Dr Dee’s New Year Address

by on 29/12/06 at 12:27 pm

Citizens, parishioners and denizens of the Church and Free State of Black Arab. It’s coming up to that time of year again, when we look back at the previous year in horror and forward to the New Year in terror.

For me personally, this is the first season in about twelve that I haven’t bought a season ticket I lost my job in May and couldn’t get a new one till December, the financial shock of this all has made me re-evaluate the economics of following the Rovers. Do you know how expensive it is to watch poor quality professional football. At about ??30 for my wife and I to stand, plus programme, petrol and pasties, we started thinking about how much more useful that money would be spent on teabags and washing powder. As a result, I’ve missed more and more home games as we pick and choose how to spend our Saturdays. It’s probably a one year fallow period and we’ll get bitten by the bug in time to buy season tickets next year, but it all makes me think about what will happen if the stadium development does go ahead.

Now when I do work, the cost of it all starts to be less and less of a factor. But if you take a look at the Bass End/ Blackthorn Terrace/ whateverdafuck it’s called today, you will see large numbers of what I can only describe as kids. Kids with little or no transportation and not a lot of money. So lets say we move to Trumpton for two years. They won’t be able to follow. Let’s say the new stadium is built and the cheapest ticket is ??15 to sit (probably going to be more like ??20), they won’t be able to afford it!

My personal point of view that a convertible terrace with ??10 tickets following the German model would be the best way to keep the kids coming. That is not however part of the plan and definitely not the way the board are thinking. It seems like the realisation that we will be disenfranchising an entire generation of fans will come far too late. The convertible terrace, increased capacity, cheaper tickets would need to be factored in before the stadium plans were submitted to cope with the traffic patterns and all that cal.

A cynic might say that this kind of oversight is because the board do not give a flying fuck about the fans. All they are interested in is getting the stadium built. Yes, the stadium needs to be built or the club cannot survive. yes it needs to have bars, gyms, creches, corporate hospitality suites and sponsors boxes. No it doesn’t have to charge the fan ??20 a ticket to pay for it. The whole point is that the extracurricular activities are going to massively increase the clubs revenue and stop the loss. Cranking up the admission prices are just another bean counters trick to screw the poor long suffering fan. This is the issue we need to start to get angry and vocal about, not mumbling Dunford Out when we lose at home again.

The boardroom schism kind of left me cold. I didn’t really care one way or the other about it. Neither side appeared to have any real money and that at the end of the day is what talks in business. Mike Turl appeared naive to think he could effectively take over the club with only a low six figure investment and Geoff Dunford took all the steps he probably thought necessary to protect his investment. All the other resignations just showed how much control Dunford really has over the club.

The share scheme is a bit of a different issue. I was sceptical from the start. I didn’t like the undemocratic and unaccountable Supporters Club being in charge of the shares and I didn’t think the money was best spent on shares for minimal control anyway, given the piss poor negotiaited share price. It was always a short term fundraiser to get the club through a cash gap. The fact that Geoff Dunford appears to have completely pissed all over it with the new share issue kind of backs that up. I feel very sorry for the good people who put a lot of hard work and effort in to what turned out to be a false hope of influence within the club. The fact that this has resulted in a schism in the Supporters Club is probably more significant than the schism in the football club. People like John Malyckyj had made a real effort to drag the Supporters Club out of it’s village hall mentality and started to make it address the real problems that face a lower league football club. The death of the Share scheme and the fans directors resignations have put the recidivist old guard back in charge and they are already more than just hinting that they will roll back the modernisation programme. It’s like Glasnost never happened. For Shame.

The football itself is slowly improving, we are actually getting locally produced kids in to the team for the first time in about ten years. Atkins scorched earth policy has been replaced by more progressive football under Lenny and The Troll. What hasn’t improved is some fuckwits attitude to the players. There is always someone looking for the next scapegoat. Whether it’s Aaron Lescott or Lewis Haldane, it’s just not needed. Haldane in particular seems to get a ridiculous amount of crticism. OK he has his flaws, decision making being the main one, but for fucks sake he’s local and he’s quick, really very bloody quick indeed, I can’t remember a quicker Rovers player. The things he brings to the team are things we have been missing for the last five years: pace and energy. Maybe something better will come along (Sandell for instance), but I’m not knocking Haldane when I remember some of the other numptys who’ve pulled on the quarters to little or no effect in the last ten years.

The Black Arab web site has had a bit of a decline in the last six months as I haven’t put a lot of effort in and some of the other constributers have drifted away. I’m going to port it away from PHPNuke to Mambo or Joomla shortly so that should stop the porno and viagra spam. But I really need help with the articles and stuff. I really ought to make the effort to write some more stuff for the paper issue too.

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