The Importance of Sport – Emotional Involvement
If there is one thing that the current situation surrounding the crisis, and be in no doubt it is a crisis it is the Cobblers fans who will be feeling it the most.
When I wrote only three weeks ago about the conflict the owners and board has to resolve between running it as both a business and a sport club I thought the situation surrounding the appointment of a permanent manager was near to being resolved.
Watching the events evolve I’m acutely aware that as a Pompey supporter we are perilously close, in fact to bloody close to the relegation zone and also how quickly a club can plummet through the divisions.
In the Portsmouth case it was because in looking for success, which we all enjoyed, the club had a succession of owners who the club suddenly found itself in hock too through the loans that had kept the club afloat, (a Portsmouth pun)
The major problem came when the club became an unviable business and ended up in administration (not once but three times for crying out loud) and consecutive relegation from the Premiership right through to Division Two.
For supporters it is a nightmare but as with all football supporters we are a stoical lot, starting the season off with dreams of promotion, or at the least making the play-offs, to hoping to survive relegation and in the modern-day vernacular, ‘consolidate our position’.
We just want to stay in the League and have a chance next season which is exactly how the Cobblers supporters judging by the comments on the Chronicle and Echo website are experiencing.
I have sympathy for their position and especially for Andy King who seems to have picked up what can only be looked at as a poisoned chalice in much the same way that Avram Grant did at Pompey.
I hope that the Cobblers fans give Andy the same respect that we have for Avram.
The problem of course is that no one knows what is going to happen next and by talking to Cobbler supporters I know what has really made them angry is the lack of information from the club.
Whatever happened to having communication and media staff?
They are also worried that all of this seems to have happened immediately after the loan of £12 million with the Northampton Borough Council had been agreed and whether the business around the housing development is now more important to the owners than the football club.
Only time will tell whether their fears are justified.
Whatever happens in the last twenty or so games left in the season dropping out of the Football League into the Conference will be a major problem with, as many clubs who have taken the fall over the years have found out, no guarantee that the club will immediately get promotion.
The other problem of course is what if the current owners walk away from the club and as happened with Portsmouth they insist as part of any takeover by someone else that they have their loans repaid driving the club into administration.
If that happens then relegation would be a distinct possibility from the Conference.
Over the next five or six weeks things will hopefully become clearer for the Cobblers supporters but whatever happens the diehard fans will undoubtedly stick with the club.
It is why sport is so important because it involves the whole gambit of people’s emotions.
Which brings me to a final thought,
I bloody well hope it isn’t the Pompey v Cobblers game that decides who is going to be relegated.