… on second thoughts, better not go there.
Football, like life itself, can give you some zingers when you’re least expecting it. And the news our current manager was suspended yesterday for alleged betting certainly counts as that.
The words “Club statement” have a serious tone at the best of times, bit like “News Report” whenever there’s a plane crash.
At AFCW though, you definitely know it’s going to be bad when you see the headline.
First things first, before we go any further – innocent until proven guilty. Like the Franchise mediation thing, we’re in legal territory, and it’s something you genuinely don’t want to be on the wrong side of.
So, the statement itself. You can read the FA’s rulebook yourself, although it’s well known that you simply aren’t allowed to put any bets on football at all if you’re employed in it.
Players aren’t, managers aren’t either, and some of our former/current admin staff will happily tell you similar.
Suspending WD is part of employment law process, apparently, and it doesn’t necessarily imply guilt. Though it’s worth pointing out it’s the club’s decision to suspend him rather than anyone else.
And perhaps the most important news, at least in the short term, is that GH is taking charge for Peterborough. What happens if we win that game?
So, that’s all we’re being officially told, except for the amount of bets (which doesn’t matter, one is enough to be charged), or when.
And while there’s a lot of speculation and rumours going about right now, very few people really know what’s going on.
If Walter does get found guilty of putting bets on, he probably won’t be at the wheel any longer. As said above, he’s in a position where it’s a very big no-no, even if it’s just a few “fun” flutters.
Perhaps the question is – why now?
An observant bookie, perhaps? Note the period mentioned in the OS statement, which ended the very day we played Kaiserslautern.
Somebody with a grudge against Walter? Very possibly, there are still some (many?) of the club’s decision makers who would be more than happy if he left.
Which if that’s the case (and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit) makes WD’s alleged misdemeanors even more stupid on his part – why give people who will happily axe you any opportunity to do exactly that?
Although the biggest problem with all this isn’t if he’s found guilty, but if he’s cleared of all (or enough) charges.
Judging by a lot of social media reaction, there are many who now want him gone. Even those who think he deserves more time (like your editor) have half-prepared for his departure.
Should he take control again, what does that do to the whole relationship between manager, fans and club itself? Especially if we keep losing like we have done?
One gets the feeling this might start getting messy, especially if it turns out there’s a bit more to it.
Already, there’s something in today’s printed Daily Mail about a standoff over bonuses on keeping us up, and not working on a contract. You’ll have to dig it out yourself, but if even half-way true it might explain a lot right now.
I expect there might be a couple more articles to come within the next 24/48 hours…
All this might explain why this season has felt as strange as it has shit. There’s been something wrong all campaign, and it’s possible this thing has been lurking for a long time.
Certainly this may be a/the reason for Walter’s subdued, almost “I don’t care” demeanour, which genuinely got to a lot of people when we lost at the Frenzydome.
I don’t expect us to win at London Road, but I’d be interested to see the reaction both on the field and off it. As said above – what if GH engineers a victory after all?
It’s not an ideal situation, to put it mildly, but it’s in keeping with 2019/20 thus far. The most important thing is that it doesn’t drag on longer than necessary, because previous experience teaches us that’s when the real damage occurs.
I’m sure there’ll be plenty of jokes about WD and betting (if we let another goal in the 93rd minute, people will say “WD made £100 from that”), although the more puritanical types will be use it to rail against the evils of gambling.
Although in an unintentional bit of dark humour, I note the OS statement has an advert for SkyBet…