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To Burton And Beyond
Not a toy By: Eric Hitchmo 30/04/2012
AFC Wimbledon H
28/04/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
W  4- 0
HOLMES '31
DEERING '81
MAY '86
HUGHES '90 +2
Attendance: 4422  (1234 Away)
More On AFC Wimbledon



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And so the Martin Allen effect is demonstrated. Say what you like about our opponents on Saturday going through the motions and suchlike, the manner of our victory was hugely emphatic and the way in which it was earned was something so rarely seen this season. We have shown glimpses of playing well in recent weeks, but have not turned it into points, and in most cases have ended up losing. This time, we made no such mistake. 4-0 was perhaps flattering, but the confidence this will breed could be of huge significance as we once again tackle a last day survival special.

The performance was solid and the football entertaining. We did not look like conceding in hindsight, though a one goal lead seems particularly fragile when news of Hereford's unbelievable win at Crawley was being filtered through the terraces. A Wimbledon equaliser was not forthcoming, and an experimental line up was rewarded with three vital points. I think many people were surprised to see Mark Byrne take his place at right back with Michael Hector in the centre of midfield, but it worked very well, and the team showed a level of motivation and determination that was not seen under previous tutelage. Indeed, Martin Allen was to be seen quite literally barking orders at his team for the duration of the match, ensuring they knew exactly what they needed to do in order to win the game of football. We were a big threat on the wings, with Ricky Holmes outstanding, full backs were encouraged to overlap whilst the midfield man covered. There was teamwork, there was unity, there was effort, a far cry from the mess which has left us in this ominous position.

A comfortable season-best crowd had packed into Underhill with a hefty following from Wimbledon taking the crowd way over the 4,000 mark. The place was noticeably more atmospheric from the start, with the cringeworthy attempt of the the PA to whip up some noise unnecessary. I don't know why clubs do this, it isn't just us, it's pretty embarrassing really. Anyway, onto more positive stuff, the horrible weather had not put people off getting behind their local team, and for once they were served up a bit of a treat.

The players enjoyed it, the crowd certainly enjoyed it and it breathes new life into us with next week's trip to Burton in our minds. I said last week that I couldn't see Hereford getting anything from Crawley and Torquay whilst still being mindful that anything was possible at this stage of a season, and so it proved. It was a bonkers result, and they'll also be confident that they can do the same to another club in such a situation next week. Fortunately, the race for the third promotion spot is just as hot as the relegation battle, and Hereford have not been served up any dead rubber like we have in Port Vale and Rochdale in seasons past. It's still an extremely tough task for them. The equation is simple, they have to win and hope that we don't beat a Burton side who may (or may not) have their minds on their summer holidays. Aside from a win against the now doomed Macc Town, they appeared to be so, with recent 7-1 and 4-0 defeats to their name, but there'll be no danger of us taking anything for granted now.

One thing that we can guarantee is a big turnout. Our away followings are generally pretty poor, but we are always capable of pulling a big crowd when the occasion requires it. I imagine we could be tipping four figures in the away end next Saturday and I'm sure that as with all trips to Burton, many of the travelling will be well oiled pre-match. Big groups will travel on various train services, followed by plenty on the motorways to give one last effort before this season ends. I'm still at a point where I can't wait for it to be over and done with, but at least with Saturday's result and performance behind us, it makes it a little bit more exciting.

I remain confident of a positive outcome on Saturday. I'm barely thinking of what could happen. I just don't think it will. Naive perhaps, but I just don't fancy us to not win this. Memories of last year's trip to Burton are fresh in the mind, the unbelievable second half where Steve Kabba smashed four goals in 26 minutes to send us all giddy with excitement. Whether I could stand such a thing again I don't know, I think I'd rather just take two early goals to settle the nerves, though I think that's what the beer is supposed to do...

If the unthinkable does happen and we end up in the Conference, the following worries are rendered pretty pointless, but they would be relevant in being turned into an annoyance. What worries me is that this is the fourth time in seven seasons that we have gone into the last day of the season needing something to secure our Football League status. At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is getting pretty dull now. We have been promised that this would not happen. It has happened. Again we have risked everything that we have built up. On Saturday, we saw a product of The Hive come on for a late cameo role. Luke Gambin's promising career with Barnet Football Club could be over if we go down, alongside everyone else in the Academy. We've poured so much money, time and effort into that facility, yet it's all at risk again. Why? I don't think that is an unreasonable question for a supporter to ask, especially when it appears clear that The Hive is going to be the base of our operations, if not our home any time soon.

Will the club really be able to convince the supporters to move with it when the on-field potential is invisible? My views are clear, we need to get away from Underhill and if The Hive is where we go then so be it, however I understand that there are an awful lot of people who do not feel this way, which makes this move very risky. The problem would be exacerbated infinitely if we were again to become a Non-League club. I'm sure a significant amount of people would simply walk away, and that is worrying. You can't just replace those people with new ones from a different area, it wouldn't be right. People who have Barnet in their blood could stop attending and it could potentially change the entire feel of the club. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

We need to give people a bit more incentive to follow the club should it move. The best incentive in football is to get a winning team, that much is obvious. We just haven't been able to get that formula right. The club cannot just rely on the blind loyalty of supporters for them to follow. That alone is not enough. We need more reason that loyalty to put our money across the turnstiles, over the bar, and to follow the team away from home, because as is evident, people just cannot bring themselves to do it while the club shows no sign of being progressive ON the field. A good training ground and an academy does not get bums on seats. Results do. It's time we paid more attention to football before we have to endure seasons like this endlessly, until finally we drop into the abyss.




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...


Other Articles By Category


Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...

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