It has been very difficult to sit down and write this column after what I witnessed at Haringey yesterday. After what has been a difficult summer, during which a very good management team was unilaterally dismembered by Vince, we were treated to the pre-season friendlies against relatively tame opposition. Yesterday, the chickens appear to have come home to roost.
This in, in no way, a criticism of the players. I have no doubt that every player who pulls on the Clapton shirt does so for his love of the game and gives of his best for the cause. Yesterday was all about how the club presents itself to other clubs and neutrals.
Tons supporters will recall Clapton teams where the level of ability was far less than what we saw last season.. This deficiency was punctuated by a manager who constantly criticised the lads and showed very little in the way of example. Consequently the team fell into disarray and were something of an embarrassment. 'Street footballers' was a termed used to describe us at the time.
In the last two season things clearly improved and, despite the 'off the field' wrangling, there was every reason, before the dismissal of Neil and Chris, that things were very much on the up.
Yesterday we turned up with the wrong kit, the manager was late and before you could say 'Souvlaki' we were 3-0 down. Can you imagine what the players were thinking before the game? Evidently, it was hardly the best way to send your players out onto the field for the first match of the new season.
The performance was not what we could have expected even though Haringey are likely to be one of the better teams in the League this season. However, the lack of organisation, the defensive frailties, and overall naivety showed our team and the team management to be as green as their kit. It's not the fault of individual players as the buck stops with the Michael the manager and the 'Director of Football', Marc Nurse.
An interesting point is that once the manager arrived we played better and stopped haemorrhaging goals. Coincidence or not? In the words of the Director of Football, we should have a long think about that.
Furthermore, to cap it all there has been the embarrassment over the unpaid money to Croydon FC from last week's friendly game. This is an off the field issue and lies squarely with the club or, in reality, Vince. Both manager and Director of Football were aware of the arrangement whereby Clapton FC would pay the ref and were reminded of this before the game by Dickson Gill, who himself is a former Clapton manager.
Nonetheless they chose to leave the ground without settling up. Initially I thought that this was squarely down to them but, on reflection, they were probably not given the money beforehand (a substantial sum of £100) and were therefore probably expected by Vince to pay it out. I put the reason for the leaving without settling the bill as their being 'embarrassed' because, at any normal, properly run club, this would have been taken care of.
I further understand why they chose not to pay it out of their own pockets. Chris Wood is still owed a substantial amount of money by the club/Vince despite a promise to to settle. I have no doubt that Michael and Marc are aware of the debt to Chris and, probably with this in mind, decided that not to stick their hand in their pocket.
Perhaps, on matters such as this, as opposed to yesterday's debacle, they are switched on and not as green as that awful kit.
10th August 2014
email Lew Listz