Hull this week, and yes, we lost again. Corr we were unlucky, it’s not what we’re about, but we’ll go again, etc. If anyone has any bright ideas as to how we’re going to stop this horrid run, answers on a postcard. It’s not even the New Year, yet the feeling of dejection and resignation from fans and most worryingly, the players, is something I’ve not encountered since… well, since March actually. Not a completely unfamiliar feeling, but to have given up before Christmas? That is new.
Thoughts after the game were focused (not unsurprisingly) on the sight of former chairman Ken Dulieu sat on our bench, running his expert eye over proceedings.
Kenneth’s latest position is “Head of Soccer”, as described by a blithering John Clarke before the game. Football, soccer, or whatever the hell it is we’re currently failing at – Mr Dulieu really has no place being on that bench, regardless of the meaningless job title we have bestowed upon him this week.
I’m staggered at what I can only presume is yet another attempt at positive PR from the suits. This isn’t a case of anything the owners do being the wrong thing, simply because ‘the fans hate them’. I’m sure that’s what they’ll make of the situation when they assess it this week. But right now, back on earth, Ken Dulieu making an appearance on the bench is wrong, because it is wrong. Nothing more complex – it’s unworkable having any senior member of the management team looming over a football manager while he’s trying to work.
Even the mainstream media picked up on this. Manish and Steve found time to have a little chat about it on the Football League show and were equally bemused. Most with any sort of affinity with the game of football, could see the immediate problem too. Watching Andy having to squirm his way out of questioning made for particularly uncomfortable viewing. His position was undermined in the most public way possible, and no matter what you think of his current performance, you must feel sorry for him having to bite his tongue and justify it on their behalf.
This situation was caused by the same group of football brains who thought we’d be delirious when they offered the entire squad new contracts, in an attempt to dilute our crossness at the best players leaving for nothing. Yes, we were (and still are) annoyed about that, but to remedy it by offering the rest of the team new contracts? Wow.
In the same vein, it feels like someone in charge thought that having Ken sat on the bench would demonstrate his new-found focus on improving the footballing fortunes to all us idiot fans. I really can’t recall seeing anything like it before, with the exception of Sam Hammam who used to do whatever the hell he liked. We expected it of Sam though, who was, in the nicest possible sense of the word, a lunatic.
Is this really the time to be rocking the boat and trying the absurd? I’ve tried to understand their angle and reasoning, but I’m afraid I can’t. It was never going to go down well, especially in a stadium that included a collection of “Sisu out” bed-sheets.
Yet, I can just imagine the board meeting this week, as the group dreamed up more methods of getting the fans back on board, and one bright spark (probably Onye) piped up: “Hey, Ken, why don’t you go and sit with Andy this week? That’ll show that we’re serious about you committing your time to the football”.
Forget the fact that nobody has a clue what tasks Ken is supposed to be performing in this new role.
Forget that Kenneth has absolutely no experience which qualifies him to be sat on the bench. Within the matchday arena, even the kit-man gets dibs on a seat before he does.
Forget that we’ve been sinking for months, and one loan player aside, the intent to address this can be rounded into nothing more than a few token statements.
And finally, forgetting that having the manager’s boss sat on the bench looking over him during a game, is like having the examiner’s inspector sitting in the car on your driving test. If you didn’t know, it’s bloody horrible. It happened to me on my first test and long-story short, I stalled at the first junction and almost ran over an elderly lady with a blue rinse.
Now, luckily for Ken, Phyllis from Coronation Street was not there on Saturday. I’m sure the scenario translates in the football arena though, and I think most would agree that it can’t be positively. It may not have had a bearing on the result, but will it have helped the matchday collective (managers, coaches and players) perform their tasks any better?
Not a chance. He’s a businessman. Businessmen belong upstairs, eating their free bread and butter pudding.