In the last few years, I’ve taken a more “official” capacity at my local football club (Colwyn Bay FC) becoming an operative on one of the official channels (@ColwynBayFC). What I’m about to say is my own opinion, rather than anything associated with the club.
In case you’ve missed the mental breakdown of fans on the Colwyn Bay forum, let me summerise exactly where we stand. After two back-to-back promotions that took us from the Evostik Division 1 North to the Blue Square North, Colwyn Bay survived on the last day of the season to confirm their place in the Blue Square North for a second season. The manager at the time – Jon Newby (who is held in high regard by many of the Colwyn Bay faithful due to scoring the winner against FC United to put us into the Blue Square North) – was agreed to be kept on for the 2012-13 season. After a tough start, results began to go against us, and after a 4-2 loss at home to Vauxhall Motors on January 1st, Jon Newby was sacked, in what many believe to be less than auspicious circumstances – it was widely reported he was sacked at half time.
His replacement was brought in immediately – Lee Williams who managed Bangor a fair few years ago. After a few friendly wins against League of Wales opposition, defeats against Solihull and Workington has caused the club to be third from bottom in the Blue Square North, in the relegation zone (though, if you look at past form with the AGM Cup, and the fact we’re entering the end of the financial year, I wouldn’t be surprised if – providing we’ve balanced the books – we get reprieved even if we finish 20th).
If you read the Colwyn Bay forum, the place seems to be in complete and utter meltdown. People are demanding things of the club, a lot of this is funded by myths and fallacy. These main demands are listed below, as well as what I would do and where the blame for me lies.
Three Counter-Productive Demands
1. Drop Ticket Prices & Get More People In
I can’t see this happening, nor do I want to.
It’s usually the same people that bring this up time and again, and those who bring this up are often the ones who do little or nothing for the club on a personal capacity. Nobody becomes a football team’s fan because the team is cheap, the same way nobody becomes a smoker due to a pack of cheap fags from the airport, the only people this serves okay is existing fans.
I’m lucky, I must admit – a good job and few commitments means it’s quite easy for me to get to games financially.
2. Appoint A New Manager
According to two very helpful “through the grapevine” comments, the club has sacked their manager and are looking for a new manager. Lee Williams has only been in the job for a month and from the one game I saw them play under him (a friendly via Rhyl) we played some nice football. Nevertheless, fans aren’t happy and two names that have cropped up whenever this is mentioned is ex manager Jon Newby and defender Frank Sinclair.
Jon Newby I don’t believe is a right fit. Yes he is a nice guy, and a credit to the club, and a club legend, and missed by the club, and if he was sacked the way it was reported it wasn’t the right way to do it. However I don’t believe it is the step forward we are chasing if we hire him back. It frustrates me as people who are clamouring for Newby to return are largely the same that a month ago were calling for his head.
Frank Sinclair would be interesting but I don’t think he would take it. He plays for us inbetween broadcasting stints for Chelsea TV. Do I think his media commitments would allow him to be an effective manager? Probably not.
One thing that is said time and again is that Lee Williams isn’t up for the job due to his lack of experience at Blue Square North level. He has the same amount of Blue Square North experience as both of the above should they take the role.
I’m not saying he’s the right man for the job, just feel that these comments are counter productive.
3. The Club is Dropping Through The Leagues Deliberately To Join The League of Wales
We have no affiliation with the League of Wales. Those of us over a certain age would remember the battle we took to keep out of the League of Wales. Many of those people are still shareholders.
If we were doing this: why the heck did we work so hard to raise £70,000 to build a stand last season? Surely it’d be easier to resign from the league then?
Three Areas Where The Blame Lies
1. Promote The Club
Linked to the previous number one, those who are clamouring for the football club to drop their prices are often the same ones who barely lift a finger. Clubs our size can be successful (I’m friendly with loads of the Gloucester City bunch, and they seem to have a great setup with everybody pulling in the right direction), but it requires everybody to be on the same page.
At the moment those who are actually getting off their arses and doing something are getting hounded for being lazy and thoughtless by those who don’t. This isn’t on, and I see the same names refusing to lift a finger for the club they claim to love, yet are happy to want to cut off a vital revenue stream.
If the club had a larger fan base, then they could get a larger revenue stream, sign better players, and maybe even drop prices. That requires promotion.
One issue that has been done to death and never gets done is putting up posters in the town. This should be one of the first and easiest ways to promote the club in town. I think I’ve seen one poster up around town (in a launderette in Old Colwyn). If those who truly loved the club would help promote it, then maybe their ideas will be better received.
I’ve found the board to be rather approachable and open to ideas, but it needs people to drive them. If you suggest ideas yet aren’t willing to implement them, then that’s like complaining about the government when you don’t vote.
Those who know me, know that I’m quite an emotional fella. I take every little pop at the club personally. I shouldn’t, but I do. I’ve got a couple of updates to the Facebook and Twitter stream that I’ve not done due to the backlash I know will happen. Too many pops and snide remarks at those who actually get off their arses and do stuff and they’d walk away from the club. What happens when everybody walks away? Who runs the club then?
2. Players Need To Take Responsibility
I believe a lot of players who play for the club have gotten off lightly recently.
The team from a few years ago are held in higher regards than a lot of other players who come in, and it frustrates me whenever players turn up and don’t play to the level that I know they are capable of. They have gotten off lightly in my opinion, seemingly turning up, collecting a paycheck, and then disappearing.
This does begin at management level and I think that needs to be addressed.
One rumour that is going around is that the team haven’t trained in a month. If that is the case, then that is inexcusable from the club’s management level. But that I’ve heard is a rumour.
Update: It is reported that the lack of training is true, but more than this than meets the eye. The current training facilities in Chester are out of action, and it’s been nigh on impossible finding new facilities due to the snow.
3. We’re Punching Above Our Weight
When I told a non-league fan of the issues at the club, he turned to me and told me that I should just enjoy the ride. Look at Nuneaton Town fans: they are likely to be relegated at the end of the season from the Conference. Do they care? Not really. They’re enjoying their time in the highest level of non league football. We are punching above our weight, and as I said last season to a friend of mine we’re probably somewhere between tenth in the Blue Square North and tenth in the Evostik League Premier on average. We were a sleeping giant for years, now we’re where we should be. Lets just enjoy the ride. I almost had a nervous breakdown when we nearly got relegated last year, it’s not healthy this negativity.
Even if we do go down, so what? As things stand I think we’re in a stronger position than where we were five years ago, and I’m confident we’re not going to the wall.
I have rambled on too long. It’s a beer job this post, and I apologise. I just think that the club is going back from where it came from, and the fans need to take some responsibility. Dissension in the ranks has led to a lot of clubs going bump (ask any Hucknall or Eastwood Town fan this), and I don’t want it done to my beloved club.
COME ON THE BAY!