Bloody hell, what a 48 hours – so much to say, so little time (relatively speaking), so let’s go : Drillo is gone, and yes I am sad about it. However, I’m not really surprised to be honest. I think when even KC was (mis)quoted as saying that the players had lost faith, the writing was on the wall – JH’s (somewhat mis-interpreted) comments probably sealed his fate.
I would really have loved Drillo to have worked it out, because he said it was his “dream job”, he loved the club, been a fan since Harry’s days etc, but ultimately it became sour. I seriously think that nothing went right for him – the JH To Spurz saga, the most messiest takeover I think any club has ever experienced, dealing with player attitudes from way back etc, and couple that with the obvious breakdown in communication and all that, and really his tenure had become untenable. I wish the guy well – unlike Withe the guy was not universally unpopular, and I think with a better slice of fortune he could have become one of our best managers. Shame.
So, Drillo is out, but Terry Burton is in charge, or the man who without whom Our Greatest Ever Manager would never have been Our Greatest Ever Manager (speaking of whom, the reasoning behind JK’s timing of his scathing articles is something to do with the fact that his golden handshake got paid last week. Draw your own conclusions).
I have to admit, on the surface of it the timing is strange, but when you consider that R&G have only actually have the power to do the hiring and firing it probably makes sense. Chances are, had SH (who did not rate TB as a manager/assistant manager one bit) not been in control of the strings up until recently, Drillo probably would have walked out sooner. Or then again, perhaps he wouldn’t have been in half the shit he was in the first place.
Anyway, back to TB – somebody said that he reminded them of JK, though the very thought of TB being our manager doesn’t make me want to vomit blood. Actually, in the circumstances, he’s the best choice, though I wonder if he’ll stick around at the end of the season. Depends how he does, the guy does have a very good track record in the top flight : he was responsible for people like Adams and Dixon at Arsenal, he’s done wonders with our youth system and nurtured many of the current players from within the ranks (so they’ve got no excuse now – they’ve got the man they want in, so they’ll have to perform now), so he stands a good chance.
However, I still think that for all intensive purposes, our players are really not generally good enough to play Premiership football, and that is something that has to be looked into in the close season (see BRG’s comments later on).
Now, I have spent all afternoon at the press conference etc, and here’s a lowdown what happened. Firstly, I wasn’t going to go originally, I was annoyed quite a bit at the sacking, because it seemed the ultimate victory for player power. Then, on the spur of the moment, I went. I got there, and there were plenty of Wombles there, all seemed pretty unhappy at the sacking (for the same reasons as me, I hasten to add).
Anyway, cutting out most of the boring stuff inbetween, the press conference started. Somebody had a crappy reception on the radio (what do you mean, “that’s typical Radio 5 reception”?), and everyone was listening to what was being said. Well, trying to listen to what was being said, like I say, a crap reception and quite a few photographers snapping away weren’t exactly condusive to good listening quality.
A few quotes from the press conference :
BRG says that
“Terry will have a complete free hand from us on the board to take the necessary steps going forward”
Totally different from the little known but perfectly true fact that SH had the right to change the team a certain time before kick-off. Also, this pleased me, and may show the direction the club wishes to take –
“We have to move on. I think the Crazy Gang image was a natural image based on the players’ image and was created around a few players from time to time. I think we have to appreciate that the football is moving on, it is a much tougher competition”
This may explain why the CG thing was dropped from the shirts and eventually altogether, but more importantly it seems to show BRG and co really really want to move on from the (quite frankly) tedious clothes burning shit that always seems to happen. Die-hards may not particularly like this new direction, but think about how much it’s held us back from developing.
Also, the fact that BRG has said that football is “much tougher” makes me believe that he feels that in order to be a Premiership force, you can’t really have people like Leaburn, Roberts and Ardley (yeah, I know) playing for us.
Meanwhile, TB ain’t going to court the media in the same way his ex-boss did :
“I will not tolerate questions about the players’ commitment. Any poison about that from you lads [the meeja], I’ve got to say you will end up in the river”
Not so much a Crazy Gang style comment, more a gangland style execution, judging by the way he said it. Hmm, I may like him being manager after all. The meeja hate being made the scapegoats, and can’t understand why we’re slagging them off. Something to do with the fact that you’re morally bankrupt cunts who would gladly fuck your own children in front of a camcorder to sell to Dutch paedophile porn rings. I bet that we’re not the only club in the country who has the same opinion of Fleet Street.
Afterwards, the press corp left, and the supporters who had gathered there (all 100 of us) were invited into the pavillion to discuss things with BRG and TB. Now, whether this was pre-planned, or just an ad-hoc response to the amount of people who had turned up I have no idea, but it was definitely most welcome.
It certainly is good PR from BRG’s point of view (that and the pictures yesterday of him shaking hands with some Dons fans yesterday thanking them for turning up), and in a climate where just about everything to do with R&G is slagged off for simply not being the old boss, it’s more than a symbolic gesture.
Anyway, BRG spoke exactly what he said in the press conference, and also introduced us to two new board members (to replace Sam and Ned Hammam, who have both finally fucked off).
One is a Nog – former Norway international, I think he’s the logistics manager for BRG’s powerboat team – and I’ve totally forgot his name. The other is one Mr Charles Koppell, who was mentioned previously in SW19. He’s not a Nog, in fact I reckon he’s a well-educated limey. Smart, snappy dresser, business associate of BRG, not unpleasant (he recognised a couple of our fans, which is always a good start), and negotiated the purchase of PGPF in under 14 days. That’s impressive.
TB had a few words thanking us for our support yesterday, and an impromtu question-and-answer session was carried out. Now, the usual stuff came out (grounds, training, players etc), so here’s what I can remember (when I wasn’t taking shaky pics of BRG, see above) – firstly, we aren’t going down.
We ain’t selling our best players.
The training ground has been purchased.
We’re trying to build up excellent dialog with Merton to build a “state-of-the-art” stadium – we seem to have made a good start with PGPF, thanks to Mr Koppell.
The PGPF will take about a year, after we’ve dealt with the permits etc. We’ve bought up Malden Vale’s ground, and we’re going to redo it up so we can play our reserve games there (YES!!!). I asked that one, and I also asked this : given the shit surrounding us this week, and given what Lars said earlier about denying such stories would be a full time job, perhaps we ought to employ somebody full time to deal with that sort of thing.
BRG replied :
“I’ll talk seriously to David Barnard about it, it’s something to do with the management of the club, but it’s something we’d like to do”.
Words to that effect, anyway – given what BRG himself has had to deal with, I would not be in the least bit surprised to see a dedicated Press Secretary at WFC before the start of next season (after all, he was none too impressed with the Fleet Street brigade…). Fuck we need it. Anyway, BRG really did well today, he conducted himself brilliantly in the press interview, and he certainly made no enemies amongst the fans. The round of applause he got at the end was certainly not contrived.
Like the world of politics, much of the good juicy gossip about WFC can be found away from press conferences. According to an impromtu discussion with David “Barney” Barnard, SH is not the most popular man around WFC anymore, both amongst the fans and indeed amongst the admin staff.
In fact, he seemed to sum up the feeling of the current people at WFC about the comments by JK, Fash, Vinny etc when he said “when they slag WFC off, they are also slagging off the very same people who they worked with and are still at the club”.
Jason Euell has been told not only by Barney but by TB himself that his attitude stinks, and he really ought to get himself together. We ain’t selling anyone – he said that he went to a Premiership clubs meeting last week and told three clubs who wanted our players that “you can cross our players off your shopping list”.
The idea of getting two days training before an away game (ie going up to train two days before instead of one) like what we did vs Bradford was a TB and MH idea. Tore Andre Flo is “out of our price bracket”. Like JH was, I suppose.
Oh, and the season after next, we’ll probably have the yellow away kit. Basically, the green is all down to SH’s petty meddling again – we designed a “beautiful” yellow strip last November (when these things are decided), SH took one look at it, went on the rampage and ordered the stadium manager to burn it. So now you know. Overall, whatever happens now, I feel much more secure with the people in charge than I ever was with SH. I guess it’s something to do with respect…. Oh yeah, I was interviewed by Sky News and Radio Dive Live, but that’s irrelevant 🙂
Anyway, we’re effectively managerless, so the speculation starts here. Ron Atkinson, in his shite teletext column, has somehow suggested that by sacking Drillo, it’s a way for SH “and even Joe Kinnear” to return. From what I gathered today from meeting the people who actually matter, that is the last thing that will happen. I hope. I think this is Big Ron talking bollocks.
Actually, I suppose we will get the JK rumours back, because the outside world perceives the fact that JK and TB had a wonderful working relationship, which of course they didn’t. Besides, how many people get a golden handshake, slag the club and its new owners off and expect to be re-employed by them?
Lawrie Sanchez is a possibility, remember that he left the club because of problems with SH – so did Gibbo, come to think of it – and the guy is a promising manager. He may come if we go down. The dumbest rumour today is John Fashanu, who has declared himself as a front runner. The man who didn’t even take training half the time (and didn’t it show) because it clashed with media committments. Worse, despite trashing R&G in the papers, he says that “if you cut me open I read Wimbledon through and through”.
Again, going back to what Barney said today, if they REALLY cared about WFC, they would have kept their mouth shut, or at least tried to show some balance in their comments. Like Harry and Sanch, to be precise. Hopefully this is just Fash trying to make a name for himself, instead of anything concrete.
Anyway, with all that out of the way, there was a match yesterday. Jeff Winter 3 WFC 0. You will read elsewhere about this match. I have a few thoughts. One, I sincerely hope that Jeff Winter dies of something horrible. In fact, I want to kill him slowly and painfully with a rusted herpes-infected stanley knife, taping his screams of pain. I want to go to his funeral, wank over his corpse in front of his grieving relatives, playing his last screams over a huge fuck-off PA system whilst laughing like a demented maniac.
Which I’m sure you’ll agree, is a far too pleasant way to die for that lowlife shit.
Don’t like the linesman much, either. Secondly, forget player power, managerial problems etc – the basic fact is that we just can’t score goals at the moment. Both Euell and Cort missed “sitters” and no matter what else happens, no matter how often you fight, if you can’t put the ball in the back of the net, you will never win games.
Thirdly, we definitely miss Maggie and JH – though I seriously thought that JH was going to cause GBH to Winter after he got sent off. Finally, it WAS much spirited. But then it fucking well have ought to be – I just wished that they showed the same amount of fight in other games this season. Yeah, sorry to be so negative about yesterday, but then when you’re down the bottom, things don’t really go in your favour….
Just one final word, from our beleaguered ex-manager, and may explain why I’ve always backed him :
“The only trace of bitterness that I feel is that I won’t be able to shout and cheer with the others when we win our final game at Southampton and save our place in the Premier League. I’m convinced that is going to happen”
And you wonder why I’ve supported the guy so much?