GLF 60: Derek casts his net far and wide and reaches as far as Charlton!
Alas we have not made the Top Six for the first time in a few years.This should not be too surprising–weeks and weeks ago I was resigned to the fact we'd be missing out–but the fight and skill shown by the team in recent matches dragged us back into the contest.For a club our size we are never going to be in the top half every year and while we should be disappointed that our earlier tendency to ship late goals and throw away leads has cost us this season,we should not be too disheartened while looking at the long-term picture.
The very fact that ‘only' finishing seventh or eighth is viewed as less than success is a credit to how far we have progressed in recent years.It has been said by some that this year was a great chance to actually get into the upper echelons and finish in the top four but in reality that is far from the case.The old firm,although weaker,are still significantly better than us and the Edinburgh teams are as strong as they have been in a long time even if Hibs' injury list is beginning to drag them down.Kilmarnock have also produced good displays on as consistent a basis as any provincial team could expect and even disregarding our stupid points giveaways to poorer teams,our record against the top five says all you need to hear about us.Out of a possible 45 points we have taken a mere four,all in the form of home draws.We are not a bad side but we are a long way off challenging for Europe.What is interesting about this split though is that we have achieved 44 points from 33 matches,our highest SPL total.So progress has been made again?
And Number Two…...
It was very pleasing to read that Charlton were investing a substantial amount of cash in transporting their fans to the quarter-final replay they ‘ enjoyed ' in Middlesborough.A couple of planes were subsidised and several buses / trains were laid on to take fans up North for free.While the cynical will no doubt point out that they needed the support and would earn some cash back from a big turnout of supporters,this must be viewed as the first big gesture of a club giving something back to the fans.
Football has been in danger of eating itself for a long time and until more clubs ( in Scotland especially ) realise that the fans cannot be treated as infinite taps of cash the game is in a perilous state.Fans always have and always will be the lifeblood of the game.TV may provide the bulk of the cash but wait and see how many clubs are successful when their supporters have deserted them in droves.TV will not hang around for long to broadcast so-called big matches from empty stadiums–the product is almost as much the fans and the atmosphere as it is the game itself.
At Motherwell we have tried many things to get the fans in and we have also subsidised buses in the past.While we should not give up altogether on increasing the fan base,history has shown that this is tough.Perhaps some customer retention management (!) of our existing fans should be higher up the order of the day since the current attendees are the people who are actually keeping us going.Let's make sure that as many of them as possible can afford to go to as many games as possible and at the same time make more of an effort to explain the goings on at the club.A little effort will go a long way.
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