The above picture will be a taster for the nice write-up I’m going to do tomorrow…
Just a few comments on watching us lose 3-0 to Sunderland though, while I’m in the (not very pleasant) mood.
Today seemed a bit of a penny dropping moment.
By that, I mean a stark realisation that we’re looking ever increasingly like being a League Two side next season.
That we went 1-0 down to yet another moment of mental feebleness is so predictable that it’s now beyond boring.
True, we attacked them a bit, and Rudoni in particular tried hard. But as I type this, it’s hard not to think that we’ve run out of options.
Apart from Heneghan, there’s nobody you can say needs to return from injury that will make life better.
Ollie Palmer? Now merely fulfilling the permanently crocked forward we’re contractually obliged to have in our squad.
Three at the back has failed, so we went with an extra player. We still end up losing, and they still end up fucking it up.
Wonder what Sam Walker is thinking right now? If he decides he wants to be unemployed rather than join us full time next season, you wouldn’t blame him.
Our strike force prowess has been the bright spot this season, but now that’s spluttering, and been brought down to the level of our defence.
We brought on three substitutes at 1-0 and before long we were 2-0 down. That kind of sums it all up at the moment.
There’s some moments of clarity right now. They may be knee jerks, they may get proven very wrong when we’re looking at the end of the season at the table.
But at this present time, on 16th January 2021 and a few hours after losing to Sunderland, we’re not good enough to stay up.
This defence will relegate us. Nothing we do to it seems to make it any better, and when it fucks up it chips away at yet more of the team’s (already fragile) confidence.
It has to be demoralising for Piggy, or Longman, or whoever to bust a gut finding the net, then seeing their hard work trashed at the back.
Or getting put under undue pressure to score goals, to make up for being let down at the back, like what happened today.
It’s one point from twenty-one (I’ll repeat – 1 point from 21), and that’s the natural conclusion when you over-rely on scoring goals to get us points.
Think of earlier in the season, when life was better than it is now, and the amount of games we threw away wins in.
The warning signs were there back then, and now we’re freefalling – and can’t seem to stop the rot.
We have two things in our favour, for now – it’s very tight down the bottom, and we’re still in the January window.
I say “for now”, because the transfers end at the end of this month, and with our current form and games upcoming, we could genuinely be adrift by the time the first lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Our squad has a serious issue with confidence (when they trudged off at full time today, they had an air of resignation) and it’s spreading to the fanbase.
The post-game reaction isn’t surprising, and the club is very lucky there’s no fans allowed at the moment.
But to give you an idea of how grim it is right now – driving back home today, for the first time I thought us being in L2 again wasn’t the worst idea.
It’s a dangerous game to play, of course, because we could easily freefall and be fighting to keep our EFL place.
We were lucky to be in League One this season anyway, thanks to Corona, and we’ve never properly adapted to life in the third tier as a club.
In weaker moments, the temptation to drop a division, and rebuild does sound a tempting one.
It would (maybe) force the club to wake up, drop a lot of the sentimental baggage it likes to carry around and start finding our way again.
We’ve lost that.
And at least in League Two, the opposition won’t be quite so good enough to punish us for yet more defensive clangers.
But we should avoid that, and rebuild as a League One side.
Like life in general at the moment, it’s going to get grimmer before it starts improving.
I don’t expect anything other than similar to today at Fratton Park this Tuesday, and I can genuinely see us pointless (in both sense of the word) by the time we face Franchise.
Maybe, by then some pressure might be put on the coaching staff by the club? Being AFCW manager seems one of the cushier numbers, job security wise – especially if you’re ex-Wimbledon.
But somebody high up should be telling Glyn Hodges that it’s not just down to the players on the field – he’s got to take some responsibility too.
We’ve been pretty bad in recent years not holding managers to account when we’re on awful runs of form, and it feels a bit deja vu all over again.
I could say more, but I won’t, and after I’ve done the day job tomorrow, I’ll do a nice report on life back home.
The good thing is, if the worst happens this season life will go on in our own backyard. It won’t kill us like Selhurst did, or even what KM would have done.
I just don’t want the season we returned home to be associated with the ultimate failure…