The finish line is in sight…
I have to admit, of our four-game winning run the result on Tuesday was the one I didn’t expect.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, the vast majority would have accepted drawing with Oxford.
Especially when we went a goal down.
But we’re made of sterner stuff these days, which should (hopefully) get us to survival by this time next week.
I only saw the goal highlights this morning, and while we can be disappointed with their effort, we can be anything but with our reply.
Two strikes in as many minutes? I’ll have some of that.
The rest, as they say, is history. But looking at the other results this week, that victory might have been more important than we think.
Rochdale and Northampton winning should be a very strong reminder to our players that this season isn’t over yet.
We may be five points ahead, effectively six with the goal difference, and with a game in hand.
But after we go to Portman Road tomorrow, that could easily be cut down to two.
I fully expect a determined Rochdale to beat an on-the-beach Crewe, and you can’t trust Steve Evans to do the right thing with Northampton.
We simply have to keep going, and I think that’s the mindset we need to maintain.
The good thing is, we’re mentally in a good spot, and I’m pretty sure the players know that too.
Four wins on the spin should be a fillip, although we had been getting there before Easter.
Tomorrow at Ipswich is the latest Most Important Game Of The Season (TM), but what’s been happening on the training ground this week will be just as vital.
While MR and co deserve all credit for getting into the squad’s heads, we almost need to push them even harder mentally now.
That’s because we are so close to safety. It won’t happen, but by tomorrow evening we could be effectively L1 again next season.
And all of a sudden, you’ve become very nervous.
Should the worst happen at Portman Road and elsewhere, we’ve still got three games to do it, although Rochdale on Tuesday becomes pant-soiling.
The division we play in next season will rely on our attitude for the final four games.
Go out with the same mindset as the previous four, and we’ll be home and dry by the time we play Pompey.
The players themselves seem in a good space, and this little exchange between the club’s Twatter and Piggy illustrates that.
They know how far they’ve come, and they’ll be determined not to blow it as much as anyone else.
Time will tell. But I would have ripped both arms off, plus any other body parts to be in this position with just eight halves of football left.
For some reason, us beating Oxford wasn’t the biggest football story of the week. Neither was us winning in the LSC last night at PL.
Wonder if Redbridge would be up for switching venues for the test event on the 18th May?
Instead, something called a “European Superb League” got the attention.
Which sounds like something you get on a computer game, or something that is sponsored by Skoda.
To be honest, it wouldn’t make much difference to us anyway. Or indeed the vast majority in L1/L2 and below.
That will partly explain the “Fuck Right Off” reaction to the Big Six (sic) wanting to play glorified friendlies for ever more.
It’s now as likely as a Glyn Hodges side managing not to go a goal down, but this sort of thing was a proposal too far.
People will put up with most things in football, but there’s always a line that you just don’t go beyond.
That boundary was definitely crossed, and the reaction (and subsequent backtracking) soon followed.
They’ve been talking about an ESL for at least three decades, and it will no doubt raise its head again when it all dies down.
It’s worth remembering that during the latter stages of WFC’s time in the Premiership, the likes of Chelski were fast pulling away from the likes of us.
So it wasn’t a level playing field even as far back as 1997/98.
Which is why I don’t think much will actually change, beyond some token around-the-edges alterations.
Especially when it comes to clubs being run and operated as they are. Like guns in the US, there’s too much money in clubs these days for structural changes to ever work.
So I think you can forget all this “50+1” stuff, and the fan ownership evangelists will end up being disappointed.
Financial realities are hard enough for AFCW to deal with as it is, and we started off with a financial clean slate.
Imagine the state of other clubs?
Instead, they should concentrate on what is more achievable, like altering the rules so that teams get a better share of the TV money.
Or preventing the likes of Chelski from hoovering up all young talent then disposing of them a couple of years later.
Or indeed, anything to do with youth football, or wage caps, or other things that make it just a bit less uncompetitive throughout the divisions.
Football is fundamentally different from the last time fans paid to get into a game at Plough Lane, and too many don’t seem to want to accept that reality.
Although as somebody reminded me just after I published this – we wrote the rulebook over iffy foreign owners with Sam Hammam…
Whatever happens remains to be seen. That said, if we’re talking about withdrawing clubs, we could form our own Super League.
Don’t know who else with, but maybe you could take all the bottom seven of League One and play around the world, in a permanent relegation scrap.
We could even invite Franchise along for the “needle” fixture that will entice the waverers.
They can have their home games in Papeete, French Polynesia. With the twenty people who will turn up for their games, it will be the biggest home crowd they’ve ever had…