Fleet Life with Ed Miller: We need a hero – or else date with Darts is certain
PUBLISHED: 17:23 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010
THIS is getting to be like one of those disaster movies (think The Towering Inferno, Aliens or The Last Days Of Pompeii) – there are some exciting twists, turns and tragedies; you hope disaster will be averted, but ultimately you know where it s most like
THIS is getting to be like one of those disaster movies (think The Towering Inferno, Aliens or The Last Days Of Pompeii) - there are some exciting twists, turns and tragedies; you hope disaster will be averted, but ultimately you know where it's most likely headed as the climax approaches.
No, of course I'm not throwing in the towel. I'm hoping it's not too late for Bruce Willis to smash in a window and knock a few Gateshead heads together or Sigourney Weaver to blast her way through the Tamworth defence with some heavy weaponry.
However, even with two wins from our closing fixtures, something we are more than capable of, our position is still akin to an acrobat wobbling on a high wire with a strong wind approaching.
Eastbourne beating York was positively the last straw, though entirely predictable that - all but guaranteed a play-off place - the Kit-Kat men were less than sprightly after their long journey to the south coast. It's a shame Rushden weren't so accommodating.
Anything's possible if we go into the Tamworth game still in with a shout of survival; I've seen a few more unlikely escapes in my time (Oldham trailed a safe spot in the Premiership by eight points in 1993 going into the final week, yet won four games to survive; Bradford's crucial win over Liverpool in 2000 was memorable and Carlisle's avoidance of the drop to the Conference in 1999 when their goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass, scored a last-minute goal is also part of football folklore).
It's all about winning your final couple of games and trusting the rest to Lady Luck, which is about all the Fleet have to cling onto.
It's not much. In fact, it's little more than a glimmer of hope, yet it's enough to ensure we go into Saturday's game against Gateshead as determined as ever to win first one, and then a second, Conference game in a last-gasp effort to cling onto eight seasons of hard work.
And should we fail? Well, I'll save the obituaries and the what-ifs for when the maths (or the Conference AGM, depending on other clubs' situations) tell us we're in Blue Square South (BSS).
Nonetheless, from those lower reaches of non-league, one couldn't help noticing last weekend the faint squeals of delight emanating from up the A2 as Dartford emerged from their 18-year inertia to gain promotion to BSS. A modern ground, a growing average fanbase that already outperforms our own and now a rapidly rising football team.
Yes, I can already detect a lot of once-frustrated Darts fans, all cock-a-hoop and brash, ready to claim our Kent crown as the county's leading non-league club - should we go down and Dover fail to win their play-offs. A real local derby (or more than one with Bromley, Dover and Welling in the mix) will be one 'benefit' of any relegation should it occur, though frankly I hate local derbies unless we are clearly going to win them.
For that reason alone, I refuse to subscribe to this lily-livered, defeatist talk of relegation.
Please God, let us stay up... if only to prevent the gleeful crowing of that lot of ne'er-do-wells from the London overspill town.