I’ll save the Hell/Hull type puns for the update on Monday.
It’s not been a bad week, has it? And I don’t just mean the roadmap out of this lockdown bollocks either.
Sadly, it seems that the plans for allowing fans back into grounds will come too late for the regular season now.
Granted, there’s always the chance of another setback, like some new mutant strain from Kyrgyzstan that evades all treatments and also gives you a dose of acute flatulence.
If not though, at least we’ll be able to do the first test events for PL and maybe – maybe – just start putting all of this behind us.
That’s for later in the year. As for the few days just gone, it’s really nice to have a good feeling after beating Gillingham.
You get some victories that just wear you out, but this one had a genuine glow to it afterwards.
Not just because it was against Steve Evans, and not just because somebody actually decided to have a shot on goal.
Which also means another £1.50 on top of Jack Rudoni’s compensation, when he leaves for Stoke this summer.
But it was something giving you hope that we’re making steps in the right direction.
I did a rare watching-it-on-iFollow, and while we continue not to be very good we did look more solid than recent times.
Whether that was down to Gillingham** or whether that’s the Robbo factor will be answered in due course.
** – the Gills are a typical L1 mid table team, which is why our constant underperformance for too many seasons irritates me.
I’ve watched this division for a good number of years, and many of the teams aren’t all that. With a bit more planning and just a bit more tactical nous, I can’t see why we should see relegation as inevitable.
It’s a shame that tomorrow against the Tigers is free-hit territory, because we need to start building momentum again.
3.01pm 4.50pm tomorrow afternoon, I fully expect we’ll get dumped back down to earth.
But imagine if we weren’t? Imagine if we could come away from SW17 tomorrow with a credible point?
And imagine if we got a win…?
That’s the attitude we need to go into the game with, and I would expect MR is thinking the same too.
I’d guess the players themselves have got more of a spring in their collective steps since Tuesday evening.
Their confidence must have been on the floor for too many times this season, and if we get gubbed tomorrow we hope it won’t crash again.
If you’re going to hit a purple patch, the next four weeks wouldn’t be a bad time to have it.
Things definitely feel a bit different under the Mark Robinson era already, and in a good way.
He’s dealing with some outright dross in the squad, but there seems to be some semblance of a plan and identity.
We’re not going to get an assistant manager in for the rest of this season, presumably because it’s too costly.
But we’ve boosted up the backroom staff immensely already, in a way I can’t remember before.
We all know about Steve Sallis, the “mindset mentor”, and a lot of our problems have been mental.
Can you imagine what it must do to the players to keep letting slip leads? We’ve lost something like 21 points from winning positions this season.
Especially as the previous management was either unable, or unwilling to tackle that side of things.
We’ve also got Andy Parslow, who on Twatter helpfully referred to himself as the Restarts Coach.
He explains what it is (set pieces, basically), although it’s more than his job description to get them to pass to each other too.
We also seem to have coaches who come in as and when Robbo wants them, like Justin Cochrane.
That’s not a sustainable approach in the long run, as players will need some idea of who does what over the season.
But it will do for now until the end of 2020/21.
It’s a radical departure from what we’ve done in the past, anyway. Beforehand, it was Manager + Assistant + AN Other who did everything.
Now, we’ve got a Head Coach who is going to concentrate on the training ground/football side of things.
Who will be working with a Director of Football, who will be tasked with the transfers/admin.
We have a sports science bod alongside the mindset mentor alongside the set-pieces geezer alongside whoever else turns up on the training ground and at matches any given day.
And that’s not to mention Bayzo.
I doubt any of them are working for free, so is all this an extravagance? Actually, I don’t think it is at all.
It’s a new approach, and a much different one, but one that could be very effective if it works.
Somebody like Sallis getting into the heads of our players could save the brain farts that have put us into trouble this season.
Likewise, tightening up on set pieces – and making better use of the ones in our favour – can make the smallest but all important differences in games.
Remember – we stayed up in the Great Escape season because of goal difference.
Even at this level, football has become a lot more sophisticated these days.
This might make a few spit out their retro-issue Truman Milk Stout, but football is unrecognisable from what it was 30-40 years ago.
It may not ultimately work, but if it does then AFCW could benefit big time from this more modern approach.
We all know we can’t afford the better players in L1, so we need to beef up the way we coach our existing ones.
While you can definitely over-coach squads, it’s hard not to think that too often, we’ve let things go.
The way that our defence has seemed slow and disorganised, not just for this season, hints that we never worked enough on it.
So while we’re gambling, it’s something that’s worth taking.
The OS put up an interesting interview with Robbo and Joe Palmer, which gave a little insight into our new approach.
When you watch it, you can see why MR got the nod – and not just because he was probably the cheapest option.
They seem to be able to work well together, which is always a good thing, and they both seem keen on revamping the whole culture of the club.
When Walter came, he apparently wanted to do likewise, although one suspects internal club politics wouldn’t allow that.
Here, you don’t get that sense, although maybe neither having WFC baggage contributes to it?
Robbo is definitely here next season, regardless of status, and he can further justify the new approach with a decent performance and result tomorrow.
It’s a risk, and it may fail, but all things worth doing are.
One thing though – when we inevitably go through our eight-game losing streak, and with all these different coaches, who’s head will we want on a stake…?