Can’t quite make out what’s going on at my beloved Clapton at the moment. The fans continue to get great reviews for their unbelievable support, even in defeat, and their profile seems to be going from strength to strength. The team have played their part, and are deservedly handily placed at the top end despite a few patchy performances of late.
My worry is off the pitch where the only word to describe the farce is ‘shambles’. The ‘Official’ website seems to have stopped working in keeping with past years, and statements on the current situation seem to be few and far between. Surely we require some meat to the bones for those asking “what the hell is going on?” The current Management, whoever they are at the moment (it is, genuinely, that confusing) do not seem to use any vehicle of communication beyond the odd ‘Official Tweet’ to convey things to a very interested public which is the Clapton fan base, and beyond.
I have seen no articles, or interviews regarding their views, despite Clapton having press coverage nationally that Conference Clubs would envy. A little naivety here I think. At times the ’Regime’ have spoken, but it didn’t make palatable reading and certainly was not well thought out. Twice a plethora of ill-conceived tweets have been on public view and then hastily deleted. To me it’s not that hard to state clearly what you want to convey and have the courage of your convictions against any counter views. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion even if it’s not the most popular. Even ‘Official’ comments regarding the fans have not been thought through with any depth. They have been out of touch with general opinion and failed to paint ‘The Club’ in a positive light.
To be fair to the previous season’s management they always followed this mantra. I remember them explaining why they started the season with one up front and the rest being ‘defenders’ (i.e. 10 men behind the ball). It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t a style of football that particularly appealed to me, but (and it’s a big but ) they were willing to communicate the reasons to the fans both in written articles and in verbal interaction. They were also approachable and human and that went a long way towards building up the close bond that exists to this day. It’s no secret who the fans want as their Managerial Duo. Only yesterday I saw that an image of 'their flag' was tweeted yet again indicating that current Management will always struggle in any popularity contest.
Even so, the current ‘regime’ can help themselves but refuse to do so. They can talk for themselves, they can defend their actions and opinions, they are doing well in the league so they do have a good starting point. Where they clearly haven’t helped themselves is the 'revolving door' leading to the dug out which now seems to be spinning crazily, and at such an alarming rate, it must be another Health and Safety concern for Newham Community Leisure.
However, credit is due to the players because it can’t be easy without any continuity whatsoever. The Lads have done well, but I sense in the body language that deep down it’s a far from happy ship. The first team manager seems to be the only common denominator of the season so far but it would appear, due to his relative inexperience a this level, that he has little in the way of contacts or friends within the game to bring stability behind the scenes. I’ve heard it described as the ‘Johnny no mates’ scenario (harsh), but judging by the unbelievable turnaround of Joint managers/assistants we have had this season, it might be an unfortunate truth.
I am also reminded of Woodsy's comments about how his leaving the club transpired. It's clear that a number of good ‘football people’ have been allowed to go, even this season.
I am sure that relationships in football are seldom easy but by no means impossible to get right with compromise, which can often be at the expense of one's ego. As a supporter, and wanting the best for my club, is it totally impossible for last season's managerial team to be invited back to steady the ship for Mike? It would prove a very popular move with the fans and, dare I say it, lift the morale of the players.
I say this because people do return to clubs, and only this week, assisting Mike in the dugout was Godfrey Obobe, who was coaching at Clapton for the first few weeks of last season. Godfrey's coaching contribution last season was reputedly legend (in a laughable, rather than laudable sense) and his return, if considered purely on a football issue, is certainly more implausible than that of Woodsy and Neil.
However, it might be that Mike is not yet his own man as first team manager and Godfrey has been parachuted in by Vince once again. If that's the case, then expect more uncertainty, as it was Vince who imposed Godfrey on the previous management. Godfrey may eventually prove to be the 'man in the wings'.
Despite all this, optimism remains for a better future once the wheel of fortune finally turns in a direction which will benefit the whole club, it's supporters and members. Whether any of the current or subsequent team management will be there to witness it is probably up for continued debate.
For now I'm countin’ on the miracle to come through and I'm confident it will.
Yours in ‘Real’ Football
24th October 2014
email Lew Listz