So, that’s it. Free Saturdays until the pre-season friendlies start! I hate this time of year. No involvement in the play-offs. The pampered stars of the higher leagues playing on for a few weeks. No Pools games to look forward to – and to then get angry about.
So, another season ends and how does the scorecard look?
League games played: 46
Position: 17th – 15 points above the drop
This doesn’t look that great compared to the 15th position the previous year – won 14, drawn 14, lost 18 – 56 points getting us into 15th and a worrying 8 points above the drop. So, some improvement, in a stronger league?
But, for this year, isn’t the fact that we still have a functioning Club not a great achievement in itself? Is it not churlish to focus on playing performance against a background of off field turmoil (and credit to those involved for quickly solving the problem called ‘Richard’) and a new owner finding his feet?
My attention was drawn to a couple of statements in the Salford match programme:
From the Chairman, “Once again, I would like to apologise to all of you who have stuck with us all season. You have given us a healthy average crowd of around 3,000 over the season but I can’t help but feel that we have fallen a little short of where we should have been by the end of this campaign”.
From Mr Maguire: “I have two paymasters – the Chairman and yourselves and both myself and the rest of us at the Club; players and staff alike need to be able to look you both in the eye and say without doubt that we are giving absolutely everything to justify your support and get this Club where it should be”.
The cynic may suggest that these are words aimed at encouraging season ticket renewals but, going back to where we were a little over a year ago, let’s take the words as they stand – and I think that it is fair that the Chairman has recognised that we could/ should have done a little better on the field. As to Mr Maguire having two paymasters – yes, a good point, so can I please, again, ask that the Fans Forum becomes more active and visible?
So, given the background I’m not going to labour over any form of scorecard or season review – the Club has produced a pretty good review as the Number Cruncher: the 2018/19 Season on the website and that is worth a look here.
What I can’t forget from the past season is being told how our fans give excessive grief to our players, the back of a postage stamp comment, and being told that we fans don’t understand how businesses operate. Not clever and very wrong. But I’ll be renewing my season tickets – well, you have to, don’t you?
We’ve seen developments with regard to The Academy in recent weeks – a difficult decision but, I believe, fundamentally the right one – and one which I would have made earlier, but we are where we are. What I thought was powerful was the statement from HUST following their approach to the Fulham Supporters Trust – the notes from Fulham’s April Trust meeting really show us how these supporter: club dialogues should be managed – the discussion on financial matters was particularly interesting. Shame that the discussion about Luca Murphy read like a written finger flick!
Credit also to HUST for the fair and supportive review of the Club’s accounts – in essence, the Chairman has pumped in a load of cash and John Blackledge has taken a hit but wants some cash back. Thanks to both of these guys; but we must always be mindful of how long the Chairman will continue to support the Club.
And now to my quick final points….
1. I said last week, “Saddened to see the continuing fall of Bolton Wanderers – one can only hope that the next stages in the history of this once great club are going to be better than looks likely to be the case”. I’m afraid that my concerns about the potential new owner appear valid and the basket case that is ‘The Trotters’ shows little sign of satisfactory resolution.
2. Enjoyed the Salford match. Thought we were on for a hammering after the first ten minutes, but ultimately disappointed that we didn’t win by a wider margin.
3. The key to successful ageing is to pay as little attention to it as possible.
4. I’ve been following the crazy developments at Gateshead all season and passed the following comment last week: “The situation for our friends and near neighbours at Gateshead continues to resemble a ‘slow motion train crash’. Given the positioning of the current owners and some of the potential buyers (Chris Dunphy excluded – he does appear to be a ‘good guy’), I struggle to see us having a derby at the International Stadium next year. Very much hope that I’m wrong….”. Well, not in my wildest imagination did I see the mass sackings and turmoil of the last few days. I’m sure that Craig Hignett and his team are looking at the breaking up of the Gateshead team as an opportunity (and rightly so – Mellish, Tinkler and Barrow?), but one can’t but think that the situation being faced by Heed fans is shocking and should not be allowed – but it will happen again, and it could be any club next!
6. John’s football website of the week – https://twitter.com/gatesheadfcsoul?lang=en – good luck to them! Possible pre-season match against the new club to help raise funds/ awareness?