Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Joy of Football - Part 38

Hope you all had a groovy Christmas and are looking forward to a fantastic 2022 both on and off the pitch…. And that Dear Reader is about as happy and cheerful as this blog gets….
 Now for the Hanwell game and where to begin is a tough one. A bad game in which we didn’t seem to trouble their goalie at all. Very sad to hear booing at the end. Many of these players are very young and looked totally crushed when they came up to the fans that stayed behind after hearing the jeers. But the fans pay good money to watch the team. Their weekends can be ruined by bad results just as much as the players and coaches. They have a right to be upset and to question what has happened this season. It upset me to hear the jeers and it upset me to see the players faces, but it also upset me to see the faces of many of our fans as they headed home or to the bar for the after-match discussion. 
 Sky TV are still filming over at Fortress Imperial. I’m sure when they first come into film the team and academy, things were buzzing after the progression of a number of players though the footballing pyramid and the London Senior Cup win. It would have been great to get more media exposure and help raise the profile of the club. At the moment, hopefully they will have lots of positive footage from behind the scenes as there has been very little to look forward to if the match day footage gets shown. It’s bad enough seeing the team lose but to know that it’s being filmed for all to see is sickening. A couple of people involved in the footballing side of things have said that having Sky walking around filming has been a distraction that the players and coaches do not need. It’s also obvious that the Bog End faithful are not happy with the cameras at games. I for one do not blame them. 
Non-League football has become more and more popular, Sky will know that. The chance to stick their nose into a number of places will be too much for them to turn away on their hunt for viewing figures and the chance to fuck up yet another sport…. Bear that in mind if in 5 years’ time our away game with Chipstead is on Pay to View on Thursday night at 9pm. 

 There are splits growing in the ranks of our supporters. The various reasons would fill a blog in on their own, one I may well do. Different groups with different views on how things could or should be done. All of their views valid and worth listening to even if they are not the views you want to hear or agree with. I like to think that I know most of the people who come to see Toots and have heard various views on how the clubs has gone wrong and what the club is doing right. Covid has caused the cancellation of a meet the people who run the club night. A new date needs to be looked into and if possible and able to be done safely as I know a lot of people are concerned about the direction the club is going. Some kind of clear the air meeting should be done to at least try and heal some of the bad feeling at Toots.

 Kingstonian will be ground sharing at Fortress Imperial next season it has been announced. Strange move for them as they were over at Corinthian Casuals and at least were playing games in the Kingston Area. An awkward journey for many of their fans and one that many seem unhappy with. This is meant to be for a couple of years / seasons until they are able to go back to the Kingston. As for Tooting Bec and the various teams they have set up, I should imagine there will be major changes for them. What this will mean for all three clubs remains to be seen but I’m fully expecting various weird and wonderful conspiracy theories.

 Let’s face some facts here. TMUFC have lost two years’ worth of income including gate money due to Covid so in all honesty extra gate money coming in will help out any short falls that have happened over the last couple of seasons. I work in the facilities industry. This involves looking after and managing budgets, invoices and bills. We need to face facts that to run Imperial Fields is very costly. The Electric, gas and water utilities have to be paid. Insurance and rates. The upkeep of the ground and pitches. Ironically the Sky sports subscription to show games in the bar, not forgetting the wages of the staff etc. Plus, the added cost of finding funds for the playing budget all needs to be found. 

I get on with both Steve and Jackie and have no axe to grind or hidden agenda against them or the way the club is run as a business etc. But I believe that supporters should be given some idea of the costs of the day to day running of TMUFC. I'm not suggesting anything untoward, but how was the money collected on the Crowd Funder page put to use at Imperial Fields. A lot of people put money into this and would like a rundown of what the money went towards I would ask for more information from the club and the Members club, who I believe own 10% of Imperial Fields on what goes on behind the scenes and what goes on in general. The social media side has much improved in the last few years, but supporters need more updates. The rumour mill often goes into overdrive when announcement are made. Two and Two becomes Five as people try and find out what is happening. For a start some of the conspiracy theories that often spring up could be put to bed early instead of growing and growing. A lot of the good work that the club does with the local community and local business either goes unnoticed or is not explained allowing Roswell/ JFK type conspiracies to spring up. Recently, the club has had to find a lot of money to upgrade the ground after recommendations and regulations that have come into force since the terrible fire at Grenfell. Plus, the work done on the pitch. Yet this is not common knowledge. If more people knew this, they may well become more understanding when it comes to the costs of running the place. Bills have to be paid and staff have to be paid. My job possibly may give me a better idea of costs and budgets. Not everyone has the same experience. We don't need to know everything and see every single invoice but an idea of what is going on behind the scenes could help people understand more. Might even help stop more of the negative stuff that goes up on various platforms. 

 At this moment in time many people do not know what the Members Club do or their role in the club and what stake they have in the set up at Imperial Fields. There is very little communication between the Directors of the Members Club and the other supporters when it comes to these matters. Directors sit in the stand and are not seen or visible before and after games. It has been good to see Chris Woolley walking around and chatting at resent home games, it would be good to see a bit more of that in future. In short and maybe unfairly, many fans do not know who the Directors of the Club are and what the Members Club do. There needs to be more open dialog between the Members Club and the supporters when it comes to their part in the running of the club and financial matters. Supporters need to be informed of what the Members Club are asked / expected to contribute to the Team / playing budget each season. What other costs the Members Club may also be responsible for during the year. Without this information people do not know where their money is going or what it is being spent on. A regular newsletter given out on match days or regular articles in the programme could go a long way to heal the "Them and Us" feeling that some supporters have in regard to the Members Club. The club over the years lost a number of supporters who were willing to help out but became disillusioned with things at TMUFC. Last of information and bad communication often playing a part in this. 
Christ, how depressing was that…. It must be bad enough having read it if you managed to get this far. Believe me it was hard enough writing the thing. I’ll be there Saturday and I’ll be cheering the team on. None of us are enjoying this. Not the players, fans, coaches, owners or staff. Try to stay positive and cut others some slack if you don’t agree with them. We are stronger together than we are when split up into various factions. 

 Up The Terrors !!!!!

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