Terrace Trash - January Editorial
A new year comes and it is hard to believe 2001 could be a
whole lot much worse for City than 2000. Of course things could actually get
worse, but we don't want to spoil the festive fun with gloomy contemplation of
bankruptcy and playing in the Hellenic.
It is credit to everyone still coming to Meadow Park that we are still there.
Let's face it, most people aren't and the disappointing loss of support is just
one of our many problems. Relegation rarely brings attractive football and
although we've had the odd high point and the rare skill spot to enjoy this has
been a thoroughly horrible twelve months. Even a wonderful cup run ended with
defeat snatched from the very brink of the First Round in front of a tellingly
Off the pitch there is still widespread mistrust of the board,
the club is still prone to embarrassing cock-ups like the farcical AGM and of
course there are extensive crippling financial problems that will take time to
sort out. There has been the unsettling emergence of Gloucester United, feared
as a cuckoo in the nest and adding to fans' sense of uncertainty in City's
long-term future. Dirty linen and personal vendettas have been needlessly
dragged through the employment courts and left the club's reputation in tatters.
The ongoing dispute with two unpaid former players leaves our current team
without contracts and the manager powerless to prevent his better players being
poached by wealthier clubs.
As a final indignity nature then gives us a good hard boot in
the knackers. Pouring rain and freezing temperatures have caused havoc to the
fixtures across the country, but no where can argue they've had it worse than
us. Eight foot of stinking floodwater postponed fixtures and stuffed our
precarious cash flow situation at a normally lucrative time of year. Although
the general environment of Meadow Park has degenerated the ground and especially
the pitch had remained top notch, now even that lies under a layer of slime. It
has really not been a happy time.
We can however choose to remain upbeat. There is plenty to be
pleased and optimistic about if we put the effort in. Given the budget we have
our team still has good players who we know are capable of far more than they
have so far delivered. We're in a stable mid-table position with over half the
league season to go, and have only so far really seen one team, Mangotsfield,
who were genuinely better than we are. We've beaten Tiverton, Evesham and Rugby
and matched Hinckley away without hitting our best form. We won't mention Paget
or our habit of throwing away the lead at this point. We've also got some good
young players in the likes of Thorne, Hines, Cox and Steadman. With confidence
in themselves they'll be more consistent and we won't be all that far off a top
six side in a division where the teams are much of a muchness. And after last
season's depression now at least for all that you expect us to concede goals you
also expect us to score.
And off the pitch things could be worse. However suspicious we
may be of what is going on behind the scenes there remain possible safety nets
for the club. The FA's involvement in checking our finances is a plus, as are
rumours of the club searching for a new buyer and the continued interest of
outsiders in the long-term survival of the club. Our youth team continues to
produce promising players despite the fragile state of the parent club, and the
arrival of an ambitious ladies team will help the club's future and community
profile. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the fine detail the access road to
Meadow Park is a step closer and has always been seen as crucial for the future
growth of City.
Despite the drop in attendances I was surprised to realise
that only Tiverton and Gresley have higher gates than us in our division this
season. The main reason for my optimism is that despite the dwindling numbers we
still have a good hardcore of committed fans who care passionately about City
and who if we stick together will make sure we keep struggling on. We have good
people working hard at the moment, and however sad the current divisions are it
is comforting that there are able people standing by to help. Even if the worst
happens Gloucester City would bounce back. As the
new President of the USA said, "If we don't succeed we run the risk of
failure." And what ever else has happened, the
club is still there - and many of us weren't sure that would be the case at the
start of 2000.
So cheer up and have a happy and healthy 2001 - whatever, but
hopefully in part because of, the future at Meadow Park.