Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Night Of The Long Knives !

What a week !

I fortunately managed to shrug off the flu virus and take the Ultras Express to Welwyn last Saturday.  Although I was on the same locomotive as much of that merry band, I stayed incognito as befits my ‘Clapton man of mystery’ tag. The train journey was followed by a long schlep to the ground but what a nice place to watch a game of football.  It was nice to get back to Hertfordshire where we used to play in our Isthmian days.

Well the game was something of an anti-climax for the Clapton following.  A mysterious team selection left Ninja (who has goals in them-there speedy boots) and James Briggs on the bench. Didn’t understand that at all.  Fahid has certainly living up to the lyrics of that old 90s classic ‘Street Tough’ by Rebel MC. “Rough like a Ninja, Stinging Like a Bee” Unfortunately he was not given the chance to ‘shake his stuff’ at Welwyn and we paid for it.  Likewise, the regular omissions of Briggsy from the first XI team sheet has been a mystery to me for much of the season.  OK, James is not Twiggy but he is one of the best players at the club at holding the ball and spraying decent passes around..  As for those free kicks, I haven’t seen anyone do that at the Dog since Mark Stone in the 80s.  He is Clapton’s Jan Molby, minus the Danish scouse accent.  Jan had a song too. “He’s fat, he’s round, he owes me thirty pound.”  However, I digress.

So, after a pretty disappointing display by the team I was delighted to see the Clapton Ultras / Scaffold Brigade etc behave in such a credible fashion. Real sportsmen and women act honourably, even in defeat, and the conduct of our following would have made any of the Clapton greats of the past - Messrs Hornsey, Parkinson and Huband, extremely proud.  Well done everyone.

Fast forward to Tuesday and I was surprised to read that one of the co-managers Kevin Lucas had left the club along with the little grey haired fellow, Stuart Purcell the physio.   I was beginning to like Stuart, despite his tendency to dance around, during the post match celebrations, like a Dad at a disco.

However, I admit to having seen this coming.  When Marc Nurse went to Southend, we were left with Michael Walther who is obviously an inexperienced manager and who was destined to manage a senior team for the first time on his own.  I suspect this is why Vincent brought in Kevin Lucas as co-manager.  Kevin was an experienced manager and he has certainly not been my favourite opposing boss over the years, not least because he invariably did well against us.  But it became quickly apparent that these two were not going to be ‘Clough and Taylor’ or ‘Mercer and Allison’.

It has to be said that our tactics have been, let’s say, unadventurous for much of the season, (even before Kevin’ appointment).  The ‘departure’ of Kevin following Saturday’s defeat smacks of the co-managers blaming each other, and one, or other, running to Vince to moan about it.  That’s not co-managership in any shape or form.
It’s a bit reminiscent of what happened to Woodsy, but on that occasion, Marc Nurse appeared to get most of the blame for the Chris'. Perhaps Michael Walther is learning fast?

The problem for me is that Michael is beginning to emerge as Vince’s poodle as much as Marc ever was.  I think Kevin may have been a little too old school and unlikely to be taken in by the usual bull that comes out of the ‘club’ whereas, Michael is ambitious.  So, is Michael a McBean-ite? For me, certainly until I see any evidence to the contrary, he can celebrate in front of the fans with the team (most of whom are Woodsy’s players), as much as he likes because, last night at Ilford, it crossed my mind that his credentials as a real Clapton man who, when things are going wrong goes ‘running off to teacher’, are certainly up for debate, no matter what the results.

Et tu Brute?

9th October 2014
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