Sort of happy as can be, I suppose.
Your editor doesn’t have many friends, let alone good ones, and we’re not exactly allowed to have good company right now.
But as those under the age of 50 will be trying to Google what I’ve referred to in the last three paragraphs**, we’re back playing League football and we’re unbeaten.
** – “Jolly Good Company”, a song from 1931 and was often sung by former WFC chairman Stanley Reed. Something I think should be added to the playlist for the first game back home.
And just think, we were top of League One after just 22 seconds…
I’m in two minds about the result, which saw us take the lead (twice), and let it slip (twice), although it’s a good sign when the negative side isn’t quite such a minus point.
Before I start – I didn’t watch or listen to the game, I wasn’t working, and I needed my fix of live sport in the outside world, so hopped over to Imperial Fields to watch T&M vs Fisher.
An entertaining game, 400 people there, and Fisher won on penalties, but I would have been at Sixfields in normal times.
I don’t miss the standard of football at all at that level, it has to be said.
But I was able to follow live updates inbetween yet another scuffed shot/crunching tackle, and the general post-game feelings match my own.
That is, could be better but could be worse.
If you’d offered me a draw before the game, I would have happily taken it. If you’d done the same after less than thirty seconds after kickoff, I wouldn’t have.
That I’m annoyed with a point is a good thing. That the players think likewise is even better to hear.
By all accounts, from those who watched the Charlton/Oxford warmups too, we’re looking more potent in attack right now.
After too many players let us down goalscoring-wise in the last couple of seasons, it was good that both Chislett and NGW found the net.
The likes of Piggy, Longman and Palmer will blow hot and cold anyway, and it seems that GH also wants more goals from elsewhere.
Which is probably just as well we’re finding a bit more up front, because many seem nervous about our defence.
Before the game yesterday, we added Daniel Czoka to our ranks, who is not only versatile but sounds like he’s “talkative” and “not shy”.
Only 20 years old, but we need more characters and not less of them.
I don’t know if he’s any good, but our back line might end up being our weak spot this campaign, unless we tighten up.
I watched their second goal again, and I’m still left with the impression we should have done much better.
Mind you, we didn’t let it slip in the second half, when Northampton reportedly improved, and it sounded like we saw the game out relatively comfortably.
There’s already a problem in the goalkeeping department, especially finding out Tzanev replaced Trueman.
Our keeper was well off his line for their free kick equaliser, and some don’t seem that convinced by him.
The question is – is Trueman really suffering from illness, as was claimed?
If he is, and he hasn’t got a dose of the Rona/clap, then it’s one of those unfortunate things that always seems to happen to us.
Spinal Tap had their drummer issues, we have our goalkeeping ones.
At least he didn’t have a “virus”, which is usually a euphemism for a playing doing something/someone he shouldn’t have.
If the problem is more than illness, then we’ve got a problem – and I don’t fancy such an important position being in a state of flux.
The transfer window for domestic transfers closes on the 16th October this year, by the way.
Time will tell, and we’ll no doubt be working a lot on the training ground for the game against Plymouth next weekend.
Which is at “home”, and which of course we won’t be able to attend.
The question now is, when can fans return, if they can? The truth is, nobody really knows.
I’d doubt there’d be anything more than test events from now until Xmas, although it’s interesting the government advisor bods are exploring all options.
Any solution isn’t going to be perfect one bit, but it’s most important that they’re looking at it to begin with.
As is the fact that test events are still being allowed to resume – that and Ryman League grounds (and lower) can take in spectators.
All “at the moment”, of course, and we must be mindful that they suspended them for a couple of weeks not so long ago.
The Premier League appear to be doing some lobbying, and I would hope the EFL would stop playing with themselves and join in the pressure.
At Imperial Fields yesterday, 400 in a 3500 stadium was manageable enough, and logic dictates that a bigger stadium could at least trial bigger attendances.
Yes, I know – “logic”. Something we’re in very short of supply of these days.
My own gut feeling is that test events and lower league games will end up getting nixed as infection rates etc rise. Not because they’ll be any more dangerous than going to Tesco, but because of sheer blind panic from the decision makers.
That said, and as said on SW19 in recent updates, I do still firmly believe that supporters will be back at games in 2020/21, even if it’s after the Yuletide period. Which isn’t that far away…
Already, there’s an undercurrent that things can’t keep getting put on hold, and normal life does have to keep functioning at some point.
It has to be said, Joe Palmer’s update late last week was a reassuring one. While official sites always put a positive slant on things, you don’t feel like you’re having to read between the lines to find doom.
The Debenture/NRST etc sales sound promising, and I think people are simply (literally) buying into The Big Homecoming as a reward for both the 30-year wait and the world currently in shit.
I know somebody who would rather spend the money on something else, looked at the whole Debenture/ST package and thought to themselves, “I’m going to do this because it’s not going to happen again”. They won’t be alone.
We don’t sound financially striken to the point where it could legitimately put us in trouble this season.
OK, 2021/22 is when the fun starts – loans need to be paid, the first-season NPL euphoria starts wearing off, and putting money into the club stops being a special occasion.
But that can wait.
According to GH in the SLP, we had to make some people redundant at the club, which is never good.
But even with NPL coming along, it’s ironic that running the club on a shoestring has seemingly put us in a better position than otherwise.
Running the business almost at the lowest level it can get away with isn’t much different to usual, although it leads to understaffing too much at times normally.
I can’t imagine we’ve got significant overheads throughout the club that would need to be chopped.
Plus, getting shot of the wage thieves when we did has helped immensely. How many of them have got new clubs?
It appears this season is one to simply get through the other side, and ready to rebuild when normality starts returning.
I don’t believe that there will be a mass of clubs going bust – football clubs are remarkably resilient no matter how badly they’re run, and Bury only happened because they pushed mismanagement to the extreme.
I can see a fair few going into administration though. We are currently eighth in the embryonic League One table, and we could finish in that position by default.
So, we might be in quite a good spot, on the field and off it. And there’s the big return home to come…
That crowds will be limited is going to dismay some, although a new ground is for life and not just for Christmas.
But there’s no point paying rent to QPR when we have a shiny new venue that we can start playing in again.
The question to that is, when can NPL open? According to JP on the OS, it’s still on schedule (late October, presumably).
Those who have been to the site suggest otherwise.
When you look at all the pictures showing the current construction**, and after your heartbeat reverts back to something approaching normal, you do wonder if it can all get completed in six weeks.
** – note to somebody at AFCW. How about putting some ground pictures up on the OS itself? And including ones that are *inside* the West stand?
We’re fortunate that with current crowd restrictions, it doesn’t matter if we can’t open right on schedule – though Buckingham may be on a deadline.
And it can be surprising how quickly things end up getting ready and for practical completion stage, even with less than two months to go.
The whole roofing/cladding bits of the East and North Stand seem to be taking a while, though.
I expect they’ll be completed within a couple of weeks, but it’s the things like the perimeter wall and making the concourses/north-south street actually walkable for human beings.
Not to mention moving all the Portakabin type structures, various other plant machinery and anything else that are dotted around.
Perhaps it can be opened with just the West Stand operational? It’s not like we’d be able to fit any more than 1000 in at the moment anyway, and the first “normal” test event could have an even lower capacity.
I’m going to stick my neck out and say that it will be late November/early December before we’re back home.
A month delay isn’t a major hardship in the grand scheme of things, and the biggest irony of all is that time is on our side a bit.
Especially if it’s true that we can stay at Loftus Road until the end of the year if need be (and presumably could extend that in the worst case scenario).
But whether it’s on time, a month late or even longer, you just keep looking at the pictures of it.
The speckled seats on the West stand do look better in real life than they do on illustrations, though I still think they’re a bit of a fad.
As tantalising as the photos increasingly make it, it’s not going to properly sink in until you can actually walk around inside it and see it first hand.
Restrictions notwithstanding, I’d like the club to arrange even just small groups to be able to look around inside when the ground is complete.
Stagger it out so that groups of six people can book a time at, say, 9am on a Monday and give them an hour to walk around.
Then make them leave (if you can), and get another group of six to do semi-erotic touching of seats at 10am.
And so on and so forth.
It may not be the Big Homecoming with the fanfare and the capacity crowd having something in their eye once “Welcome Home” by Peters and Lee comes over the PA.
But just walking in the ground will be enough. Hell, there may even be a game on that we could watch in the meantime…