Is watching football supposed to be this shit?
Am I supposed to enjoy games like Heathrow 2 Morden LT Depot 1? Am I supposed to rush like a blue-arsed fly in shit driving conditions, and watch us in mud, rain, cold, and worst of all do our usual surrendering and leaving yet another post-mortem with the same conclusions?
Yes, I know it’s part of the experience of being a football fan (or in my case today, finding out I wasn’t doing Bognor Regis but instead as “luck” would have it there was a vacancy for this game. Read tomorrow’s Non League Today, if you can bear it), presumably the same experience as somebody into S&M who enjoys ramming nails into their bollock sack.
As our £5000 winning bonus for this round flies away in front of our eyes with a high pitched little chuckle at our expense, I’m sitting here right now in SW19 Towers wondering just what the fuck? And I do mean, what the fuck? Those with slightly long memories or decent therapists may have flashbacks of our game against Chelmsford in our minds. That game was similar to today, weather wise at least. OK, we did play well for the first 44 minutes, but when Tony Finn decided to lose concentration and stood there like a Franchise fan ordered to prove his loyalty, and they scrambled home, something happened.
I don’t know what this something is, but I sure as hell don’t like it. Neither did TB when I saw him get into his car afterwards (at the same time, a rather sheepish, nervy looking Finn walked past……). I suppose if I’m being philosophical, we probably need a few more slaps in the face. Our start probably raised expectations too high and it’s gone downhill ever since. Reality has well and truly caught up with us.
But I don’t like getting slapped in the face like this. I don’t like us consistantly embarrassing ourselves in defence even when we win. But today, I saw a new side of us that I don’t like. The AFCW that just can’t hack it. The AFCW that when the going gets tough just doesn’t want to know. The AFCW that, when faced with difficult opponents on a difficult pitch in difficult circumstances went into its shell and hid. That’s what hurt – we went 1-1, and that was that.
We may be a talented bunch of players, but we’re not quite that unit yet are we? Perhaps more importantly, we just don’t have that nous that needs to get us through these games. We don’t quite have the wit to get us through these sort of contests. Yes, we’ll learn lessons from this – or will we? One reason why I’m glad I haven’t been to many games recently is that when I sit down to write this thing, I just run out of ways to describe what I described the week before. It’s too familiar, and quite simply it’s depressingly familiar as well.
What will it take? A change of manager, as some knee-jerkists have claimed this evening? Pur-leaze. The day we start acting like Premiership spoilt brats is the day this club is fucked. Guess a lack of mental toughness isn’t just confined to our players. But I do have to say that TB must work out PDQ how to install that discipline not to get sent off (eh, Mr Inns…?), but in how to kill a game. Yes, that does mean keeping clean sheets. Or if it doesn’t, at least put so many shots at the opposition goal that the local A&E is on high alert.
Is it going to require yet another change of personnel on the pitch? Will it….Actually, I’m going to stop there. I’m repeating myself. Instead, here’s what it means right now. We could have had a decent run in the FAT this season. Would have been nice, a little bit of glamour and a bit to get the old cockles warmed, eh? We now have no excuse not to go for the title. We won’t have a fixture backlog, weather permitting. We do have about eight league games in January, and that will really test our season – I get the feeling the club’s patience will really wear thin if we continue to arse about now. The club wants promotion, whether we need it is another matter, but Uxbridge might have done us a big favour today.
Of course, I’d much rather be talking about how exciting it’ll be to be drawn possibly against an Oxford, or a Crawley. And somehow, that’s what hurts the most right now……
Plus points: Belal scored. Wasn’t that bad in the first half, or 44 minutes to be precise.
Minus points: The cold. The wet. The game. The way we let it slip. Alan Inns’ red card. The conditions, the M25. The M4. The A3. Tony Finn’s impression of a statue mime artist for their first goal. Their second goal. The realisation that we could have been 3-1 down. No Trophy run this year. A realisation that our season could actually be over by February if we don’t get our arse in gear soon. Failing to cope with the conditions. Failing to cope with having our Plan A disrupted by the opposition getting into us. Getting…… ah fuck it, you get the idea.
The referee’s a…..: CCL, anyone? Even down to the lardarse as a lino.
Them: Fair play to them, once they realised we were a soft touch they exploited that. Their #10 was a bit of an arsehole though. Really, really did well to get the game on, unfortunately. By the sounds of it, they spend a lot of money on things like the pitch and lights etc. And in truth, they’re not the best supported side in their league yet they seem quite well organised as a club (even their clubhouse seems geared up for functions, considering it’s effectively in the middle of an industrial estate). As much as I hate losing, I don’t begrudge teams like Uxbridge doing well as they seem quite clued up off the pitch. Better than a few in our own division I can think of….
Three’s a crowd: 582. Lowest ever AFCW crowd for a Saturday? Or considering the weather/location/transport problems/Xmas shopping, perhaps it wasn’t quite so bad after all? Worth remembering that Weymouth got 800 odd for a league game against Oxford this week.
Point to ponder: Is Jason Goodliffe capable of being the captain now? He may well have been telling our players to keep calm and concentrate, but was that message getting though? Before people think I’m having a dig at him, I’m not. Plenty after the game were saying that the only ones who looked bothered were him and Danny Kedwell. Both of whom by the way are/were Conf stalwarts. Which I think might suggest more about individual players rather than the team/management. If you have about six or seven players who not only give their bollocks for the cause but others players’ as well, then the remaining ones tend to tag along. But we’ve got about 3 or 4 at the very, very most who we can say that about. The rest can hide and know they can hide in the safety of numbers. Could you imagine Finn before their first goal with three of our players shoving a metaphoric rocket up his arse….?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The weather. As bad as it was after Chelmsford and responsible for the same sort of mood afterwards. (2) When was the last time we had a red card in a game? Though right now you wonder if that’s as much of a hinderance – it shows that players don’t get stuck in as much. Perhaps Inns went in a bit too hard though…
Anything else? I know some don’t like the “AFC” in AFCW because they think it makes us sound like Arsenal. But I wonder if our beloved AFC is mirroring the AFC in the Premiership? Think about it – the playing style can be similar at times, there’s an increasing amount of youngsters coming through, and they are as consistent as we are. And Wenger is getting as much grief in some quarters as TB is. The thing is, you just know that Arsenil will gain a few more hairs on their balls and come good again. It’s all cyclical. The same does seem similar for AFCW – we have good days and we have bad days. Today was an absolutely shit one, and we’ll have a couple of them before May comes around. But you know that we will come good eventually. And who knows, maybe a game against the other AFC could become a reality one day…
So, was it worth it? No
In a nutshell: What the fuck…?