Sunday, 8 May 2016

Farcical End To A Farcical Season

Yesterday's protest were the most vocal and angry to date.

Yesterday perfectly encapsulated our season as if it were summed up in a nutshell as the club got most decisions wrong on and off the pitch and yet another resignation.

There were many goodbyes in S.E. 7 on Saturday. On the football front both ourselves and Burnley said goodbye to the Championship sadly going in different directions with our exit the wrong one.

Many players said goodbye to The Valley as they won't want to stay any longer than they have or they'll be moved on by an owner who seeks to recover some money that he's wasted after a series of stupid and incomprehensible decisions.

Many more fans also said goodbye to The Valley and they'll not be back until this fool of an owner has sold up and gone. 

Finally, Jose Riga said goodbye to The Valley for the second time and I doubt we'll see him return as our manager again. He's made it clear what he thinks of the owner as he resigned. Jose becomes the latest in a number of recent high profile club resignations. Of course the one resignation we do want shows no sign of happening no matter how bad it gets.

Total misjudgement in a number of areas ensured that it was a memorable day for all the wrong reasons. The over the top security checks were as much a nonsense as they were a waste of time as banners and flares found their way into the stadium.........what a joke ! In addition, the majority weren't bringing in stress or beach balls and the amnesty buckets remained empty.

Burnley fans were allowed to bring in all manner of inflatables including one phallic one that made me do a double take as I thought Roly had finally turned up for a game !

The game itself like most recently pretty much passed me by although it was clear that we were more than a match for the Clarets in the first half. Sadly the old defensive problems ensured that two more goals in the space of two minutes ensured that Burnley could start celebrating a title win that rarely looked in doubt.

It was almost inevitable that at least one or two fans would run onto the pitch as the collective anger intensified. I'm not sure what briefing the stewards had but they were largely devoid of common sense. One fan made a small run onto the pitch and was heading back into the stand with no real damage done but rather than let him return our friends in high viz seemed intent on manhandling  and making a point.

This silly situation became even more ridiculous as thousands of Burnley fans poured onto the pitch with little to no attempt to stop them. You didn't need the benefit of hindsight to know that this was a likely scenario but the club failed to even consider this a possibility.

Fortunately all was good natured and Burnley fans joined in the protests as well as celebrating their title success. At the same time with thousands of Charlton fans seeking to get on the pitch clearly to protests and not seek confrontation with the oppo several over zealous police officers decided they ought to try and stop some of them. 

What was the point ? As with earlier attempts to tackle pitch invaders it merely inflamed the situation. We then had the remarkable sight of officers forming a line in front of the goal. I'm still not sure what they were trying to achieve perhaps they didn't. Maybe they were protecting the ludicrous netting that had been erected behind the goal.   

The much cherished fans sofa later became a casualty of the fans anger and its symbolic destruction soon followed. Katrien tells us she's keen to engage with the fans but the only people our fans are engaging with are the supporters of other clubs. Much like Brighton the Burnley fans also caught the mood and joined in with the protesting.

As tribal as football is fans recognise when clubs and the very integrity of the game is being threatened and this has been no better demonstrated than in these last two home games where all four corners of the ground are united in their hatred of Roly, what he stands for and what he is doing to our club.

The only other occasion in my lifetime that fans have taken to the pitch in anger is in 1985 when we were moving away from The Valley and going to Selhurst Park. Twice in over 50 years ! There is real and genuine anger at what this man and his CEO sadly aided by Richard Murray have done. Our fans aren't given to this kind of response but that's what Duchatelet has driven fans to. He won't be forgiven.

Our situation remains largely misunderstood by many. I have friends and others who tell me you'll do ok in League One and will come straight back up. Despite all the publicity it is largely not appreciated just how bad things are. We all know that League Two is the most likely scenario at things stand.

Not all was lost yesterday as post-match my lads and I went on a pub crawl in the lovely London sunshine that took in the Lamb and Flag, The Freemasons Arms, The Princess Louise, The Enterprise and The Knights Templar. Many nice beers were had and they went down with considerable ease ! Sadly, we didn't get to the last three on the list The Old Bank Of England, The Devereux and The Coal Hole.

May be next time we'll manage them all especially if we have cause for a celebration and if that is Roly's departure then we might go round twice ! I can but dream.


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