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All said and Don

Or to put it another way, that is probably that.

I didn’t expect to leave it close to three weeks since Good Friday before next updating SW19, if I’m being honest.

A mixture of seemingly spending half my time on a motorway for work, lazyness downtime and, as the Ramones put it, having my brain hanging upside down** has made this place quieter than Stadium:MT.

** – seriously, how come I’ve managed to have the same catarrhy cough and head cold three times within the space of four months? Getting rid of it is like trying to get rid of Kwesi Appiah.

But I’m back, and we can all reflect on what is probably the ending of our season on Saturday.

Your editor was at Swindon, and I think it just confirmed what we all knew deep down – playoffs were only a hope rather than anything realistic in the end.

It was nice to dream of having two more games at the end (or three if you’re lucky), and when the dust settles you can justifiably say it’s been a good nine months.

There was something a tad disappointing about how our season faded in the Wiltshire sunshine though.

It was like Crewe away, where we go ahead before you’ve even had time to take your seats, and after that it’s like we totally forget to play football.

The amount of times we just hoofed the ball up to poor Josh Kelly, who must be wondering right now why he signed for us, and wondered what that spherical object the ref bought out with him before the game was.

And this from a team chasing the playoffs.

When Bass fumbled for their equaliser (or was it their second?) and it went from 1-0 to 1-3, 2023/24 ended there.

Granted, Lewis scoring a second and giving us a grandstand finish was a little bonus, but really we didn’t do nearly enough.

We’ve run out of steam at the wrong time, and I think there’s a bit of fatigue generally around the squad.

If this does prove to be the finish, being in touch of the playoffs with three games to go isn’t a bad campaign.

Especially when you consider just how much we’ve had to turn around not just from last season but the season before that too.

Back to Saturday, and what annoys me a bit is like Crewe before them, Swindon weren’t all that.

Our approach started off being correct, then incorrect, and I don’t know why.

Does JJ need to add somebody with some creativity for his close-season shopping list? Do Craig Cope (PBUH) and Andy Thorn need to hit the scouting missions a little bit harder for the next couple of weeks?

Speaking of our manager, I read his post match interview on the OS and I found these comments interesting:

We’ve progressed the football club hugely this season but we want to get promoted and get this club back to League One. If it doesn’t happen this season, it has to happen next season. We’ve got a good group of lads who give everything but sometimes that isn’t enough.

Bold bit mine. And you have to wonder if we might be having more of a revamp in the summer than first thought?

Granted, we’ve got Joe Lewis, Ryan Johnson, Jake Reeves, Kelly (who I still think will come good) and – in the best news of the last week – Omar Bugiel guaranteed to be with us next season.

I’m not sure if Armani Little might sign, although given the rumour mill was suggesting Bugiel would be moving elsewhere about a week before signing a new deal with us, I’d take any predictions with some sodium chloride.

Perhaps Alex Bass might sign up for us full time next season? Saturday aside, he’s been mostly effective and definitely the best shotstopper since Aaron Ramsdale.

I can’t see Sunderland wanting him full time, and if the finances work out we could do worse.

Ronan Curtis probably won’t be with us next season, you can imagine him going to somewhere like Charlton, although he might pleasantly surprise us as much as Lewis signing up.

But you would expect the likes of Tzanev, Pearce, Lee Brown (despite his Indian summer with us), Kalambayi, Gordon and a few others who I have forgotten to move on.

None of those in the paragraph above will be particularly missed, to be honest, and there’s always a sense we could do better.

For the first time in many seasons, we do have a reasonably strong base of players to build on, and JJ’s comments may suggest we could be in for more upgrades this summer.

All assuming, of course, that the club’s beancounters give him a budget of more than £1.50…

Finally, as you all know, Joe Kinnear died last week and it was no suprise to see the tributes towards him.

I have to admit, I wondered only a couple of weeks ago if he was still alive, and last week I got my answer.

With Kinnear, there was always two sides to his time with WFC. We were all thankful when he swapped reserve games at Plough Lane (v1) for the hotseat after Peter Withe was booted out.

And while it wasn’t always good, the period between 1994 and 1996/97 was genuinely exciting and perhaps should have achieved more.

It made going to Selhurst a bit less soul-destroying, which was a massive achievement in itself, and I don’t think Wimbledon hit those heights since.

It never was the same after the whole Dublin Dons shit reared its ugly head, and parting ways with Terry Burton, although I was there that night at Hillsborough after his heart attack, and I’ll always remember that evening.

He could certainly be Jovial Joe and Caustic Kinnear. He could be chatting away to fans very aimably, but as Spurs, Villa and some of our own fans know, he could also be quite abrupt.

And if you can find that London Programme of WFC going to Spain, there’s JK giving a team talk that wasn’t quite a team talk…

Hearing he died of dementia isn’t surprising, as it seems too commonplace for the players of his era.

He certainly liked the alcohol, and was known to have a quick Guinness before doing post-match press conferences at Selhurst.

You do have to wonder if both of those things were related to the habit he had of claiming credit for things he wasn’t actually there for.

There was even an SW19 front page about that, long after he left us.

Still, it’s always a shame when another link to the past is gone, and it’s no surprise people are focusing on the good times he had with us.

I think he was able to carry on what was started under Ray Harford and bring us to some sort of respectability without changing who we are.

Was he Our Greatest Ever Manager (OGEM), as SW19 used to sarcastically dub him? No he wasn’t, but he was the main focus of the formative years of many of our current fans.

One thing though – we never did get to find out what he thought about the whole AFCW/MK thing…

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