Issue Let It Be

As told by Ron Beaumont

When an organisation examines itself in search of improvement it is often seen as healthy and valuable introspection. Self-analysis can create benefits that repay any discomforts – real or imagined – providing of course that the process is well-managed and sensitive to the individuals involved.

When an organisation is examined from the outside it is often seen as intrusive inspection and the initial reaction in the vast majority of cases is to see it as a threat. That threat is usually dealt with in one of two ways – a coming together to unite against the perceived threat or a fragmentation of buck passing. The blame culture that sets colleague against colleague virtually guarantees a critical outcome to the examination – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So when the team you support gets off to such a disappointing start it is right to examine the reasons why. But which model do we follow?

Opinions and perceptions are bound to vary but from where I sit in the Midland Road stand and at my computer, the beneficial model of self-analysis is a non-starter. As a club we seem intent on tearing ourselves apart internally with the only beneficiaries being the opposition.

Fan is set against fan Dave’s summary seems to me a bit extreme but it’s the way he sees it and as far as I am aware he is not one given to knee jerks.

Player is set against player Well I am surely not the only one to notice the reluctance of some players to pass to others who may not be doing well and blazing long-range shots over the bar is hardly a subtle comment to your attacking colleagues.

Fan is set against player Daley does not fit into the City system (whatever it is) but does not deserve the torrent of obscenities and abuse heaped on him from foul mouthed idiots in Block C.

Manager is set against supporter Don’t boo us for winning – even if the performance was poor and the result undeserved. The results are all that matters. It may not be pretty but we are set up to be hard to beat. Are we really?

Fan is set against manager “We need a change” (already?) may not be a universal view but whatever the logic behind Friday’s changes in personnel and pattern the manager’s decisions seemed to satisfy no-one.

Manager is set against player Whilst verbally accepting the blame for some aspects of poor performance, the manager’s actions could easily say the opposite to those players left out and those brought in. One week a player is substituted for being given the run around, next week clearly ineffectual and possibly unfit players have their weaknesses exposed for a full match whilst other apparently inexplicable changes are made. Putting a defender up front on Friday took the eventual man-of –the- match out of much of the subsequent play by resorting to even more long high balls. What messages are these decisions giving the players?

Player is set against fan It may be stretching the point, but the reluctance of all but one of the players to acknowledge those fans that stayed to try and lift them after the final whistle was evident and says a lot.

Negativity rules all round Valley Parade at the moment and attempts to overcome it only seem to add to it despite the best of intentions.

Blame the ticket prices, blame the seating arrangements, blame the younger fans, blame the grumpy old men, blame the Referee, the kit, the pitch even. Perhaps blame my son for forgetting to drink from his City mug on Friday or blame me for not changing my shoes – we never seem to win if I am wearing anything black. Blame anything!

Clearly this urge to pull our team apart in such a Dali-esque manner cannot go on. Whatever the range of opinion it has to be the performance on the pitch that counts. Reality says that those who are paid to do a job should know what it is, be capable of doing it and be given every chance to complete it. Those who pay to watch should not be held responsible for things outside their control – although they are responsible for controlling themselves.

Whatever happens, fans can not effectively change what happens on the pitch however much we believe we can. Playing games behind closed doors, or with piped cheering to cover the lack of the real thing or with any of the other well-intentioned and less extreme suggestions made recently will not get to the root of the problem.

Whilst we may endlessly debate the ways things may change nothing we say will really impact on the situation and very little of what we do will make any difference. Until there is coherence from the professionals we will never be united so why don’t we accept this?

Pessimistic? Probably. Realistic? I believe so. Practical? I doubt it, too many differing points of view.

I may not like what I have seen in the League so far but I know I can’t change it so I let it be and keep my vocal chords for positive appreciation.

I know I don’t like what I’ve heard from some close by me this season but at least I know I can do something about it the next time the torrent of obscene abuse begins – wish me luck.

Until then I’ll keep on chanting “Come on City” but keep thinking “Come on united” – the small “u” is just as important as the capital “C”.