What can we expect?

Cod Almighty | Article

by Alistair Wilkinson

14 March 2011

If it really does all go wrong we can start again. That's what AFC Wimbledon show us. That's the optimistic, maybe even the romantic view. So much for optimism. The comparison doesn't work, of course, in that there's not a lot to attract a big town to want to purchase our franchise. Such a dramatic death would be denied us, and without the drama, without the injustice there'll be no romance to stir the population. And whether we had a bit of romance or not, I would question the town's desire in a similar situation. Could we rely on 3,000 supporters for our cause when we can't rely on 3,000 for a home game?

The Wimbledon game was played out in a strange end-of-season atmosphere. The football's done with, finished, forgotten as the soap opera rumbles on. Wimbledon have buckets of goodwill, being the the only ones who can deny Crawley, and we all want to see them in the league playing MK Dons. So we're all happy with the game, win or lose. To have a good game, 1-0 down and on to win 2-1, made for a cracking 90 minutes. Can't ask for much more than that.

That end-of-season atmosphere meant that no-one went crazy about the win; the crowd was pleasantly mollified on what could have been a difficult night. It would've been interesting to hear the reaction to a poor Town showing. It's no surprise that we beat Wimbledon: our performances in games against the top five have been our only solace this season.

Moore takes some credit, quite right too, but this wasn't the real test of the post-Woods era. We've four more home games in March, all of which are winnable and, if we're to keep Chairman Fenty's play-off hopes alive, must be won. Rushden & Diamonds, Darlington and Gateshead are all within three points of us and Tamworth's season is surely over. Can we come out of this month with 15 points? The test is against Tamworth at home and away at Kettering and Bath. We'll see if anything's changed if we can perform against these sides.

"Another 18 months wasted in a deceitful search for stability. Woods was and wasn't many things but he was pretty bloody stable, and a sight more stable than looking for a manager in March"

Of course, two short months ago I said that we could come out of February with 53 points and be sitting in fifth. Instead we came out of it with 45, ninth and nine points off the play-offs. Woods was sacked because of the same season-long problems: still couldn't beat the lesser sides and central midfield as effective as Sinclair's legs. (Sinclair proved to be Woods' eggs in one basket. I can't believe that he didn't try his hardest to sort it out but relying on a crock was huge gamble.)

Some might say we were poised. Some might say we were shit. I sat at the FGR game and questioned Woods' position. I assumed he'd be gone in the summer or maybe October. I even wrote an article for this fine site on the morning Woods was sacked. It was sent back as the events of the day unfolded. My patience was gone and I was disappointed. Disappointed with results and performances; disappointed with the fans and the atmosphere; disappointed with opposition and the league; and now I'm disappointed in the club. Another 18 months wasted in a deceitful search for stability. Woods was and wasn't many things but he was pretty bloody stable, and a sight more stable than looking for a manager in March.

Anyway, that's old news; we're looking forward and Moore's had a great start: two wins after going behind both times. But nothing feels right at the moment. Moore doesn't want the job but he may have no choice. A caretaker for 14 games and the chairman gets to hide behind his crazy public fa├žade. Another temporary fix as the board get to carry on whatever it is they're carrying on. Two managers of troubled clubs turn us down. The fans are forced further into silence as we wonder what to moan about, dizzy with the choice, anaesthetised by the tales of instability.

We're winning but we're not happy. The team's got its 'stars' out of contract but they're still playing as effectively as (insert levels of effectiveness here). We've had goal music on a crappy PA. We've had goal music. We're left scratching our heads as Moore hails the fans' support after the Wimbledon game but the atmosphere was simply not negative rather than particularly supportive. If this is all that's expected then they don't expect much.

What can we expect? There's not much to cheer a Town fan at the moment. Shenanigans and uncertainty continue to blight our 2First century as we expect less and less. Was anyone truly surprised that Mark Cooper and Steve Burr turned us down? Just another news item that brings barely a sigh and plenty of shrugs; certainly not the stuff that creates new teams of players and fans, existing or not. This is how we are now. We are Town.

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