On St. George’s day, nobody wants to be the dragon. Everyone wants to be the one left standing, sword in hand, prodding the bloody corpse to make sure all life has gone. Sadly this year we celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday as the dragon, and we were coughing out smoke instead of breathing fire. Though we’d hoped for a different ending, we were finally put to the sword.
We can all point to games where we could have salvaged points – there have been many – but as Robbo succinctly said in his post-match interview, the table does not lie at the end of the season. We’re going down because we’re one of the worst teams in this division, and that’s been proved beyond any doubt.
This match was a pretty good analogy for our season. We started well, took an early lead, but very quickly found ourselves pegged back to level terms. Then our confidence went, the opposition were playing with a swagger that we couldn’t match, and we resorted to a hoofing the ball forward, vainly hoping for something to happen. Then we started making mistakes, and we fell further and further behind. Injuries led to unplanned substitutions, planned substitutions had a lot of people raising their eyebrows and an air of resignation fell across the stadium.
We huffed and puffed but as a team, we really didn’t look like we had any ideas how to get ourselves out of it. There were some poor performances individually, but some very strong ones too. On the poor side, Cody Cropper had a nightmare of a first half (though it was oddly entertaining to watch at times) and was substituted at half time, though it was reported that was due to an injury. Charlie Burns struggled as Cody’s replacement, and any lingering optimistic hopes we had were damned as the goals went in.
On the positive side, Josh Murphy had what I’d say was his best game in a Dons shirt, and will rightly be in demand come the end of the season.
The most positive thing about the day was the reception given to the players and manager at the final whistle. We’d just been relegated, but the fans, players – both loanees and contracted – and manager stood and applauded each other.
This season has been a painful one. We’ve worked so hard to reach the championship, and been found wanting at the first hurdle. The post-mortem has been going on for months already, and will surely continue for a while longer, but for now, we need to lick our wounds, support each other for the final two matches, and finish with a smile on our faces.
I’m gutted, but still proud of what we’ve done this season.
There are some things in life that are just plain wrong, and here’s a list of them.
Singing drummers (Levon Helm excepted)
Women drummers (Meg White excepted)
Two drummers in the same band, at the same time (Adam And The Ants excepted)
Top hats in rock (I’ll give you Slash at a push, but that bloody woman from 4 Non-Blonds ruined it for everyone)
Singing bass players (there is no exception here)
And finally, goalkeepers as captains (Buffon excepted)
Now everything in the list above is unacceptable. There is no debate, and if you disagree, then add yourself to the list. You’ll have noticed however that the overwhelming majority are from the rock n roll world, except the last one. Having a goalkeeper as a captain is rubbish. How on earth can he influence the passage of play, or be called over by the ref’ if there’s a player who needs to be told to calm down if he’s stood in goal? Well he can’t. So there you have it. Goalkeepers as captains, absolute insanity. Strikers as goalkeepers on the other hand, now you’re talking!
MK Dons have been blessed with some great ‘keepers since I first started following them 11+ years ago. We’ve also been blessed with some absolute pish in goal as-well. So ying and yang, light and shade and all that.
My first ‘keeper, so to speak, was friend of Maggie Thatcher, Matt Baker. He wasn’t very good. He was so bad in fact that he was replaced by a Spanish waiter. He was also replaced in one game at the Hockey Stadium by Aaron Wilbraham. A striker no less. It was also Steve ‘Boring’ Claridge’s last game, who didn’t wear any shin pads for that game. Which I remember as being a tad strange.
Now, old Aaron had to don the gloves at halftime due to the fact that both our keepers were injured. One in the warm up, and Baker during the game. He did very well. Even managed to save a scuffed header from aforementioned ‘boring’ radio pundit, and we went on to either win, or draw. Can’t quite remember. So well done him. A true MK legend in more ways than one. And harking back to last week. If you’ve ever booed him when he’s played against us since, then you’re an idiot. Not only did he score a boatload of goals for us, he’s also one of the elite group of players who’ve scored in all four English domestic leagues. And he’s a cracking goalkeeper to boot. So fantastic if you booed him the night we beat his Norwich so comprehensively. Give yourself a massive pat on the back.
Anyway I digress. As I’m writing this, it’s Tuesday night, and I’m listening to the pre-Wednesday game build up on the wireless. The team has just been announced, and if I’m being honest, it’s not looking good. We couldn’t have picked a worst time to find ourselves with a growing injury list. We all know that, bearing a miracle of biblical proportions, we’re down. So kudos to Charlie Burns for making his league debut at Hillsborough. Can’t be easy at anytime, but at this late stage of the season, with every point a massive plus! The lad has my undying admiration without a doubt. It went very well for the young fella, who kept a clean sheet, with help from both posts and the crossbar, in an ill tempered match.
As you all no doubt already know, the only reason young Charlie made his league debut was solely down to the fact that Alex Revell was unavailable to continue his unbeaten run in goal, as we needed him to play upfront against Wednesday on a Tuesday. To have the courage to go in goal when you’re not a ‘keeper shows just how much of a model professional he is. He owes us nothing. I seriously doubt that he’ll be with us next season. So to don the old gloves, and the dreaded purple jersey is a hell of a thing when you’re a striker, but to then go on to save a penalty, bloody hell! I wasn’t there. I’ve never been to Preston in all my 53yrs on this planet, and I’m not intending to start now, but listening to the match on the wireless, I can hardly say that Cropper won man of the match. To cut to the chase, I was mightily pissed off with him. Rushing towards an opposition player running at you, then bringing him down, and earning yourself a straight red when you already know that the club’s first choice ‘keeper has a broken hand, well that’s just stupidity.
We’ve already had the old “he’s a good shot stopper, and his distribution is good” from the usual apologists. That’s as may be, but he’s a headless chicken who should’ve realised what he was doing. But I’m being overly harsh.
So let’s look on the bright side. He’s a young, square jawed American. He was quite good on Coronation Street. And let’s count our blessings that he’s not Ian.
Now, if only we could’ve found a goalkeeper who could play as a striker this season, we would’ve been laughing.
One of those ‘not sure why that was so good, but it really, really was’ kind of evenings. Still buzzing from it a couple of days later to be honest. There were a number of ‘why on earth are you going?’ questions that were thrown my way beforehand, but it was a bit like Saturday, in that I felt I really should be there.
No opportunity for #Coachwars, as there was just the one coach, although I did my best, with #coachwarssoundtracks bringing the best of a series of Desert Island Disc podcasts. Chris Hadfield, Kylie and an author, activist and feminist whose name escapes me all shared their life stories and their record collections, and the journey went quickly.
Hillsborough is a difficult place to watch football. As soon as you see the away end from the outside, it still looks exactly the same as it did in all those news reports from 1989. It’s eerie and I find it hard not to feel like some sort of tragedy voyeur if I spend too long outside there. I took a walk round to the memorial, which I always find a moving experience – this year, with our match being so close to an anniversary, and particularly with the jury currently being out, it felt doubly so. There were messages and flowers from some of the families, which I found difficult to read, so I made my way back to the ground.
We weren’t expecting many of our lot, and it felt a bit like an away match of old – I recognised pretty much every one of the 185 of us who made the trip, and there was just a good feeling about it. We know we’re down (unless something ridiculous happens repeatedly over the next few weeks, but more of that later) and everyone just seemed happy to enjoy the ride while we’re still in the championship.
So we’re relying on a miracle if we’re going to stay up, we rarely score (to be honest at the moment, we rarely shoot), our main goalie is out for the rest of the season, our number two goalie is suspended and we’ve got our academy goalie Charlie Burns making his full debut. Our most consistent defender is on 14 yellows so one more will see him out for the rest of the season. We’re playing a team who have resources that simply are in a different league to us, and who are in the playoff spots. What could possibly go wrong?
Well to be honest, it went rather well, all things considered. Charlie did himself proud, making some good saves throughout the game. Wednesday hit the woodwork about a hundred times, and didn’t seem to have their shooting boots with them when they managed to get into good positions. Wednesday went down to ten men after one of their lot decided to literally kick Johnny Williams up in the air while the ref was busy booking one of their lot for diving (harshly I’ve heard since). Johnny Williams got assaulted by one of their supporters when he got substituted, Robbo intervened to protect him, and all the while, the Wednesday players, bench and fans were getting more and more hot and bothered.
The crowd were getting on their backs, and were we even remotely threatening as a football team at the moment, we’d probably have gone on to win it. Sadly that wasn’t to be, but we knew that a draw would be enough to keep us clinging on for four more days, and cling on we did.
What made the evening so special for me was that we felt united as a fanbase. We were all in it together, we all sang together, we all laughed together and we generally all had a great time together – none of the frustrations and annoyances that have been part of other away trips this season were there, and it felt great to be there together. Thanks everyone.
Come the final whistle, as the other scores came in, it became clear that everyone else had drawn too. That meant that Charlton were relegated, we were still nine points behind the three teams above us, but interestingly, Bristol City had dropped back into fourth from bottom.
Odd as it may seem, there’s still a chance for us to stay up. If we win our remaining three games, and Bristol City lose their remaining three games, we will stay up. While I could easily see Bristol City losing their remaining three games, I really can’t see us winning ours, so it’s not going to happen, but it keeps it alive for one more game. If we win on Saturday and any of the other four lose, then we’re still clinging on, but the Bristol City goal difference means that it really has to be them.
“Did I read it right? That fans actually booed Karl Robinson??? Shame on you”
“Yeah, totally agree, some people have very short memories!”
“Things like this really make me feel sad for football and its fans.”
“Do they really think that buying a ticket gives them the right to treat people like this?”
“I agree 100%. I have no doubt that some are bullies too.”
These quotes are taken from MK’s second most popular on-line fans forum in the wake of last weekend’s defeat at the feet, and heads of Rotherham. While I think that some, if not all, are rip- roaringly hilarious (especially the one that no doubts that some are bullies) there’s a ring of truth to all of them (except the ‘bullies’ one. Which I’ve just put in because it’s funny). However, the second one down, the one that mentions short memories. Now that person hit the nail firmly in the head.
It hasn’t been a great season. You’d be delusional if you thought otherwise. But the vitriol that Robinson has received since last weekend has been nothing short of pathetic. Can you remember his reaction when we got promoted last May? Remember that day, when he came over to The Cowshed (the very same Cowshed that booed him last weekend) smiling, waving, laughing? The look of relief on his face just before the final whistle, when it’d been confirmed that he’d finally managed to do what four other previous incumbents of his position failed to. Remember that? Great wasn’t it! And how about how you felt! I mean you must’ve been walking on cloud 9. I know I was. I actually hugged complete strangers that day. It was a wonderful.
We, as a fan base, get an awful lot of stick from the wider football family. It’s the classic catch 22 situation (and if you don’t get that reference, then you should read more). We’re all two club wankers. Wonder who we supported before 2004? We’re plastic, and know nothing about real support. Which always makes me laugh. The contradiction of following another club before the move, while simultaneously knowing nothing about following a club after the move. But there you go. I’m of the belief that most people are idiots. And there’s your proof. But I think after the quite frankly shameful reaction when Robbo walked out onto the pitch last weekend to acknowledge the fans… Well, perhaps the wider football family may have a point.
If you’re reading this, and you were one of the small section who booed, then stop reading now. I don’t want folk like you reading my stuff. It’s not for you. Have you gone? Good. Then we can talk about you behind your back.
I like following MK. It’s a laugh. It’s not a proper club in the traditional sense of the idea. Good. That’s one of the main reasons I’m an avid supporter. I like Captain Beefheart (and once again, if you haven’t heard of him, then you should get out more), The Fall, Sleaford Mods. Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler. Stuff that’s quite difficult to like. And like them, that’s why I support MK. It’s not easy following this club. When I first started, I was constantly making excuses for it. Always felt slightly ashamed. Dirty. Then one day, after I almost had a stand up fight with a Luton supporter, simply down to the fact that I actually lived in MK and had the audacity to follow MK Dons, I thought fuck it. Now I take great pleasure in rubbing it right in people’s faces. As a great man with a stick on moustache once said, I’d never be a member of a club that would have me as a member.
But enough about me and my fantastic cultural awareness. Let’s get back to the booing.
“I personally won’t boo but people should have the right to do so”
“If you don’t like a difference of opinion or free speech then move to North Korea”
“Booing is now part of everybody’s working life, Robbo was booed because some didn’t like his work”
The above quotes taken from a little known MK on-line fans fourm. And once again, comedy gold. Especially No’2. Who argues the right of free speech, while denying the right he’s arguing for to others.
While there has undoubtedly been massive problems this season, but if you think Krobbo is to blame, then you’re wrong. Canny business plans, landscaped car parks, padded seats, a hotel with hundreds of rooms, a cinema, on and on and on. That won’t keep us in The Championship. If he’s got no money to spend, then who on earth is he going to bring in? The current consensus around the wonderful word of the interweb, is that our scouting team is in disarray, with the sad death of Andy King. Scouting now being headed by Winkie’s son. Make of that what you will. Playing devils advocate here, you may just have noticed that Winkie was nowhere to be seen at the end of last week’s game. Just saying like.
I’m writing this before Thursday’s fan’s forum, which you may, or more probably didn’t attend. I’m wondering how many of those who booed last weekend, booed Krobbo at the end of the forum. I’m betting none. So how about instead of berating Krobbo next time we get a right kicking, you keep your powder dry, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think back to last May. Oh and you might like to consider not behaving like a spoilt Victorian child (Fall reference, for those ITK)
Yes, it’s Lexicon time – the part of the show where each week we educate you, yes you, the educated elite, into the ways of the feral underclass that seemingly run our planet, by providing detailed translations of common ‘street-talk’.
This week, the words under scrutiny are:
Boys to mensh
Common usage:- Prestoney! In the zoner, ya’ll that’s a hardcore hood, but you want take on my man C here, go ahead because you know, he’s fierce, he gonna come up in your face he gonna major damage you, you gonna walk away maybe limp but I say talk to the hand, call waiting, ’cause he’s out, boy is out… I can’t restrains him ’cause I’m conversatin’ you right now to give him a chance to cool down, to get back to a realistic level, as it were because we could be chillin’ in our crib, representing the M to the K and Lakeshood, you know. Mallin’ it like we all can, boys to mensh, pimp my Mercedes, call me back, put you on hold, you know what I’m sayin’?
Definition:- ‘Now, we don’t want any palaver with the nice northern gentleman, Ruprecht, do we? Come along old bean…’.
Widely and incorrectly believed to have originated from the 2004 hit film, The Football Factory, its first recorded usage actually dates to Corineus, legendary eponymous hero of Cornwall. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae (1135–39), he was a Trojan warrior who accompanied Brutus the Trojan, the legendary founder of Britain, to England. Corineus killed Gogmagog(Goëmagot), the greatest of the giants inhabiting Cornwall, by hurling him from a cliff. A cliff near Totnes, Devon, is still called Giant’s Leap.
We know how difficult it is to plan ahead without accurate forecasting, so we’re proud to support the Bovril Forecast – bought to you by the lovely people at Forecast – telling the future, one cup at a time.
And the forecast for this week is:-
Still served up next season, but relegated to a 16oz cup.
This Just In – Following last Tuesday’s quite horrific challenge by MK Dons defensive maestro, Anthony Kay, MK Dons supremo, Andrew ‘Call me Andy’ Cullen has explained that all that need be done, has been done.
Having been lucky enough to have been within the club media departments, I can announce that they have been working around the clock since Tuesday night and believe they have created a new App, which they have studied really well – or an ‘ology’ if you will, and the club feel they have done their best to appease the Zyro incident.
They are calling it ‘App-ology’, and hope this will be enough.
More on this once we’ve worked out whether this is too clever or not
Yes, it’s Lexicon time again – the part of the show where each week we educate you, yes you, the educated elite, into the ways of the feral underclass that seemingly run our planet, by providing detailed translations of common ‘street-talk’.
This week, the words under scrutiny are:
Is up by what, dude?
Down, tis all. We is bladdered up all ends lest man can say ‘is up by what, dude?
Going down? Do you think, Tarquin, I know we are weak but, at least, as a man we are fighting for it. Widely and incorrectly believed to have originated from the 2004 hit film, The Football Factory, its first recorded usage actually dates to William Salmon in 1710, and his acclaimed book “COOKERY in dressing flesh, fowl, fish, herbs, roots making sawces etc; PASTRY making pyes, pasties, puddings, pancakes, cheesecakes, custards, tansies etc; CONFECTS candies, conserves, preserves, creams, gellies, pickles etc; POTABLE Liquors as ale, beer, mum, mead, cider, perry, rape, English wines, chocolet, coffer, tea etc; PERFUMING sweet balls, pouders, pomanders, essences, sweet waters, beautifying washes etc; HUSBANDRY, as it relates to the improvement of our barren and waste lands, manufactures etc; PREPARATIONS Galenick and Chymick relating to physickand chirurgery, as cordial waters, spirits, tinctures, elixirs, syrups, ponders, electuaries, pills, oils, balsams, cerecloths and emplasters, fitted for curing mist diseases incident to men, women and children”