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Bugiel Wonderland

An apt time to post a classic of the disco era. And Earth, Wind and Fire…

So, that’s it then for 2023/24. A season that maybe could have delivered more in the end, but one we could justifiably call good.

For once, I’m not dreading doing That Was The Season That Was. You have no idea how depressing that’s been to do in recent years.

And while there’s been too many slip-ups, that cost us the chance to lose to Franchise in the playoffs, a 5-1 gubbing of Walsall isn’t a bad way to end it.

I’m glad we’ve signed up Omar for another couple of years, because his hat-trick might have sucked knowing he’d be off.

But he’s ours, and as we should know by now – a striker who scores goals is a precious commodity.

Whether Curtis will stay or not I don’t know, I suspect he won’t and he’ll be at Charlton next season.

Though him winning goal of the season is as brilliant as it was obvious.

We know Pell is on his way, he won’t be the only one, but that’s for another day. Probably this week on past form.

There’s definitely going to be a lot to write for this season, but I’ll hold back on that for now. I do want to give you something to endure on this site during the next three months.

Back to yesterday, and it’s weird that I’m actually struggling to write much about our best home result for some time.

It didn’t help that your editor was in deepest Norfolk again yesterday, and missed out on all the fun.

From my point of view, it’s a shame my final game this season was away at Swindon, but I think that was more “typical” of what we really were than yesterday was.

Having a big win is a good send off to the campaign though, and I don’t doubt the end-of-season shindigs were a lot nicer this time around.

We’ve started to learn many lessons in 23/24. Putting a semi-decent product on the pitch is one of them.

I’m sure the bar takings yesterday would have covered a few bills to be paid next month, and I suppose the only down side was November-esque weather at the end of April.

And we finished tenth, which in context is a very good achievement, even if it’s just a psychological thing.

Finishing 14th (which we could have done) wouldn’t have been a bad finish, but it would have added to the sense that we just couldn’t break into the top half, no matter what we do.

It’s a good platform, in a season which – don’t forget – is the first that we’ve started to do it “properly”.

We have three months off, which is plenty of time to look forward to next season. So for this update at least, I’ll leave it.

This campaign elsewhere isn’t quite over though, and we are all Crawley fans for their next two games.

We’re also probably all Altrincham fans as well today, and if Bromley beat them we’ll all be donning the yellow and blue of Solihull in the final.

Now I’ve said that – we’re going to Hayes Lane next season, aren’t we? I just hope that some there have been toilet trained by now.

From our point of view, the big news came four miles away from SW17 yesterday, and didn’t have anything to do with AFC Wimbledon directly.

To put that another way – farewell Sutton United. We hardly knew you after all.

It’s a shame in one way they’ve gone out the EFL, as it was the most local derby we’ve had in a good while.

And it clearly meant something, when you consider our reaction to gubbing them 3-0 at GGL was a bit more jubilant than it otherwise might have been.

I think that was as much to do with having them beat us in the FAC at KM and that they had some sort of hoodoo over us. Local pride, and all that.

We’ll forget about the Boxing Day game last December.

As a rivalry, I think it became one of those Chelmsford/Axewound/Withdean 2000/AFC Wallingford types, namely it was fun for the time it was there but only lasted for a couple of seasons.

Actually, I think part of the reason for our turnaround this season was something we suspect deep inside but won’t admit.

When Sutton finished 14th in 2022/23 and we finished 21st (one above Crawley, funnily enough), that seemed to cross a line psychologically.

Us finishing 10th this time round and them going down seems to be a reversion to some kind of natural order, and that’s not really big bollocks to say that.

Sutton did well to get into the EFL to begin with, and they’ll always have the ex-JPT final to dine out on.

But they were always a non-league club in the 91 Club, and they’re simply going back to their real level.

Same as Barnet, or Dagenham and Redbridge, or Aldershot Town. Or Forest Green Rovers, who have also gone down yet nobody remembers them doing so.

Or care.

It’ll be a shame that it’s not on the calendar next year, unless we play them in the FAC or we arrange a PSF, though I’m not going to miss dipping out on a ticket at GGL like I normally do.

And it always seemed far too small an away end for more than 500 people. It was only slightly better than KM for that.

Still, as we await the final two teams who we’ll face next season, it’s reassuring to know that one thing will remain constant.

The only question is, will we play Colchester over the yuletide period at our place or theirs…?

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