At this time of year, every season prior to this one, I would be anxiously
waiting for my season ticket to fall through my letter box. Waiting for the
new season used to be like being a kid again on Christmas Eve. I'd open it
up, flick through it in anticipation, and then find a nice safe place for
it. Not this year. I feel numb. But I don't want to feel that way.
I have witnessed a lot of things in recent times which I quite frankly find
scandalous. In summary:
- Replacing him with someone with no previous managerial experience.
- The board not striking the right balance between investing in the team,
and investing in high paid executives who appear to have no feeling for the
- The determination to starve the club of money to invest in players, in
order to redevelop the main stand, when the ground is only half full most
of the time anyway.
- The endless volume of propaganda put out by the club.
- The feeling that every club announcement and e-mail is no longer just
the facts, but that the timing and wording is orchestrated for maximum
propaganda effect and spin.
- The timing of announcements in and around the Elton John concert,
especially regarding HH.
- The number of experienced players shown the door.
- The loss of Nigel Gibbs. The wording. The timing.
I could go on, give other reasons, go into more detail, but most of you
already know what I'm going on about, and there's no need to reproduce it.
What I want to address is: Why do I feel numb?
The last time we had this amount of a bad taste in our mouths about the way
'our' club was being run, was back in the Jack Petchey era. It all came to
a head one night when fans attacked the Directors box. I was angry then,
not numb. As a group we were angry then, not numb.
So, what has changed? Personally, I was a single man in my mid-twenties
back then, when I had the time and energy to devote to such matters. Now,
I'm married with a family. I've matured somewhat, although some people may
What about the rest of you around from the Petchey era? I'm guessing we've
all grown up as a group somewhat and mellowed somewhat in our older age.
So, where's the new blood? We fought the battle of the Petchey era, so
who's coming up behind us with the energy to fight this battle? Well, I
can't see anyone. I expected protests at the game following Ray's sacking.
There was hardly a whimper. I guess the problem may be that the next
generation grew up in the Petchey era, and doesn't remember the golden era
of Sir Graham's first reign. Their perspective is very different. I doubt
they feel the same way about the Nigel Gibbs sacking.
So, do we just continue to feel numb about the whole situation? Do we wait
and see how the season starts and take it from there? What then if a good
start papers over the cracks. The problems with the management of the club
runs deeper than a bit of form on the pitch, and there's no inclination
that this is likely to change.
I may feel numb at the moment, but that's also a very short step away from
becoming that angry person again. I suspect many of you feel the same. Are
we going to do something about it? Anyone fancy starting a revolution?
I'm not suggesting attacking the director's box, but can we really let this
pass without some sort of protest? Something to clearly signal to the board
that they have well and truly stepped over the line. If nothing has changed
about the way our club is run by next May, then I for one will not be
renewing my season ticket. Some sort of protest will shoot a warning shot
across their bows, and make them think long and hard. They are losing touch
with the fans. If they don't get them back on side, and soon, they will
lose fans, lose income, and get themselves into a whole new financial mess
with potentially devastating consequences.
So what could we do? Personally, I would like to see us turn one of the
clubs marketing ideas on its head. For last years semi-final we had the 'we
are all yellow' campaign. For the Elton John concert it was 'dress code
yellow'. A sunny day in August for the first game of the season looks very
impressive when there is so much yellow in the crowd. I suggest we all wear
black, to mourn the passing of a special club, a family club, a club with
The club we knew is dead. Don't you know you wear black to a funeral?