The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Pulled Was Convincing Wimbledon They Had A Chance Of Winning The Title

Lets face it, if we weren’t going to win the league, the slow realisation from January to early March that it’s not going to happen beats the gut wrenching final day disappointment every time. We still face the prospect of gut wrenching disappointment in the playoffs, so all you masochists won’t go unsatisfied. Unless we actually go on and win the playoffs, in which case I recommend self-flagellation whilst repeatedly watching the DVD of our 2008 home defeat to Boreham Wood.

Yes, it is highly likely Crawley will have overhauled us in the table by the time I’ve finished picking bits of pancake off the ceiling, and with a mere five games still in hand over us… you would have to be an optimist of the highest order to believe the Dons can pull this one back, that or Nurse is currently on hand to administer the smelling salts. The exception would be if you happened to be a Dons player, stand up Seb Brown. Quite right too, while we can draw a line under the title race as fans – partly to avoid additional pain and loss of face in what appears to be a lost battle.

Yet there’s still a little voice in the back of my mind telling me ‘hang on, if they lose tonight and on Saturday, then we beat Kidderminster, then Hayes do us a favour on Tuesday and we go there on the Friday night and win we’ll be seven points clear and they’ll only have four games in hand…’. Even now, while writing that in an effort to illustrate how ludicrous it would sound, the irrational football supporter side of my brain is finding that a likely scenario. Someone strap me down…

If we do drop to second place I’m hoping to see a big reaction from our players… Yes, at the start of the season, we would all have been delighted with a top five finish, but the form we have shown so far means I can’t possibly see a situation where limping into the playoffs and crashing out in the semi-final would lead to supporters slapping players backs and saying ‘never mind, at least you tried…’. The bar has been raised. We aren’t going to win the title, and I’m not expecting us to win every game, but we do have a favourable schedule from now until the end of the season. With Luton’s fixtures all over the place thanks to their progress in the Trophy, I expect us to battle them all the way for second…

Next Friday is still a massive game, illustrated by the speed at which tickets sold out earlier today. In situations like this we normally find enough people give up without trying to ensure everybody who really wants a ticket will get one, but not today. You get the impression even if we had been given a ‘normal’ allocation tickets would have shifted pretty quickly. I don’t blame Crawley for ensuring as many of their own fans make it to the game as possible, it’s what we would have done. Plus they have given Luton the same allocation, this isn’t an anti-Dons thing, and I doubt any other sides in their run in will come close to taking up that allocation.

Yet I wouldn’t be doing this blog its dues if I didn’t get a sly dig in… the 4000 crowds who turned up to see Crawley pip Weymouth to the Southern League title seemed to forget their town had a football team for five years until they conveniently drew Manchester United in the Cup. Plus they seem to have already lost a thousand off the gate over the course of a week or so…

Before then Saturday gives us an equally tough encounter against a Kidderminster side currently occupying the final playoff place. They could show us exactly how tough they are by making a mockery of this post and beating Crawley this evening. Even with a free week injuries look like taking their toll, and if we are going to finish strongly and give ourselves the best possible chance of winning promotion through the playoffs a couple of the new arrivals need to find some form and start contributing. 

Things aren’t quite as bad as last year. Mulley has come in and been a huge positive, especially in the absence of Sammy Moore, and Jamie Stuart has been immense. Yet if Kirk Hudson is the answer, I don’t want to know what the question was. And no-one is expecting Gareth Gwillim to be the new Chris Hussey but it’ll be nice if he could put a decent cross in now and again without pausing for an eternity to weigh up all options. And as for Drewe Broughton, I thought he was being brought in to take the pressure of Kedwell, not partner him? Questions remain over those three, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – chances are a couple of them will come good for us over the next seven weeks or so… or is that wishful thinking? We’ll find out the answer to that question and a whole lot more by the last weekend in April…

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