So it looks like the news is official: the alarm bells are ringing!
And well they might be. If I didn`t know better, our dismal home form coupled with some good away results reminds me of 2000/2001, our relegation season.
But I do know better, I think.
Whilst I am concerned that Lennie and Trolls have put together a formidable League Two squad for League One, a few additions in the right places should see us all right.
Maybe it is time for the management team to get into the loan market. I`d be looking at three players, maybe four, to go into the spine of our team. A keeper to give competition to Steve Phillips, a central defender because I am not convinced about the Hinton/Elliott double act, an alternative to Campbell and Disley, because there isn`t one, and a striker who can score goals. Other than that, things are fine.
I wonder if the step up to League 1 (all right, the Third Division!) was higher than we expected.
I for one thought the main, possibly the only, difference would be in the quality of the strikers. Well the strikers are better, at least those from other teams. I am just hoping that Trolls stops tinkering soon and sticks with his two best strikers, assuming he knows who they are.
There was a strange atmosphere at the recent league home games where, despite disappointing results, much of the crowd stayed to applaud off the team. All well and good, I would suggest, except that particularly against Leyton Orient they barely deserved it. I am not advocating booing as an alternative, just that I get the feeling that many people think what`s going on is merely a blip and everything will turn out fine.
Maybe it will turn out fine but I have my doubts now.
Off the pitch, the main story of the day is the club`s burgeoning media department which has apparently expanded to four people. Ian Cole and Keith Brookman have both done wonderful jobs in recent years with IT and the programme (among many other things) and have now been joined by former Evening Post journalist Kirsty Pugh and now cameraman Jeff Davis. Apparently, Kirsty is now media manager which presumably makes her a sort of Alistair Campbell type character and Jeff will also help the club with image rights which must be vital in the third tier of English football. I`m very glad they have given him other things to do apart from take photos because I was wondering what he`d be doing on the other six days of the week!
One would imagine these appointments suggest the club is in very good shape financially.
I`m assuming the club is doing well off the pitch, but despite a huge media department communication with the supporters is still as poor as ever.
If the team`s form continues to be indifferent, shall we say, it will be interesting to see how the BRSC directors react.
David Brain and Ken Masters have had things relatively easy since last summer. Success on the pitch has meant a lot of happy supporters so they have had little grief. David has an unfortunate rude style of answering questions which I am sure is not how he intends it to, be but it would not be tolerated by people if things at the club went downhill, which we all hope they don`t. Ken Masters has worked out the best way of not getting grief on the internet is to pretend it doesn`t exist and instead get himself involved with the Community Department, which is a charity run separately from the club.
I won`t bore you with the detail but as elected directors, Messrs Brain and Masters are expected under the BSRC constitution to be accountable to BRSC members. It is the view of many people that they are not acting an accountable fashion at all and it is likely that they will be asked about their conduct in this, and other, areas – some highly controversial – at the forthcoming AGM.
BRSC having people on the board has been an experiment that has a) failed and b) had its day. Of all the people who have been on the board, in my opinion only Kim Stuckey was up to the job and clearly understood his dual roles of being a full director and fans representative.
If there are to be fans representatives on the board they simply have to be independent and preferably elected by an independent organisation.
Perhaps Masters and Brain are doing an excellent job on behalf of the supporters – it`s just that we never know because communications are so poor. Maybe we can get someone else into the media department?
Back to where I started, the alarm bells are ringing. No need to call into question the status of Lennie Lawrence and Paul Trollope because I believe they are best placed to get us out of the little hole we are in.
But leaving everything just as it is could be a recipe for disaster.
Let`s see if we are still failing to win in a couple of weeks. If we are, the first team coach will need to strengthen the squad.
Barry Bradshaw`s pre season Gung Ho ‘Let`s Go For It` will begin to sound a little hollow if our season fizzles out in October.