Tag Archives: Bromley

Bromley – The Aftermath…

It seems strange to still be writing about the Bromley game so close to Hampton. If anything the massive deflection of attention has taken the pressure off, at least as far as I’m concerned. Even yesterdays match report was written with my hands, at times, still trembling with rage (which will explain the spelling mistakes at least…).

Another football club took the piss, to use a popular term, and I’m having a great amount of difficulty allowing that to go without comment (then further comment…).But first,buried in the middle of the second paragraph, an apology. In The Anonymous Don’s match report of the Bromley game, I made repeated reference to the role played by Bromley assistant coach Murray Jones in ‘the incident’. It now turns out Jones was in Amsterdam with some young boys for the weekend (hmmmmmmmmmmmm…) and has returned home to find his reputation in tatters after just about every media source claimed it was he who was responsible. Including me, but then I only got my information from the Bromley match programme of all places, who must have been aware weeks before the printing deadline that Jones was on a jolly up.

The real villain was Bromleys Del Parnham, who according to Mark Goldberg ‘…usually works in the football in the community project…”. In other words Parnham is the guy in charge of fetching the Diamond White from the off licence for a bunch of 14 year old pikeys, in response for their turning up at the game on a Saturday now and then. I could have corrected my mistake before I’d even made it had I paid more attention to Dave Anderson on the Non-League Show on Monday night. Not for the first time I failed to catch his words for his accent… the last time cost me about ten cigarettes.

During the World Cup group game between England and Sweden at the last World Cup, I found myself sitting directly behind Anderson watching the game on the big screen. Shortly after kick off, Dave turned round and asked me for a cigarette. Only I thought, bearing in mind he was right in front of me and would block the screen every time he got up, he had said ‘Do you mind if I take a piss again?’. So like an idiot, I said ‘Sure, Dave, take as many as you like’…

So, back to Bromley. Still nothing official yet from Bromley, their website advising tickets are still on sale for the AFC Wimbledon game, although it did appear to be updated to show the Eastleigh match report this afternoon. So, as far as Bromley FC are concerned, its still Sunday. Perhaps if they close their eyes long enough it will all go away.

Tom Driscoll - Bromley reporter for News Shopper

Tom Driscoll - Bromley reporter for News Shopper

Mark Goldberg has stuck his head above the turrets today though, speaking to the Bromley Happy Shopper. In an exclusive sure to decrease the number of those who immediately use the rag for cleaning up cat shit, Golberg admitted he HAD told Ivor Hellor if he was in charge he would have allowed a walk-in. But once he was sure the Dons fearsomely intimidating Commercial Director was out of earshot (48 hours later), Goldberg was straight on the phone to Happy Shoppers crack journo Tom Driscoll (an employee deemed so important his email address is listed as p.green@london.newsquest.co.uk… presumably the address of the person who wipes the saliva off his report, written on the back of the Beano in red crayon…)

In an article revealing just how sorry Goldberg is, entitled ‘Goldberg: AFC Wimbledon Players To Blame For Controversy’, Goldberg comes out with some stunning revelations in proper tabloid fashion, such as;

  • In true Premier League style (you know, the same Premier League he used to be part of for five minutes until he realised even back then that his wallet wasn’t big enough to cope with the bigger boys…), Goldberg claimed he ‘didn’t see the incident’ as he was ‘making his way down from the stand’. Very Sam Alardyce. At least it shows he’s prepared to learn from the bigger managers.
  • He insisted the blame lay squarely at the feet of AFC Wimbledon’s players after they ‘aggressivley confronted the Bromley bench’. I wonder what caused that? Could there possibly be a link between the two incidents?
  • Goldberg revealed Parnham was forced into his position as ‘he had a water bottle thrown at his neck and was verbally abused by Tom Davis, as well as a number of other people’ Christ, Tom, if your going to throw a water bottle at someone, why aim for the neck? And presumably by ‘a number of other people’ he meant ‘ three quarters of the stadium’. Again, what could have caused this sudden hostility towards poor little Bromley?
  • ‘But if you… have a water bottle thrown at your neck, all sportsmanship goes out of the window’. Does it? Whatever happened to rising above (supposed) provocation, whatever happened to the Corinithian Spirit, whatever happened to The Beautiful Game?
  • ‘The incident itself could have been serious. I think it hit his chest but had it been an inch higher, it could have been very dangerous’. Yeah, Mark. It could have hit his shoulder. And we all know what a dangerous part of the body that is to receive a blow on. He might have had a dead arm and everything…
  • Goldberg furiusly responded to Terry Browns comment that scorer Ryan Hall was a ‘flash boy’ and a ‘typical idiot’ in true playground fashion, declaring ‘(Hall) isn’t flash’ and ‘(Hall) is no idiot’. Later he was apparently heard to mention Browns mum was a slag…

I think what all this means, is we aren’t going to get an apology…

Now I have to turn my attention to some of the flak that has come Wimbledons way in the last couple of days. Because as far as Bromley fans are concerned black really is the new white, I thought it might be a good idea to recall some of the facts of the day, then translate them into Bromley-speak;

FACT – Some of the Wimbledon supporters in attandance were confident the team would get a result at Hayes Lane, due to the fact we were top of the league and Bromley had nothing to play for down in the bottom half.

BROMLEY – They were a load of Billy Big Bollocks… they just came here expecting to win.

FACT – When Wimbledon scored in the last minute, the players, supporters and management team were jubilant, celebrating the goal that in all probability would have won them the title.

BROMLEY – When they scored, all their management team came running on the pitch, really rubbing it in and everything… you would have thought they won the league or something…

FACT – Wimbledons Jay Conroy went down injured in the last minute, requiring several minutes attention to a suspected broken hand.

BROMLEY – it was an obvious time wasting ploy… what it was his hand now was it? I thought it was his head…

FACT – When Bromley returned the ball back to Wimbledon via the back of the net, this broke an unwritten rule that even the most uncouth Premiership stars accept as binding. This means Bromley cheated.

BROMLEY – Where does is say that in the rules then? There’s no rule that says we have to let you score. Why do you think that just because you’re AFC Wimbledon we have to let you score?

FACT – Tom Davis threw an empty plastic water bottle towards the bench in anger, without really looking where it would land.

BROMLEY – Tom Davis threw a sharpened weapon at our bench. This is complete justification for throwing out toys out of the pram and not doing the honest thing.

FACT – Wimbledon were slightly disappointed earlier in the day when Hayes and Yeading announced they would rest some players against Hampton, yet  accepting we would have done the same in their position

BROMLEY – We couldn’t let you have a walk-in. It wouldn’t have been fair on Hampton, would it?

FACT – After the final whistle some Wimbledon supporters, in frustration, removed a small advertising hoarding and dropped it on the pitch behind the goal.

BROMLEY – AFC Wimbledon yobs trashed our ground and threw stuff at our players.

FACT – After the game, in the lane leading to the main road, the Bromley and Wimbledon supporters mixed and tensions ran high due to an apparent lack of sympathy from the Bromley supporters. Some fans took this attitude to mean they were proud of what their team had done, and acted in an aggresive manner towards the Bromley fans. For a while it looked like serious trouble might break out, before a number of Wimbledon fans stepped in to drag the hot-headed ones away,while the late arrival of the police ensured the lane remained trouble free.

BROMLEY – AFC thugs beat my children and raped my Granny.

FACT – AFC Wimbledon will go on to right this wrong by winning the title, maybe not this week, perhaps even next year or the year after, but eventually we will deservedly play in a national league once more, leaving smaller clubs like Bromley behind.

BROMLEY – Even though we will probably never play AFC Wimbledon again, we are very pleased they didn’t manage to beat us even though we cheated, because deep down we are very jealous of them.

That last point probably0 hit the nail on the head. Other comments to come from Bromley include the classic ‘We should have won anyway cos we dominated the second half, so it was only right we scored even if it was controversial’. In other words, football matches should be decided by territory. Goals should be abandoned, and the team that spent the most time near the opposition touchline should win. Or even worse, they came close to winning on a couple of occasions but failed due to to the profligacy of their forwards, for some reason they thought this was down to luck rather than lack of composure when it was most required, so when the ball ended up in the net, decided it would be a nice little reward. And it’ll wind Wimbledon up no end.

While I was researching this piece (the five minutes before when I was having a coffee) I came across this blog http://buzz.bournemouth.ac.uk/?p=3353&cpage=1#comment-282 which kind of sums the whole experience up in the way I had wished to, only in much fewer words.

Also I hope I didn’t encorage mindless Wikipedia vandalism… after yesterday, my attention has been drawn to this…ryan-hall

 

Although the page is now ten times more accurate, I’m sure the bods at Wikipedia won’t see it that way, and you know it gives them something else to complain about…

So have I finally managed to put this Bromley thing to bed? Well, yes I have. I hope you all had a laugh at Bromleys expense with this post, perhaps the most childish I have ever written (except that one in the early days, where it turns out Hampton have a natural advantage due to the way the Universe is created. Very Red Dwarf that one was…), but for me, I now have closure. I hope all of you can find some closure too. And by 5pm Saturday, we can be safe in the knowledge that we will never have to play them again.

I feel almost emotional now…

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Bromley 2 AFC Wimbledon 2 – A Match Report

img108” The next station is… North Sheen. Please mind the gap between the platform and the train”. A fantastic public announcement, very informative, perhaps a better announcement might have warned that the train will be travelling at 40mph and the doors won’t open… this caught a couple of passengers on my train out as they whizzed past their destination. Fortunately I was heading off towards Clapham, Victoria then Bromley South. I was glad for no further interruptions than necessary.

Bromley… our old friends. As we all know Bromley is full of pikeys, and I have to say the fairground and drive tarmacing industries must be extraordinarily well paid ones to be in judging by the four and five bedroom pads on the road from the station. I did see some chavs though, although perhaps they were on their way to a fancy dress party, so ludicrous were their garments. Two of them had oversized basketball shots on with matching vests and Elizabeth Duke chains, as is de rigueur. Not a good look for pasty white boys, lads.

The battle lines are drawn...

The battle lines are drawn...

I felt confident on the walk, or at least I was trying to be, and arrived in good time to soak up the atmosphere. I had the feeling it was going to be our day. Wimbledon looked like they would take it from the start, yet the first half-chance fell Bromley’s way. A long ball was misjudged by Leberl, who slipped allowing Ali Chabaan with a clear run on goal. Fortunately the Bromley man panicked shooting wide from 30 yards when well placed to advance on goal. And it only took a few seconds for the Dons to strike back in style.

Some good pressure lead to a cross from the right bouncing kindly for Elliott Godfrey to volley with his left foot firmly past keeper Gareth Williams despairing dive. A wonderful start that sent the visiting hordes into raptures, Wimbledon spent the remainder of the half on the front foot. When Bromley attempted to go forwards it all went wrong for them. A short backpass from Leberl would have let Chabaan in had he not slipped, allowing the ball to safely run through to James Pullen.

But the Dons were fully in control, with Chris Hussey showing unusual amounts of confidence compared to recent performances, firing just wide from thirty yards, going even closer minutes later when flashing a free kick just over. Just before half time Danny Kedwell was sent clear by Hatton, chipping wide when he should have scored.

Lewis Taylor finally makes his debut. Congratulations on your long road back to fitness, Lewis.

Lewis Taylor finally makes his debut. Congratulations on your successful battle back to fitness, Lewis.

There was a sense of frustration among the fans that a second goal hadn’t come, not helped by the news Elliott Godfrey was forced to remain in the dressing room with a shoulder injury. This meant a debut (finally) for Lewis Taylor, a rare moment when one player with reversible names has replaced another. Taylor looked immediately impressive, chasing down balls with a purpose and hunger only a man who has missed nearly all this season could. It was almost as if he was trying to fit as much football as possible into this 45 minute cameo as he could.

Sadly it wasn’t enough for Wimbledon, as the other outfield players came out with the kind of lethargy that suggested they spent the break having a kip. Bromley produced a few shaky moments for the Dons back line before finding an equaliser through Ryan Hall. Despite strling efforts from Danny Kedwell, Wimbledon just couldn’t clear a succession of throws on their left flank, allowing Hall to stab past Pullen at his near post.

Bromley managed another clear cut chance a few minutes later after Leberl again misjudged a long, high through ball allowing Chabaan a clear run on goal. Fortunately Pullen managed to get strong hands on his challenge with the Bromley man, the ball running for a corner. As Wimbledon committed men forwards Bromley looked good on the break, from a Hussey corner straight into Williams arms, the keeper started a lightening breakdown the left before the ball made its way to Hall who could only hit the chance over with Pullen stranded.

It was around this time that Bromley decided to replace Ashley-Paul Robinson, so blown up he resembled an unfit Shane Small-King and apart from a few nice touches showed he definitely wasn’t ‘on dis ting’, in fact the only trial he’ll be getting this year will be for the towns Pie Eating Championship. This time last year he seemed to have a professional career at his mercy, and you had to wonder where it all went wrong (Facebook messages excepting) as top scorer Warren McBean took his place.

In the last twenty minutes it looked like the title or bust for Wimbledon, despite finally creating a chance when Kedwell, with one of his last inputs in the game, winning his header on the edge of the area finding Hatton, who cleverly flicked into Tony Finns path. The tricky forward, brought on after Brown appeared to sacrifice the midfield completely with the removal of Lee, seemed certain to score but just dallied slightly allowing a Bromley man in to block.

Much better from the Dons, but Bromley still looked more likely winners. Pullen had to make a low save from the luckless Chabaan, then beat out a fierce effort from McBean and touching wide when Hall found himself in a good position. And with ten minutes to go strong running from McBean saw his low cross-shot almost turned in at the far past by Hall, the ball just running slightly behind him.

Much celebrating after 'the winner' behind the goal

Much celebrating after 'the winner' behind the goal

There was no lack of effort by The Dons despite this, they had thrown all their chips on Win, having to defend for their lives and ride their luck slightly at the back. It all paid off in the last minute, when a Hussey corner pinged around the area before being poked in by substitute and debutant Rocky Baptiste, causing unbelievable scenes behind the goal. That it wasn’t to prove the winner is down to the controversy in the last minute. There has been a lot spoken already about the controversy, but here are the facts;

  • Dons right back Jay Conroy went down in the box during injury time, subsequently diagnosed as a serious hand injury, not what the Bromley News Shopper (a ‘newspaper’, apparently…) described as ‘…an obvious timewasting tactic…’
  • After trying to clear down the right flank, Bromley won the ball back but the move broke down, falling to Main, who could have turned and run at a tired Bromley defence, instead sending the ball out to allow Conroy treatment.
  • After several minutes of treatment, with the referee adding on time, a Bromley player threw the ball to Ryan Hall. With Wimbledon players standing hand on hips, Hall shaped to send the ball back to keeper Pullen, instead blasting it mischieviously over Pullen, and seeing the ball bounce into the net off the post. I don’t for one second think Hall meant to do this, however once it went in, and he heard a few ironic cheers from the Bromley fans, and did a silly little dance celebration.
  • The Wimbledon fans at this point were bemused rather than angry, and there was talk of who was going to score the walk-in.
  • After much discussion between the two benches, it became apparent that Bromley were not going to allow the Dons to walk the ball in the net. It was only then that the mood turned ugly.

The Wimbledon players must be commended. At no point during the delay, when the Dons players would have known exactly what was going on, did any of them react to what most people would have regarded as extreme provocation. Neither did a Wimbledon player throw themselves down in the box when the urge of the referee, already snubbed in his attempt to force a walk-in, would have jumped at the chance to level things up. So who really is to blame?

Ryan Halls Wikipedia page, shortly after the game...

Ryan Halls Wikipedia page, shortly after the game...

Ryan Hall - Of course Hall didn’t mean to bang the ball into the top corner, but he could have made sure the ball went well away from the goal, kick it out for a throw, or simply roll it back to Pullen. His actions were childish, as were his half-hearted celebration, and he must accept some responsibility for this, as must partially every Bromley player on the field who knew what had happened was wrong but kept quiet.

Murray Jones – Ultimately Jones could have spared his teams blushes by ordering a walk-in, without the referee even needing to ask him.  The Bromley assistant manager decided he wasn’t going to allow Wimbledon to score, as according to Stuart Cash on the Non-League Football Show, Jones had nearly been hit by a water bottle by Tom Davies. The obvious answer, Murray, would have been to have caught it, and got on with things, However Jones decided to take his own agenda from that point on, and as a supposed leader, a grown man, his actions were beyond defence.

Mark Goldberg – The Bromley manager picked up a horrific knee injury in a veterans game last Tuesday night – and for that my best wishes go out to him and I hope he has a speedy recovery – and it was very brave of him to hobble out into the dugout for the first half. When the incident took place, Goldberg was sat in the stand. Apparently he told Ivor Hellor after the game that if he had been on the bench he would have instructed his side to allow Wimbledon to score.

Mark Goldberg hobbles off for half-time. Sorry, for good.

Mark Goldberg hobbles off for half-time. Sorry, for good.

I don’t believe this for one second. I don’t believe the manager of the football club didn’t have any means of getting a message to his assistants; the game was held up for almost ten minutes, even if they had no mobile phone contact, Goldberg could have instructed a runner to tell Jones this. Alternatively, as Dave Anderson pointed out on the Non-League Show, he could have told his players himself simply by shouting at them.

Jerry Dolke/The Bromley FC Directors - Ultimately upholding the reputation of their club in a high profile gamne against a team they supposedly have a good working relationship with despite previous tensions, the Bromley Chairman could have easily moved during the long delay to override their manager and assistant, and if Dolke didn’t, surely one of the directors present must at some stage have thought ‘this isn’t right…’. Bromley are a club with a long history, but reputations are easily lost. Now some 24 hours after the game we have still had no official word from Bromley FC, despite the controversy that has blown up around them.

This doesn’t bode well for Bromley FC. With crowds down and the money running out, they need local fans to turn out. But how can they convince people to turn up when Bromley, on their big day, have shown that they cannot be trusted to play the game in the correct manner? Surely the Chairmen had advised his manager (in turn fed down to his assistants and the players) that the club had a code of conduct which must be respected in these situations? How do they expect to attract new players to bolster the squad against what could be a difficult season for them next term, when they know that its a free-for-all as far as the management are concerned.

Where do Bromley draw the line? Will they put a protective arm around a player who has ended another guys career with a shocking tackle or flying elbow? Will they stand up for players who commit criminal offences, drink-driving, assault, drugs?

There appears to be one of two things wrong in the Bromley boardroom; A lack of proper leadership meaning the club is now effectively a ‘muck-about’ team, or even worse, a great deal of jealousy towards AFC Wimbledon. It would be interesting to know how Bromley would have reacted had this incident happened against any other club. One thing it does point to the observer, neutral or otherwise – Bromley are certainly a club without honour.

Mr T Power (Referee) – While Power did everything by the book in terms of the restart following Conroys injury – adding the appropriate time and ensuring the player left the field of play – his complete lack of leadership once the goal went in showed he was out of his depth. Powers options were more wide ranging than most people think. As soon as the ball went into the net he could have stopped the game, booked Hall for Ungentlemanly Conduct, and restarted with a drop ball where Hall had struck his effort from. Similarly he could have approached Jones in the dugout and instructed him to have allowed a Wimbledon walk-in, or he would disallow the goal and book Hall.

Power had the, erm… power to do any of these things, he even had several minutes thinking time as to how he was going to act, knowing he could reverse his decision right up to the moment he blew for the game to restart. In only asking Jones and his captain to allow the walk-in, and letting them to reject this plea, he virtually admitted he had lost all control of the game, unfortunate for him had an assessor been in the stands.

As well as this, Powers linesmen, recognising their man was floundering, could have approached him to give advice – neither did. The officials have now set a precedent that it is only their responsibility to call fouls, singnal when the ball has gone out and when a player is offside. Surely they hold a moral duty to ansure sporting attitudes are upheld? They had the ability to do so here, and unfortunately for the game as a whole they failed to do so.

Before it all happened... the team warm up

Before it all happened... the team warm up

There have been a number of unsavoury claims put forward in the last day or so, claiming wrong-doing by Wimbledon players and supporters, all of which I will be answering in a follow up post later in the week. Some elements of the Bromley support are trying desperately to deflect attention from their clubs actions, unbelievable as that may be. I feel I have to pick through these allegations, it is my duty as a Wimbledon supporter to do so.

To finish, I will turn my attention back to the game, and the title we are now so close to. I recieved the match statistics this morning and was very surprised to see both sides had finished with seven scoring chances apiece, with the Dons having four on target to Bromleys three. Its easy to forget just how in charge Wimbledon were before the break, and should rue those missed chances that could have made the game safe. Those suggesting the Dons were lucky to remain on terms until the last minute will do well to remember there was no luck involved; Bromley missed their chances in the second half through poor finishing, as we had ours in the first period. That Wimbledon grabbed what should have been the winner in the last minute shows the fantastic will to win the team has, that they were robbed in such unfortunate circumstances will only make them more determind against Hampton on Saturday.

The title will be won with a point on Saturday, should we lose we have to match Hamptons result in the final game, earning at least a point in doing so (unless Eastleigh lose). The title is close. We can all smell it now. There is no nervousness anymore, just a determination that a wrong-doing needs to be corrected. For me its like a thirst I cannot quench. I want the title now. I wanted it on Monday. I shouldn’t have to wait any longer than Saturday.

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The Final Seven (The Run-In Previewed…)

Last summer, following the euphoria surrounding our dramatic playoff victory at Staines, opinion seemed to be pretty universal on how competitive we were expected to be this term. The word ‘consolidation’ was being bandied around more often than a lunchtime advert on Living TV. And consolidate we did, ensuring our league survival by Christmas. By then we had allowed our heads to be turned by a much bigger prize.

Promotion to the Conference National is so close I now can’t see us not playing there next season. Failure now could be our most painful experience as football fans. While the odds seem overwhelming, I always seem drawn to Hugh Everitt IIIsMany-worlds theory, which as a master wordsmith I could obviously explain to you simply myself, yet why should I bother when someone has already written on on Wikipedia for the layman. And as I am wearing the Wikipedia t-shirt I got for Xmas, I may as well just cut and paste that for you. It is defined as “there is a very large, perhaps infinite, number of universes and that everything that could possibly happen, or could possibly have happened, in our universe (but doesn’t) does happen in some other universe(s).”

Considering this, you can perhaps see why my bedroom ceiling has been examined at great detail as I lie awake at night pondering the implications. From the position we are in now, we should win the league in the majority of outcomes (assuming that Welling winning 13-4 or something ridiculous on Saturday is an outcome that could not possibly happen). I’ve always thought there was something a little funny about the world we exist in. For all we know we could be about to witness something unlikely. Something weird, like Chelmsford managing to clinch the title after appearing to throw it all away in February. If the unlikely happens, we will be picking up the pieces well into next season. Perhaps. Maybe I should stop being such a doom monger and just preview the games?

WELLING (HOME) 21st MARCH

The slayers of Trumpton head to The Meadow on Saturday looking for another scalp to reinvigorate their playoff hopes. I’ll be giving a comprehensive preview on Friday (just like last weeks comprehensive ‘effort’, haha!), but for now I predict a similar game to Hayes or Worcester. Tight, and 2-0

EASTLEIGH (AWAY) 28th MARCH

They’ve come a long way since their early season blips in August, getting tonked in consecutive away games at Bromley (1-5!) and St Albans (0-5!!!), and had really turned things around by the time they became the first and to date only team to win at TCRRFS in the league this season. Despite their easy looking run in they will probably fall well short of the title. May clinch second with a good run, but at the moment can relax slightly as they are pretty much nailed on to feature in the playoffs. A draw will be a fantastic result for both teams, so Ill go for 1-1, but expect Our Dons to be hanging on come the final whistle as Eastleigh press in an effort for the extra points from a win that will make them the only team to do the double over us this season.

TEAM BATH (HOME) 4th APRIL

Team Tax have been inconsistent recently, and appalling in their last few fixtures including crashing 0-3 at revival team Bognor. With results like that they could be effectively be playing out the season as their hopes at the moment are as small as their fanbase (whatever happened to the five thousand screaming knob-heads that turned up to that FA Cup game a few years ago? They should give every student a free season ticket, as not only would they get some kind of atmosphere but if they work out their attendance like we do they could get some cracking ‘crowds’ down there). TTwere something of an unknown quantity this season, and after shocking everyone withtheir start, slipped down the table as winter kicked in. While possessing some obviously talented players, you have to question whether Tax will ever have the strengthin depth to challenge for promotion from this league, and perhaps they have found their level. Yet one thing we have found out during our six year AFC adventure is there is nothing a player that normally plays in front of 200 likes better than having a good game against a club that pulls in 3000 every week. For that reason we must fear Tax turn up on a bad day for us and turn us over, as they have the potential to do so. However I have been impressed by the professionalism and battling qualities of our Dons this year, even during our recent poor form. This is the earliest we can win the league, and as I’ll be across the pond that day I suggest the likelihood of us winning it after this one as quite high, unless a few other Dons have booked holidays across the playoffs, in which case we won’t win it at all. My prediction… 1-0.

BASINGSTOKE TOWN (HOME) 10th APRIL

How long ago does it seem since our August trip down the mainline to the Town of Many Malls? Our fourth game and our fourth win was easier than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, it wasn’t hard then to see ‘Stokes season was going to be a struggle. Relegation seems to have been staved off by a run of decent results, leaving them clear and the survival hopes of the bottom three seem to have less life in them than Natasha Richardson at the moment. Either way a home game against a team at the bottom should never be a problem for a team gunning for the title, and I’m going for a 3-0 Dons win.

BROMLEY (AWAY) 13th APRIL

Ah! Our old friends Bromley! You remember them, from Ryman One, and that playoff semi-final two years ago? Whatever happened to them? They rolled up at TCRRFS on Bank Holiday Monday back in August as genuine rivals, boasting the likes of Nic McDonnell and Danny ‘You can’t afford me!’ Hockton. The large posteriored hit man Hocktonfound himself back at The Meadow on the end of a thumping with Braintree, with Hocktonmore interested on telling the John SmithStand what he’s been spending his extra £50 a week on. And with McDonnell taking a break from football its been down to ex-Sutton striker Warren McBean to bang the goals in, currently well behind in second place in the scoring charts to our own Jon Main. Inconsistency has been Bromleys problem this year, just not showing enough form for a play-off push, however they are going to pull out all the stops for the visit of their larger and more illustrious near neighbours (that’s us by the way). As its such an awkward place to go I’m sure of a high scoring draw, 2-2.

TRUMPTON NOT RICHMOND (AWAY) 18th APRIL

It could be all over by now, but if there’s anything left to play for Trumpton are going to give it their agricultural best when the Big Boys make the long three mile journey from the Metropolis to the village, almost doubling the population in the space of a few hours. Trumptons super-skinny squad should be absolutely knackered by this time, and I think it won’t be the close encounter many are suggesting. If the titles still on for them and they decide to play a more open game Trumptoncould seriously get stuffed if Wimbledon are in the mood. I’m going for 3-0 and the title if the villagers are still in contention, with a 1-0 Dons win should we have won it already.

ST ALBANS CITY (HOME) 25th APRIL

Its very likely that we will know our destiny by now, and our final game of the season could be a farewell to the Blue Square South, hopefully forever. If we need any kind of result the complexion changes and it becomes brown trousers time. Imagine if we need a draw to be certain and it was still 0-0 with ten minutes to go? It’ll be the longest ten minutes of our lives. Comfortable in mid table, the Stalebunscan play withno pressure, and could cause problems up against a nervy defence. If the league has been won by now it’ll be even worse, an end of season game played at zero pace, with the crowd tiring towards the end spending their time waiting for the trophy to be presented and the players running around in Blue Square We Are Going Up t-shirts. I won’t make any predictions on this one except whatever happens, we can guarantee the crowd is going to be over 4000. Then have to worry about crowds like that being the norm rather than exceptions for our first season back in a national league.

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