Main Menu
What's New
By Simon Parkins
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:

    - Losing Ray.
    - 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 club.
    - 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 suggest otherwise.

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 moral substance.

The club we knew is dead. Don't you know you wear black to a funeral?