Dom Roman @DomRoman
“With the team reaching an all-time low on the pitch, and with no leadership off it – life supporting the Gulls is as difficult as its been in my time, and probably any time in United’s history. This week I’d like to talk about the significant parties currently involved with our club, and what is going so wrong”.
1 – The Herald Express
My colleague Luke H has become angrier and more frustrated than most (he went to Wrexham after all). His open letter to the Herald Express really struck a chord with the Yellow Army and has become our most viewed article.
Put simply, Clarke Osborne and all have had a ridiculously easy ride since taking over the club. An easier ride than CO could possibly have imagined, especially with his chequered history with sports ventures. He’s faced more pressing questions from Patrick in the club questions series and that says something!
Where is the research from HE into that history and where are the questions on our club and it’s future? Instead we get passive journalism every other day, getting a quote or two from Owers/Harrop and very little else.
There’s been no reply from Herald Express. No impassioned response defending the paper and it’s team. Do they give two hoots about our club and it’s fate? Are they just bystanders whilst things go horribly wrong – at the moment it feels like it.
2 – Gary Owers
I’ve always been obsessed by footballing matters rather than non-footballing matters, so most of my ire has centred around Gary Owers in recent times.
He has lurched from one disaster to another in recruitment. Now we can’t even keep players like Davey and Andresson, who were apparently keen to join – not any more. And of course Gnabouyou was the wildcard we hoped could pay off, and it wasn’t long before he was fed up at Plainmoor as well.
The players clearly haven’t all been donkeys, but for one reason or another every one of them has been dreadful. Many have played at league clubs, so the talent to cope with NL must be there. Does that mean Owers can’t motivate them or get his tactics right? Both I would guess.
The Wrexham showed up the motivational and tactical incompetence to its fullest. Persevering with 3-5-2, even though the personal wasn’t there. Marooning Dowling out as wing-back and pairing Reid and Fletcher upfront – two diddy men for the home team to suffocate. And there’s the conceding from corners again, whatever they are doing in that respect is failing badly.
You can defend Gary by saying the squad needed overhauling in September, but he’s had long enough to improve things and failed spectacularly. We all appreciated him and Kuhl lambasting the players from the touch-line when they arrived – what does that matter when the boys are not playing for the shirt and winning games?
I guess the proper chance to make this season work came at the end of November, when the commitment levels were better and the arrival of this ‘focal point’ striker could have made all the difference. Six weeks on we still await the striker, but does anyone want to sign for him or us?
3 – Geoff Harrop
My beef with Geoff goes back to the end of last season. We all guessed that Nicho was never the preferred choice as manager (I never wanted Nicho to leave by the way), but instead of removing him then and getting a new man in for a summer squad rebuild – they gave Kevin a small budget, then sacked him as soon as our form plummeted in August.
Either back your manager or move on. Extra funds could surely have allowed Kevin to go out and pursue three or four players to transform the squad (even though he has less contacts than Gary Owers). We finished near the bottom for two seasons and needed to improve the squad – it’s not rocket science and Nicho was left with a small squad in the hope he could produce results.
Then taking four weeks to hire a manager, valuable points lost and Gary Owers arriving due to his expertise in getting in players:
GH “It has been important for us to find the individuals who we think can adopt our plan for sustainable success and can bring the talent, experience and contacts that are key for a club wanting to climb and top the National League. These guys tick all the boxes for us”.
Those points seem utterly redundant now. Of course funds have been given to Gary and he has failed to use them wisely, but this is only being reactive to our desperate situation. And we’re left struggling to fill the bench again, which for an ‘apparent’ professional sports club is embarrassing. Unlike the summer when players may have fancied a go down here, joining 2018’s TUFC is not tempting.
The only thing that is looking promising under Harrop is the youth system, which is the only thing he has proper experience of. He has shown no competence or leadership as ‘General Manager’ and should be ashamed of much of his decision-making since landing the job.
4 – Clarke Osborne
I think much of the CO debate is included in that letter. I was willing to give Clarke a chance, because we literally had no choice when he arrived at the end of December. Did we still want a club…yes!
Since taking over the club, TU has become better resourced and is no longer a total shambles behind the scenes. But on the pitch things have got worse, and as any supporter will agree that’s where it matters most.
The chairman never attends games (he’s no fan we know that) and has paled into the background more and more as 2017 lurched on. Where’s the heart and soul of the club we once knew? It feels like they’ve papered over some cracks, but left us totally rudderless for the fight with Harrop and Owers in charge.
Are the wrong decisions being made due to them not caring enough or because they don’t have a clue how to run a football club? Both.
5 – The Future – TUST and Fans Ownership
I know the TUST chairman Mike Thomas from the supporters coach and it is heartening to see him getting into the task at hand this week. He is a true supporter who shares all of our concerns, and the Trust will look to press into these matters in January – their regular monthly meeting with the club is their chance to voice them.
I still look at the Dave Phillips reign and wish that fans ownership had really come to the fore. There was a push on TUST membership, but never a chance to get Yellow Army numbers on who would back Fans Ownership.
It works at City, so surely it could at United. We have supporters up and down the country, a fan club, a trust, blog sites and podcasts all devoted to the team. Clarke will be in charge for the foreseeable, but if fans ownership could gather real leadership, support and pace then we could do it.
One day maybe. For the time being I’m hoping the Trust will take a more vocal stand on our behalf and ask the questions which the HE are too afraid to. One important one being “Do we stay full-time if we go down?” – a question so depressing I’ve hated to utter it, but a question that may soon need answering…