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Time to hold your nose!
Tuesday, 12th May 2015 19:44 by BasilRobbieReborn

I write this article the morning after being rather curt with a fellow supporter about the future of our club, a tendency I’ve tried very hard to eschew in the last year or so. But it reminded me how bitterly divided we have become, and how little consensus there is about the way forward.

The misery of 2014/15 isn’t even over yet. I expect we will get handed a notional 3-0 defeat for the last game on Thursday, probably a fine to go with it and there still remains the Chairman’s expected punishment for Textgate. It’s no wonder Clark decided to go.

I feel sorry for Clark. I didn’t want him, as I think he’s a bit of a dinosaur in the modern game who was asked to solve an impossible problem when he succeeded Riga. That he failed was entirely predictable – what was less so was the attempts by a section of our own support to make life even harder for him.

He was branded a “collaborator” and worse from the moment he arrived, by a group of people who seem to think that a man accepting paid, legal employment is some kind of crime – and in the weird alternative world we Seasiders now live in, it would appear that is considered an almost normal way of looking at life.

We are in fact now seeing a worrying, and to my mind illogical extension to this trend with the Tangerine Knights now writing open letters to people who they THINK might be candidates for the manager’s job. I know this is prompted by a belief that the re-appointment of Holloway would paper over cracks and be merely a ploy to try to head off protest. But taken to its logical conclusion, it begs the question whether any manager, anytime, is going to get a fair crack of the whip as things stand.

I see some dangers in this for the TKs. I don’t think it’s especially sensible to get in the position whereby you are issuing ultimatums to others because if they don’t respond it leaves you almost nowhere to go. And there has to be a real possibility that the Oyston’s WON’T respond, at least not in the way that the TK’s want or expect.

It’s not my place to offer the TKs advice, and I’d be amazed if they listened to it anyway. But I think they have been extremely successful at organising legitimate protest (although I think the abandonment may have been one step too far), and very resourceful and innovative in using social media to raise awareness of our situation. It is here that I think they are capable of adding real value to the longer term work of BST, and it is here that I personally would prefer to see them concentrate their efforts in the future. The moral high ground is precious, and it would be a shame to lose it with the wrong types of direct action.

Which brings us on to the Oystons. I stand by my belief that they did a pretty decent job of running the club for a very long time, certainly until Holloway left the club. What we have seen since should, in all honesty, make them ashamed of themselves. They have to my mind been completely blinded by greed, proved themselves wholly unable to plan for and implement what should have been a secure future, and in recent times seem to have retreated into a paranoid world where everyone is out to get them, lashing out at the supporters as they’ve done so. Indeed, it is almost impossible to see any rhyme or reason in the way they are going about things. Their behaviour since 2012, in my view, has been and continues to be unconscionable.

I’m sorely tempted to say “a plague on all your houses’, but we are not without hope. BST is maturing into the one organisation that seems able to willing to take a long term view of the club’s future, and deserve great credit for doing so. They will not deliver change overnight, but they are entitled to expect some patience whilst they set about the task. They’ve succeeded in bringing in some high quality people who seem well up to it, at any rate.

I also think that we are capable of bouncing back, if we are prepared to do things differently this time around. The owners must know what is likely to happen if we have yet another shambolic summer, and it is in THEIR interests, more than anyone’s, to make us competitive in 2015/16. That starts with a swift appointment to replace Clark, whose departure may be a real blessing in disguise. For our part, I think supporters need to consider compartmentalising support for the team from their distaste for the ruling regime, because until that happens I can’t see us going anywhere but down.

People will argue that this involves trusting a leopard to change its spots, and maybe it does. They will also point out that the only way to be really sure that we are all pulling in the same direction is to have a change of ownership, and whilst I think that will only happen when it suits the Oystons, it’s also hard to see a prosperous future that involves them. My point is though, that such a sea change probably won’t happen overnight or indeed anytime soon. I don’t think we can or should place our support for the team in limbo whilst we wait. If we do, we merely harm ourselves.

The future though, is what is important now, because if there is one thing that football supporters do well, it is looking to better times ahead. How people choose to support the club in the short-term is, to me, something we have to decide for ourselves as individuals. What we shouldn’t continue with is the recriminations aimed at one another, which is where this article came in. Whatever is happening off the field, in August we have to start competing again. Whoever the players are, they’ll do better with us behind them than not.

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