Sunday, 17 February 2013

What Price Loyalty?

Loyalty; a word so prized in every relationship. It is a term we associate with commitment. We give a weight of honour to it. Hell, we go in hook, line and sinker for the bugger. Loyalty, in terms of any relationship, is pretty much the big word.

Soppiness aside, the week following the fourteenth of Feb always holds something of a treat for football fans- a let off for the romantics to get back to the real world. It is part of the magic the FA Cup brings. At the time of writing this, Blackburn are set to dominate the back pages having 'dumped' the mighty Arsenal out of the competition. Appy days? Clucking great.

No secret will be made of the fact Michael Appleton has become the first person to manage three clubs in one year of the cup- and to be honest with you, I'm finding it hard not to find links with what this says of his character. There is obviously nobody else as despicable in the entire sport.

Appleton, like his predecessor Ian Holloway, left my club in the lurch. A lurch we are still in some three weeks (and three months) later. I make no secret of my love for the club and make no secret of my love for the sport, but there are always those niggling things aren't there.

We'll start with one of his own quotes. "Managers don't walk out on players they believe in," was a good one. Written up on the dressing room after Holloway left for big money, Appy became the first Blackpool manager in my lifetime to make it onto the top ten shortest appointments list- Judasing his way down the road for an arguably better offer.

Karl Oyston, the Pool chairman gets his stick. Whether for his famously deep pockets, his tactical shooting trips on transfer deadline day or his refusal to deal with agents, something about him  angers many. One thing that shouldn't be used to beat him with though is this contract business.

Holloway was on a rolling 12 month deal. He was effectively in a job forever, which to me sounds quite secure. Appleton was on a similar deal, and after the media blowout lately on managerial compensation payments, it has become well documented that our release fee stands just under the half a million mark- a pittence for what they could have paid.

Here then, for the sake of all football fans, I call out on the managers, owners and agents alike to stop this business. You are not politicians and for a start, we really do love our clubs. "I've got sky blue blood in my veins," Mark Robins said just five days before walking out on Coventry City for a job at Huddersfield. "I'll never walk out on another club," said Mr Holloway shortly after becoming Pool boss and Appleton, well, a month before going Chicken farming in the hills he was "joining a club with ambition". If you don't mean it, just don't say it.

We love our football clubs. We adore them. When we spend a month fretting about who the board will bring in, we expect that their time will be worthwhile, and that whoever it is that has fought off the other suitors will stick around. Nobody wants to be jilted.

Both myself and my girlfriend spent Valentine's Day this year worrying about who would take the helm at our football clubs. If I was in charge at either of them- I'd have the new gaffer sign a 'no other club' deal- similar to the one holding Adkins from a new job already. If they all did it, there'd be no further place for these scumbags, especially in our hearts on St Valentine's.

The Break Up

The poster comes down from the wall in two pieces
The autograph book is soon missing a note
You've gone- there's a shitstorm of media frenzy
Well the headlines can fade, we're moving on.

This is goodbye to you, Mr Judas Escariat
You are not the messiah here anymore
Be gone. Thanks for selling us into that legacy
You've let yourself down. Don't come back to our door.

Thanks for reading, Shaun



Ashley R Lister said...

It's good to see you back - we don't see enough poetry on the theme of romance in football ;-)