The latest issue of King of the Kippax was on sale at the ground for the first time yesterday. Taking a wider look at the problems we face is an article by DAVE CASH called 'Keeping the Faith', with which many City fans will empathise. Here is an excerpt:-
Looking back it makes you wonder what has happened in such a very short four seasons. Whereas Maine Road was old and ugly, Eastlands is new and ugly. For me it did not start out that way though. The season we moved into Beswick, I looked and saw a beautiful stadium, state of the art facilities, views to die for (no more restricted tickets which meant sitting behind a three-foot wide post, which in reality meant not seeing 90% of the game). However, in a little over thirty-six months my view has changed. Eastlands, and I loathe the name with a passion as it means nothing ‘City’, has become an edifice. It is a blank wall of endless concrete and grey painted steel, featureless, bland, dismal. Go past it on a rainy winter’s day and see if there is anything remotely ‘lovely’ about the place. It looks closed and uninviting although it does retain an air of mystery. Like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory people wait in wonder for the ventilation louvers to open to get a peep inside, to glimpse the pitch, but of the human aspect there is scant else to see.. In short it is dark forbidding and frankly not very pleasant. It is a bit like the current management really. Short of digging a bloody great moat and installing a drawbridge our wonderful management couldn’t be more isolated if they tried. Ok, so it has stopped the damaging leaks of information to the press but, to a large extent, it has completed the feelings of alienation and isolation that the fans were starting to feel already.
Now given all of the above, you would still expect that the fans would be loyal, but now we start to turn the screw. Season ticket prices, whilst held this year are still nearly double what they were at Maine Road. Performances on the pitch are at times so poor as to send a glass eye to sleep (I give you both Watford and Charlton at home, 0-0 draws played for the majority of the game like volleyball). I know we do not have a pot to piss in, but frankly our movements in the transfer market have been pathetic, with only Mpenza looking like a decent piece of business so far. Rumours of star players going to the s**t continue with little or no rebuttal from the ivory towers, and on recent past evidence it isn’t hard to believe that anything and everything is up for sale if the price is right. None of it is helping to inspire the faithful nor engender any feelings of loyalty.
I have warned in the past that there is only so long that you can keep making the pips squeak before they start to die. The disaffected will not be manning the picket lines this time, like they did during the Swales-out-days. This time the exodus will be almost silent. There will be a few rumblings, like the earthquake shower a couple of years ago, but mostly the only sound will be the shuffling of slippered feet as in dribs and drabs fans walk away. It has started already. Season ticket renewals are down. I speak to people now who have had tickets for thirty years and are, for the first time, considering not renewing. If it were one or two then you could be forgiven for saying “so what”, but it isn’t. As the numbers increase, so attendances will start to fall. The next generation won’t have dads and uncles (sorry if that sounds sexist) pushing them along and teaching them how to support a club that underachieves, like ours does, therefore no next generation.
It’s like when you were a kid playing out at tea-time, as it starts to get dark and one or two of your mates have to go in, so you start to lose interest when there aren’t enough of you for a decent game of ‘Ticky-off-the-ground’. You sit around for a while kicking stones until it dawns on you that you’re the only one left and then you too wander off home. That is how it happens when a few of the diehards start to care less. Then those that have always been a bit less enthusiastic quietly slip away too, but no one notices them leave until there is no one left. The club ignores this at their peril. Personally I think the penny has started to drop with some of the powers that be, but in all likelihood for purely commercial reasons rather than any sense that they are killing the club with their lack of communication, lofty attitudes and pure unadulterated greed.