ONE fan’s plea for common sense to prevail as Reds’ troubled season goes from bad to worse ...
ACCRINGTON Stanley is becoming a laughing stock at the moment.
This week has been one of the worst in recent times for bad press and negative situations.
To their credit, in an unenviable situation, the players are keeping their heads down and doing the right things. Yes, we got beat at Chesterfield but the players put in a shift. They worked hard and could so easily have picked up a point. On another, luckier day, all three.
The fans that travelled were bouyant again and easily made their presence felt with a reportoire of songs and that huge "Triumph" banner at half-time.
However, the boardroom circus began straight afterwards with an emergency meeting at Saltergate and the resignation of the vice-chairman. It’s common knowledge now, to the supporters, that two directors allegedly said they would rather ASFC die than deal with Illyas Khan and the Supporters Fighting Fund.
This is absolutely shocking if true and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Yet the club have neither denied the claims nor asked said directors to resign. And so the discontent rumbles on. The rumours and conspiracy theories grow and build unabated.
The current chairman, David O’Neill, unfortunately has handled things very, very badly in the fans’ eyes.
All fan groups are united on this. Even the usually glass half-full brigade, the Stanley Ultras.
Since the tax bill came to light the majority of issues have been mismanaged.
However, if this isn’t the case then he should say so. He should say what his cast iron plans for the football club are. He should say how much he will personally throw into the bucket the night before D-Day.
He should say why he isn’t listed as a director or shareholder at Companies House.
He should say if, like some believe, Eric Whalley is still pulling the strings from afar. He should explain what each individual at the club is working on and what Marcelle Lazarus has up her sleeves.
He should get the SOS website updated every night or ask why it hasn’t been. He should personally see to it that the SOS campaign gets back on track with some Churchillian words of wisdom.
He has promised that Accrington Stanley will still be alive in November. I would like to see some glimmer at the end of the tunnel with HOW this will be achieved?
Another worrying issue is that the players have only received half their salary for September. This is very puzzling because, after two huge home gates, we are still struggling with day-to-day expenditure. What would have happened if we had lost against Darlington and only the regular 1,400 turned up for the Crewe match? Worried . . . you bet!
Serious rumblings are also abound that Accrington Stanley’s liabilities are not limited to this £308,000 tax bill. If they are not then this needs to be in the open or the rumours quashed.
Same with the rumours that the balance sheet shows a debt to Eric Whalley of £150,000. All these things should be nipped in the bud by an astute commercial team.
Yet they are being left to fester and divide the support.
Bucket collections will have to stop at the moment because of the general attitude towards the mess. Stanley Ultras were going out into Accrington before the next two home games but I believe that the mess behind the scenes will seriously affect what gets shoved in by the general public.
Any football club turning a multi-millionaire away in this day and age won’t get much sympathy from the working class streets of Accringtonia!
And I see this as the big problem for the SOS in these last three weeks.
However, I will use this column to urge the people of Accrington and the fans of Stanley, to support the next three weeks of fundraising. Even if it is just to bolster the total we can offer the tax man and then hope for leniency then so be it.
There is a Race Night, a Sponsored Walk, a Car Boot sale, a Legends game, a Halloween party and so on.
All will be great events and all need your support. All organised by die-hard Stanley fans and with one aim – to save Stanley.
And then, on Monday morning, another bombshell. Ilyas Khan withdraws any further funding to the football club. Obviously, the man has money, yet is ignored despite the fact he could end our financial worries tomorrow. And with it, remove a transfer embargo that is hampering the playing side.
The more the Tax Bill saga rumbles on, the more I can see John Coleman filling out that CV (prospective Tranmere job anyone?) and posting it off. Now that would really finish us off.
I would suggest, for the second week running, that David O’Neill takes his head out of the sand and ends the mess the football club is in with a telephone call to Ilyas Khan. Our football club needs his money, needs his new broom and needs his ideas. Please.
I have said it before and I will again.
Stanley fans don’t care about David O’Neill’s value of shares. They don’t care about who is writing the cheques to the staff and suppliers. They don’t care if the chairman is English, Dutch or from Outer Mongolia.
They care about a football team competing and entertaining for 90 minutes on behalf of the town. They care about the history and the hard work that has shaped our destiny.
They care about the badge on the chest, not the balance sheet in the board room. Lest, the directors, remember that as they continue their unneccessary power struggle. And I would suggest that, if they refuse, the only power struggle they will have in November will be who turns the light out, probably the last one out of the door.
And so back to the best part of following Stanley this season. After Shrewsbury fell foul of the weather, we entertain Cheltenham at home tomorrow and then have an SOS event with Sam Allardyce bringing a Blackburn XI to the Crown on Tuesday.
I hope that the Rovers fans see this as a chance to out-support the Clarets who put £35,000 in the pot. I am sure this can be beaten by Blackburn Rovers. After all they always crow about how well they are supported compared to the Claret’s. Lets see it then, Rovers.
Cheltenham tomorrow will be a good test. Martin Allen is the boss there and he is bonkers so maybe the best entertainment will be on offer near the dug outs.
I would like to see Bobby Grant back up front for this one with Luke Joyce back in the heart of midfield. It’s true Joyce wasn’t at his best at Vale Park but I believe he is still the best central midfielder we have with the ball at his feet.
Get down the Crown, and cheer the lads onto three points tomorrow and then let’s outsing the Rovers fans on Tuesday.
Accrington Stanley – the club that, with our help, won’t die.
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