And indeed, goodbye to the 2010s…
In a decade that started with us losing to Handy away in the Conference, and ended with us losing a League One fixture to Oxford yesterday, it’s fair to say we’ve achieved a lot in a few short ten years.
Three different divisions, two playoff wins, more steps closer to where we were in 2001/02 and even a new ground on the horizon. We haven’t done too badly.
OK, being in the EFL has been hard work, and NPL is changing things in more ways than one already, but I don’t think it’s really a time for that.
And really, it’s not really a time for a nostalgia fest either.
I will say this though. It took us nine years to get from the CCL to the Football League, and we’ve spent just one year less being an EFL club…
But it’s the present that matters, and it’s fair to say the holiday period has been, well, mixed thus far.
Losing to Oxford – a team who we seemed to have faced the most this past ten years – didn’t really come as much of a surprise, which is probably why the post-game reaction is quite sanguine.
Perhaps beating Brizzle Rovers on Boxing Day is a reason? Now that was unexpected, and in a good way as well.
Work and other real-life issues got in the way of an SW19 update after the trip to the Memorial, but I think it was one of “those” results that you get a couple of times a season.
Especially coming from behind, which we almost achieved again yesterday.
That we’re probably a L2 level side may have done for us against Kunt “Karl” Robinson’s lot, and ordinarily we wouldn’t blood as many youngsters as we’ve needed to.
Although Rudoni has already made a bit of a name for himself. Like all of our thumb-suckers, he’ll blow hot and cold but he’s already put some senior players to shame.
And to think we’re missing Wordsworth and Wagstaff right now…
We now have the Most Important January Transfer Window® since, er, the last one. Forss may or may not stay – your editor was at Millwall v Brentford yesterday, and all I managed to find out was that the Bees are going to sit down with our Flying Finn and work out where to go next.
Keep an open mind on him, though apparently he likes it here.
If he does continue in an AFCW shirt until the end of the season, we’d consider it a successful January. One feels as though we need to do more though.
I expect most if not all will be loanees, not that I’m massively fussed by that. Perhaps a bit more experience if we’re able to get anyone in like that.
That also assumes anyone departs. Anyone who is gone in the summer won’t be buggering off next month – most clubs aren’t that stupid and/or desperate.
The likes of Folivi seem to be permanently crocked now, and perhaps we’ll end up chalking him off? He did a job for us last season, but this campaign we might as well have left the squad number blank.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roscrow go out on loan too, depending on whether we get another striker in. He’s found the going tough, to put it mildly, and he probably would have been at Slutton finding his feet if we weren’t so desperate.
And of course, anyone else who I’ve forgotten, or any other position that needs filling in. Which there’s bound to be.
Before we can do all that, there’s the small matter of Southend on Wednesday (that’s two days time, for those who are still working out what day it is today). A game we simply have to win.
OK, that’s slightly hyperbolic, but you have to assume they’re even crappier than we are, and we should be getting three points from it.
Football doesn’t work like that, of course, and some of their players might be fighting to avoid the January scrapheap themselves.
It does depend on our attitude in approaching the game. We’ve had far, far too many performances that have only lasted a 45-minute period, and I don’t expect much different on Wednesday.
Since Hodger has taken over, we’ve had genuinely few stinkers – Burton and Blackpool are the only two that spring to mind – but still very few where we’ve taken control from the off and kept at it.
True, we’re probably a L2-level side, although yesterday was not only our first league home defeat since September (against Brizzle Rovers) but our first under our current manager.
To be fair to him, he’s steadied the ship since Walter dropped him in it, and the early form shown under him hasn’t been a blip. Though he’s still got a very important month ahead of him that could yet break his tenure.
But then, GH does seem quite an intelligent manager, and him reportedly looking into further loans for the last month suggests he’s on top of things. That hasn’t always been the case…
Anyway, there’s not really much more to say for this year now. We’ll know where we are – on and off the field – sooner rather than later.
We won’t find out more about what’s next over NPL until there’s some actual things that can be OKed or not. I’d be cautious, if not wary, over some optimistic proclamations you may read at the moment.
There’s long been a mantra of over-promising and under-delivering at this club, which is probably partly why we’re in the current mess.
One thing is clear though, be it on the field or off it, we’ll be getting answers before long. And we need them…