The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

I'm the Nicky Law, and you can't beat the Nicky Law

9 February 2018

Wicklow Diary writes: "Who are Town playing this weekend?". What a normal, seemingly innocuous question. The one a partner or loyal friend would ask to show that they are interested in you and your pursuits. It should be normal. Lately it's assumed the wincing tone of genuine concern reserved for "when do you have to go back to the proctologist?" Or "poor lovey, did you have the bad dream about the puppy farm escaping onto the motorway again?" We can ignore the health warnings and chain-smoke our way through another season of Black & White Not so-superkings but have you stopped to consider the impact your Town addiction has on those around you?

Many a budding relationship has foundered on "you're always saying they're rubbish, why do you get so upset when they lose?". If you can get past that, you know you might have a keeper. Passive smoke can be harmful to your health, what does passive football do? I once serenaded Mrs Wicklow Diary in a Dublin bar with several verses of Johnny Cockerill's Black and White Army. She didn't know much about football then or she would have ran a mile. I mean Cockers never wanted the job, did he? Since then her less than passing interest in football has been replaced. And get this: her knowledge and support of Town comes without sleepless nights or tears of incandescent rage during what purports to be the shedder's favourite pastime.

Passive fan distils the thoughts of the addict down to the essence. The answers to questions that we wrestle with for months are obvious to passive fan. Town should never have let Podge go, didn't he score about a hundred goals? And look at his happy little face. Of course Hurst is doing well at Shrewsbury, he got Town promoted, he's obviously some kind of miracle worker. Hiring Slades was always going to go wrong, isn't he the self-serving hoofballer that walked out on us before when we were about to get effing promoted? That last one might be mine actually. Passive fan can keep a removed, sane view of the world and gets to the crux unencumbered by baggage. We can't see the Neil Woods for the TRees.

Podge of course was on the TV at Wembley with Newport the other night. That was emotional. He helped illustrate the point though. I tried to rationalise away the pain by musing on the better to burn out than to fade away angle. Maybe it's as well he left, forever on his 37-goal high pedestal, what if he was scrabbling around now with five goals or summat getting booed because Slades had him playing sweeper? Mrs Wicklow shot this down with a swift "Five goals? We could do with those, he'd be our top scorer".

In other football clubs trying to inspire their beat-up town news, Accrington continue to shine. They had their players give away 1,200 Stanley shirts yesterday to local kids at an event to celebrate fifty years since re-forming. Brilliant. Notts County had a similar vibe last weekend, selling out Meadow Lane by making all tickets £2. Because our PR is done on the pitch, our approach to engagement has to be different.

We sign a journeyman or Big Club FC youth teamer for a mutually forgettable couple of months to get the message across. There will always be a nichest of niche eBay categories for their match-worn shirts in a few years. What great names the current squad are destined to join. Elliott. Buscher. McCarthy. Green. Wilson. Fandango. Vidal. Naylor. Taylor, which one? Wright, which one? If you can name all the Taylors and the Wrights maybe you can name the three players that wore 21 in 2009/10? Or the three that wore 24? 

So, who are Town playing this weekend? Broadfield Stadium is the latest venue to watch the three fish flop and flail on the deck. With six wins from seven, Crawley Town are on a good run. We are not. The only positive is a small part of our rubbishness could be used as a flashed two fingers to those who take James McKeown for granted. We've earned two points in the eight games he's missed. As he doesn't score or create goals, I'm not putting it all down to his absence but it's a factor. Certainly not a spurious correlation

Our run is so bad, we're not even good enough to have those games that pundits say "that's the type of bad luck that happens when you are in a relegation battle". You know, when you batter the opposition but lose 4-3 when your keeper kicks the ball off the arse of a defender and into his own net. Actually, I don't even think this is a run. I think this is just us. I've never been one to call for a manager's head. Even the worst give you something to cling to. Not Slade.

The ref tomorrow is Kevin Johnson. I'm going to quote a previous diary for the last time we had him:

You may remember him from such monumentally shit performances as "Gateshead v Town, 2014 play-off semi" and "Colchester v Town 2016". What a clown. We were bad that evening but the ref was much, much worse. The kids still talk in hushed tones about the naughty words that Dad used that night about the ref and his accomplice liner. Let's hope for a better show on Saturday.

I can't remember if he had a better show on the Saturday referred to above. It was almost exactly a year ago and everything else was obscured as Bignot's boys lost 5-0 at Crewe. See, it's not all Russ fault, Town were rubbish before him.

A quick copy and paste form the CA archives will show us who shamed the shirt that afternoon:

Town: McKeown; Davies, Pearson, Gunning, Collins, Andrew (Jones, 46), Clements, Comley, Osborne, Yussuf (Bolarinwa, 46), Dyson (Asante, 46)

With Danny Collins, Ben Davies and McKeown all injured, the ref is the only survivor from this weekend one year ago. Wow. That's plain insanity. What is even more insane is that we could be looking back at the same situation a year from now. Too much déjà vu.