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An icon departs

Today, we lost an individual who polarised millions and whose actions changed attitudes forever. Those in favour will admire the ruthlessness and courage of conviction, those against will seethe at the uncaring attitude and destructive mentality.

It is a day that people will remember and act accordingly to. Most will pay quiet thoughts, a few will openly mourn whereas others will do a spot of grave dancing. Whatever happens, things will be different from now on.

Oh, and Mrs Thatcher died today as well.

To be honest, I was going to write about various things later in the week – we know the post-Brizzle Rovers fallout by now, and having done a grand total of nine football reports in two days, my writing brain was a bit frazzled.

But I find Brendan Kiernan’s release, well, interesting. Not so much him departing, as I expect most people reading this have forgotten that he was even in our squad, but the timing of it.

Usually, you release players like him at the end of the season. I don’t think he would have made any impact, even less than Darko, but with three vital games left, it doesn’t quite make sense

Or does it?

I guess we’ll see if there are any fringe players given their P45s and a cheery farewell sooner or later. If there are, could we be seeing the decks cleared for one final throw of the dice? The emergency loan window may be gone, but one wonders if out-of-contract players can still be brought in? It would be a restraint of trade if they weren’t, presumably…

To be blunt, if that is the plan then we need just one more spark. As the world and his wife now knows, our goalscoring has deserted us at exactly the wrong time.

Four games without a goal in the last five games tells its own story, and one that has to be rectified immediately. Not for the Gills game, not for Fleetwood, but for this Saturday. It’s critical that we start finding the net again.

You know what the outcome is going to be if we don’t, so I won’t damage your nerves any further by mentioning it.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think for the last three games of this clusterfuck of a season. I’ve prepared myself for the big drop, but I’ve also prepared myself for one final, dramatic twist. I don’t know why I think that, the latter anyway, but I guess it’s because of the way this season has gone that something definitive is yet to happen.

Now is the time for somebody to become a hero at the club. Somebody to find just that run of form and/or good fortune. If somebody somewhere steps up to the plate, we’re playing in League Two again next season.

It really is that tight.

By the sound of it, Saturday was what happens when your strikers are letting you down. The defence isn’t good enough to overcome that with goaless draws, which is why our recent form looks horrific.

Why has it gone to shit, now of all times? Midson and GA are good strikers who are capable of getting the goals, but they’ve somehow managed to go into a pistols-at-dawn situation without a firearm at sunrise.

And when goals are hard to come by, it becomes even harder to get that one shot away. Even if we can just get a goal from deflecting off MMK’s dick, that will be something. A scuffed effort, an own goal, a lucky deflection can spark things, but we can’t even get that.

There would be many painful ironies if we go down, but lack of goals may end up being the most painful of the lot. After all, strikers were TB’s big obsession, and they’ve all either been so crap that we’ve had to let them go (hello, Byron) or like a man with low sperm count getting the snip.

Mind you, KSL seems to be increasingly figured out, and one suspects Darko won’t be playing professional football in a year or two. Obviously, if either one of them gets the goal that keeps them up, even I might be tempted to get a tattoo of them on my arse cheek…

You do have to wonder what is going through the players’ minds right now, as hard as it is to believe that some of them are capable of thought. Have they subconsciously accepted they are mediocre, and just see relegation as inevitable?

If so, that would leave an immensely bitter taste in the mouth.

Most of them won’t get another chance in the Football League – Sully jnr would, Benno probably would, JM and perhaps GA as well. And Pim. The rest? They should be absolutely shit scared right now, and using that to spend every possible minute down the training ground, working on how to do the right things to win games.

AFCW can come back from relegation, even if it will take a lot of rebuilding.

The players can’t.

I think we all know what we need to do now, and they have got no other option but to do it. We are about to see how much the players really want to be ones in the Football League, although we have to prepare ourselves for not liking the answer……

Whatever happens, there’s clearly going to be some overhauling needing to be done. Not just on the training ground and with the squad, but off it as well. I did notice something earlier today which made my eyebrows raise. It’s about WAW, and if I’ve read it right, it’s genuinely surprised me:

To date, 170 monthly pledges by fans have generated annualised income of around £50,000

So, since it got launched at the Port Vale game, and with a fair amount of hard selling, it’s going to raise….. £50,000? We’ve all heard the figures of £100k plus bandied about (which considering WAW is supposed to raise £400k would still be significantly low), so if I understand what annualised income is – you could just as easily put £25 onto everyone’s season ticket and get the same amount of money each year.

Assuming we stay up, £1m for a playing budget doesn’t sound excessive for 20 players (if you assume that the average wage of a L2 footballer is £50k, which individually it wouldn’t be but collectively it probably would for a club our size), so one wonders where we’ll get the remaining dough from.

Obviously, if we go down we’d have to cut that budget, perhaps even slash it in half, although with dropped revenues it would all be pretty much pro-rata stuff anyway. And £50k still won’t get you much even in the Conference. Hell, £100k would be pushing it…

There will be many, many things to think about in the summer and beyond, but if yet another push for the money in the pocket of the fans is going to raise a relatively paltry amount these days, then finding other revenue streams ought to be put top of the list.

Your editor noticed on the back of the season ticket booklet that ST get 10% off perimeter fence adverts or programme ads. That doesn’t suggest either are selling particularly well, and there seems something very wrong when you can’t seem to attract any firms without some AFCW fan involved.

Perhaps this upcoming close season and beyond will finally demonstrate that the well for insisting your fanbase pays for it all is running dry?

We’ll wait and see, like we usually wait and see. We still have three games to save our season, after all. And to be honest, they can’t come quick enough…

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