The difference a week makes…
If you have a strange feeling this morning, one where things are a little brighter and happier, don’t worry – it’s not a Covid related symptom.
There’s something called “winning a football match”, a syndrome that has rarely affected AFCW fans in recent years, but occasionally rears its head.
Often when least expected too, which makes it harder to vaccinate against when you start getting too giddy from it.
Actually, you can be forgiven for feeling just a little bit smug and satisfied today and for the rest of the weekend too.
Probably even during the next six days as well.
Make no mistake though, there are some games where it just works out perfectly, and Fleetwood was one of them.
Tough journey, even tougher opponents, and with a backdrop of a clusterfuck this time last week to boot.
That we scored a rather delightful goal is one thing. That we then kept a clean sheet is another thing entirely.
The much maligned Connal Trueman is getting a number of plaudits right now, some even from people who wanted him dumped on the M40 after last week 😉
One thing has become clear though – something has changed. And that’s a positive thing.
After the Plymouth debacle last week, GH was going to have a big meeting to sort things out.
I don’t doubt there’s been hard work on the training ground since then, and maybe a recalibration of tactics as well.
We’ve had occasions where things have come to a head before, and I don’t doubt it was the case this week too.
But the main change has come from us finding a few more shekels down the sofa, and finding Steve Seddon’s number again.
I have to admit, him returning was a bit out of left field. And long-time readers of SW19 will know I don’t like players returning for a second spell.
Yet all of a sudden, we look more assured with him.
As somebody memorably described the goal yesterday on Twatter, six players were involved and three of them were Seddon.
Nice finish, it has to be said. And one notes that Piggy was once again assisting…
There are so many positives to take from this game that it’s almost unhealthy, but perhaps the other main one is finding out we’ve learned to soak up pressure.
True, it appears we rode our luck a couple of times, but you have to do that a lot in games at this level anyway.
Fleetwood are no mugs, and you can tell we’ve had a good win when the local paper is a little bit salty.
I’ve missed these sort of games. And the reactions afterwards.
So the next question is – can we keep this up? You’d certainly hope we can, anyway.
We certainly sound like we’re more of a team this time round, without any of the crocks and wage thieves stinking out the place.
It won’t always be like this weekend, and I still think we’re more likely to finish eighth from bottom than eighth from top.
But it feels different this season already.
Apparently GH got most of the players he targeted, and it’s no secret that part of Nick Daws’ database has a “do they fit in?” field in it.
It would be unfair to say that we’ve had no resilience in the past couple of years, because we’re still a League One side.
Right now though, there’s more to us. We can finally score goals, for instance.
We’re in a position we haven’t been in for a while, where if Piggy and Longman go off the boil then Palmer and other players can find the net instead.
No, OP hasn’t featured yet, but GH told the SLP why:
“During lockdown he had a minor operation on his groin,” said Hodges. “With no physio activity and work to be done coming back we’ve had to get him moving again.
“He’s getting close. He hasn’t had a pre-season so it’s just taken a little longer to get him up to speed so that he doesn’t break down again.”
Thankfully, we’re currently in a position where we don’t need to rush him back. That hasn’t always been the case.
Our back line was genuinely scary this time last week, but we’ve finally learned we can stop conceding.
Never underestimate how effective learning from your mistakes can be. It’s a fantastic trait to have.
Trueman I think will get better, though we should keep Tzanev around for a little while longer.
I’m sure you can find other areas where we’ve improved, but these sort of results will increase the confidence.
And that’s what helps win games in the first place…
It’s ironic, and not a little bittersweet, that we won’t actually get to see our improving squad play in person for most of this season now.
I could be snarky here and suggest that we play better without some of our moaning cunts in the stadium, but I won’t 😉
While I think stopping fans in stadia is much more to do with politics than health (ie looking to be doing something rather than it actually doing anything – see the 10pm pub curfew ruling), it wasn’t unexpected.
It’s pretty obvious that some bailout will now have to come, be it from the Premier League or government, though each side will expect the other to dish out the cash.
They are pretty worried in the Championship though – your editor was working at QPR v Boro yesterday, and while both those two seem to be OK, it’s obviously they are more than a little nervous at the next six months.
True, one could argue they’ve made a rod for themselves by paying too much in wages, and there will be a bit of resistance for a bailout from, say, the government itself.
While I may be repeating myself from the last SW19 update. the following is as true as ever – seeing much loved clubs collapse because they’re left broke is politically toxic, which is why they’ll be propped up.
When supporters will be back I’ve no idea now, although a QPR pressbox regular suggested they’re looking to reopen on 28th March…
Six months is a long time for things to happen. That said, it seems it changes within the space of six days at the moment.
So we’ll all be piling onto iFollow for the time being. And whoever leads us out for the first time at NPL does it in an empty arena.
I don’t know whether Tuesday’s announcement changes things with regards to the non-refundable season tickets.
The club is about to take payment, and there may well now be a proportion of fans who simply cannot justify paying the money.
While NRSTs were always a glorified donation, it could be one of the things that people cut back on if their finances take a hit.
Especially as we’ll only get to see the new place on telly for a while.
As it was in March though, the aim of 2020/21 is simply to get through to 21/22. I think we will, as most people probably will commit to an NRST and accept life for what it is right now.
And it would be very typical of us if by next season we somehow got into the Championship…