Rumours, lies and messageboards

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, December 4th, 2008
 

I heard a rumour

Should you know who’s putting money into your club? Should you know who’s left out of the team and why? Should you know who’s pulling the strings and who’s taking up the slack? Just how much is it acceptable to tell the fans of a football club, and how much would you want to know?

As a fan I think there are certain things I can expect. No one to be sitting in my seat in the stand of a Saturday, enough programmes left to buy for a decent read as I prepare to watch 90 minutes of pure football and effort most importantly from those on the pitch. But am I right to expect to know the ins and outs of the day to day running of my club as well as proffering an opinion on how it should be run?

With the current climate there’s a growing feeling of distrust amongst football fans. Not only that, but the increase in the use of messageboards to release news or gossip from those so called “in the know” just fuels the unhealthy atmosphere further.

Without concrete information these rumours grow and people often end up so far of the mark that before you know it they’’ve got the club dying, the for sale sign up, and the bailiffs round, when truth be known all that’s happened is decisions have been made to sell a player merely because his face doesn’t fit. In most instances it’s not a question of whether clubs should talk more to their fans, it’s more that to not explain what’s going on is like a death knell.

There’s a really simple process clubs at all levels can use, and it’s being witnessed with the new chairman at Oxford, Kelvin Thomas, who is striking a healthy balance, between releasing enough information to keep the baying public happy, and retaining enough to make sure valuable deals are not undermined. At a club like Oxford there’s obviously plenty going on behind the scenes to secure the future of the Kassam Stadium and bring in a new manager but rather than let rumours persist, every so often Thomas releases a statement, talks to the press, or even holds MP style “surgeries” to reassure the fans.

The worst culprits are clubs who actively allow these rumour mongers to continue, knowing full well who they are, and how very out of touch their statements can be.

As money gets tighter and tough decisions have to be made rumours are undoubtedly going to escalate, but often telling those who may be able to help is the quickest way to stop negative stories and counter rumour.

Perhaps the best of advice I’ve heard this year came from the manager of a Ryman club last week, when I was telling him the latest piece of jaw dropping gossip. “Let spin be a tool for politicians” he said “and truth be a way of sorting out what could be one of the most difficult periods for our game.” Trust me, that was the most sense I’ve ever had out of him, more’s the pity!Non League Show

Caroline Barker presents The BBC Non League Football Show
Every Monday from 9pm via www.bbc.co.uk/nonleague
Real Football, real fans.
If you’ve got a story email the team nonleague@bbc.co.uk

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  • Dexy Longshot

    we do have a right to know what is going on in our club, being a Hammer it’s a non stop soap opera. Do we owe Sheff United 70m of 70 grand? Will we have to sell or will be adding to our crappy squad.

    Message board are great for Chines whispers, best one has to be Andri Schevchenko signing for Chelsea, great rumor that one!

  • tef1on

    Schevchenko signed for Chelski?????

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