out of the many previous attempts to turn the clock back.
Many, many people would love to see Taylor back though, and it’s clear he still knows people at AFCW.
I expect he’ll stay at Wycombe for now, possibly until the end of this season, but then you never know.
As for the rest of it, it wasn’t the worst way to spend a Saturday – watching football and not particularly caring about the result.
There were less than 700 there, of which about 150 were of us. One wonders what the turnout would be if it actually mattered.
It does rankle a bit that the last time we faced them was in League One, and our relegation remains the ultimate self-inflicted wound.
That said, it did give us a well-deserved slap in the chops. It forced us to rebuild, and get a structure in that actually resembles that of a professional football club.
I’d like to think when we next get promoted to L1 (and we will) we’ll make a much, much better fist of it.
Queuing was a bit of a joke half-hour before kickoff. Not so much having one payment machine in their reception, but a couple of Wycombe fans deciding right before the game that it was an excellent time to buy tickets for their next League game.
Gareth Ainsworth may have departed Adams Park, but some of his legacy remains, when you consider how a couple of their players suddenly found they were injured.
All in all, international weekends are pretty shitty – especially when we’re not featuring either.
But you have to admit, today in the ex-JPT was a helluva lot nicer than who we were originally supposed to be facing…