These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ITS GOOD TO TALK

Printed in the Southern League South and West match v AFC Totton. A
decent 0-0 draw against the league leaders. Crowd 256


What is it with football owners and their inability to keep supporters
on board? I suppose businessman used to doing things their own way
have problems having to answer for their decisions. But answer they
have too – or the results can be disastrous.
Take Lewes. Not so long ago I held them up as models of how a football
club should be run. Then near the end of last season I got two phone
calls before the game where Lewes would be crowned champions and
promoted to the Blue Square Premier. I couldn’t quite believe what I
was hearing. The board had sacked their most successful manager ever.
Now Steve King isn’t the most likeable manager, with his constant
Wenger-esque whinging. But why was he sacked? Hand in the till? Hand
in someone’s knickers? Er, no. As one Lewes director put it "At no
time has Steve King been asked to get us promotion. He's created the
problem, if you like - and I don't mean this in a negative way -
because he's been so successful." That’s right, sacked for being too
successful!
For me the failure of the Lewes board was that they didn’t hold their
hands up and admit that promotion to the Blue Square Premier was a
step too far. It also says something about a league where too many
clubs have bankrupted themselves to try and compete. So it worth it?
At the last Lewes game I went too, the security creep of numb-knuckle
heads with stupid rules was all too evident. The sacking of King led
to a mass exodus of players they probably couldn’t afford anyway. It
also led to an exodus of support, including some of the most vocal
ones that really got the atmosphere going. And even with all the
ground improvements, much more was needed – a million pounds worth I
heard. Now I’m all for improving stadium for the spectator but once
again was ground grading going to cripple a club?
It isn’t always easy for chairman to let people know what’s going on -
even supporter-run clubs end up with battles and bust ups. When your
clubs not doing well, people are quick out with the knives. But surely
the message must always be more open. Supporters aren’t shareholders,
and the majority aren’t morons either. What if the Lewes board had
come clean and told everyone of their predicament – getting everyone
on board for a backs-against-the-wall siege mentality to try and raise
the cash and fight against a season of certain relegation?
Thankfully Slough Town, after many a cloak and dagger season, have got
Chairman Steve Easterbrook on board who has embraced the Glasnost
approach. People still moan, but then as I pointed out to one
supporter, if a load of naked woman turned up at his house with a
million quid, he’d still find something to complain about.
As for Lewes, they are rooted to the bottom of the Conference, lost at
home in the FA Cup to a team five leagues below them, and recently
recorded the lowest ever away support at Torquay United – five! They
are now up for sale. A Supporters Trust has been set up and hopefully
the attractive football that drew so many to the Pan will return and
the community work they have been so successful with will continue.
It’s good to aim for the stars but not if it destroys the club. With
the risk of annoying Lewes fans, maybe, just maybe the Blue Square
South and Ryman Premier is where they really belong.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discussion about the article on the Lewes fans forum
http://therooks.proboards55.com/index.cgi?board=lewes&action=display&thread=3321

4:10 pm

 

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