If the Worst Happens

Last updated : 28 November 2006 By Firparkcorner

The short answer is that it would depend on how long we were down. In truth our club is struggling with more than just the eleven players we're putting out on the pitch each week. There is apathy in the stands (until recently anyway!), the PR from the club is shocking, there is a lack of leadership from the boardroom and our manager is a rookie who is, naturally enough, making rookie mistakes. On top of all that we have a squad which possesses a few gems but an awful lot of deadwood. Whisper it, but a season a in the First Division could do us the world of good.

Of course it would hinge on us coming back at the first attempt. Anything more than a season out of the top flight would be very bad news indeed and could well be the start of many years in the wilderness. But a little jaunt down to the First for twelve months could help on many levels. The manager would be allowed time to build a side and make his mistakes at a lower level. The fans would realise that we have no divine right to be in the top league or to be challenging for success. A spell in the First would remind them that times really could get hard and that compared to St Johnstone, Airdrie, Morton, Partick and even Dunfermline, Falkirk and St Mirren recently, we have been doing very well. Hopefully they would be more supportive towards the team on our return. Talking of the fans, not only would we not have to put up with the Old Firm visiting and all the hassle that goes with that, we would probably attract more of our own kind back to Fir Park. Not only would it be cheaper (or it should be) to get in but more people want to watch a winning team than one losing every week – check out the crowds for Hibs and United in the First Division as proof. Getting people back through the gate would give us a good chance to establish a bigger crowd when we did return to the SPL.

The football may be of a lower standard but there would still be big games. We would have at least one or maybe two local derbies and there would be the chance to visit some grounds not seen in a while. Furthermore there would be the chance to stand at these grounds without stewards bugging you! We would have an excellent chance of winning something – albeit the Challenge Cup – and many SPL sides would fear coming to Fir Park to face us in the big cups. The likes of St Johnstone, Raith, Airdrie and Gretna have all shown that league status is not the be all and end all in cup competitions – a bit of form and a decent draw is all that is needed.

Off the field the club would hopefully realise that things cannot simply be allowed to tick on forever with no changes. The club needs a PR (wo)man if not a full department and someone in the office who will lead by example behind the scenes. Regardless of the opinion you held of Alan Dick or Alasdair Barron, someone who has the authority to make decisions and is trusted with responsibility is urgently needed. The horror stories of people turning up at Fir Park to be met with bungling incompetence must be stopped. There is, of course, no reason that this shouldn't happen when we're still in the SPL but the kick up the backside of relegation may just be the inspiration required.

Would it actually be a good thing if we got relegated? Nah, probably not. But, in the dark months ahead, as much as we hope we stay up it is worth remembering that life does not end if we drop out of the SPL. You will still go for a pint, go for a pie and then yell abuse at the linesman at Fir Park. We'll just be up against a different set of teams and for once we'll have a chance of winning. As soon as we get relegated the countdown to the promotion party can start. If the worse happens, we will be back, so enjoy the holiday if we're away.