Last season for Weymouth FC was a never ending procession of lows and 18 days into this season we've managed to embarrass ourselves again. The latest cause of this being the announcement that we will auction the responsibility of being team manager for our upcoming Dorset Senior Cup campaign.
Nothing surprises me about the actions of the people in charge of the club anymore. I long for a time when we are again a club respected throughout non league football, a club respected in it's own community, a club that local players aspire to play for and most of all a club known for its quiet dignity and professionalism. I see this latest decision as only harming our chances of moving forward and re-building the respect in the football and local communities, that we have sadly lost over the last 5 years.
Putting a person in place who has the idiocy and surplus cash in place to do the role of manager cheapens the element of competition of the Cup. We've made a mockery of the Conference and Conference South in the last two seasons with our annual implosions and kids days and now we've decided to cheapen another competition through our self serving actions. For a club that should want to be seen as a beacon for football in the county this really is a strange way to behave.
The idea will no doubt be cited as being good for the publicity of the club. The club has had more than it's fair share of publicity in the recent years, frequently using the media to garner support for our latest crisis, the 9-0 defeat against Rushden where we played the youth team where the supporters all apparently got hideously rich on the back of betting against their own team, getting publicity from taking donations from fans across the country to keep us going, to getting Steve Claridge to cast aside his zimmer frame last season and play for us - again another drubbing. These instances have been an attempt to generate publicity and good will for the club, all of which has been unsurprisingly squandered and made the club I am (still) proud to support a laughing stock in non league football. This latest publicity stunt will only add to this viewpoint.
Where do we draw the line? Are playing spots up for grabs for a donation to an anonymous paypal account? Why don't we get a washed up celebrity to play for us? Has anyone got Dean Gaffney's number? Can I be Chairman for a day in return for the promise of an article in the Wyke Register?
The idea also denigrates the standing of the players and the manager. The players deserve the respect of a professional manager at all times, we fans can't criticise the players in future for any perceived lack of professionalism when they themselves has been treated in this manner. Our manager, Ian Hutchinson, is a man who deserves the utmost respect for his career with the club and he gets this from every single Weymouth fan. What this act says about the respect he receives from higher up in the club is unclear, as demostrated by this throwaway line in the announcement of the idea:
"Usual first-team Manager Ian Hutchinson will step aside, no doubt keeping an eye out from up in the stand looking to pick up tips in the process!"
It hinders his ability to experiment in the tournament, try new players and lead his team in a competition we have a chance of winning; which can only benefit the team morale and our activities in the league.
Their are numerous other risks involved in carrying through with this. I can see it ending it further embarrassment. What if players refuse to play? What if the manager decides to go mental, plays a striker in goal etc? What if this person can't be arsed to carry on and gets bored after a dismal 0-0 draw away to Parley Sports? I feel I'll be blogging about this competition again this season.
At best the idea is ill advised and ill thought through, makes us appear desperate and goes against the spirit of competitive football. My concern is that there is something more sinister behind the idea and it's the latest in the long line of acts that have been instigated to split the fan base and damage the clubs future - see also the new Malcolm Cu*tis badge, the bullshit club motto, the sacking of Ian Hutchinson first time around etc. I truly hope that this isn't the case and hoped that the acceptance of our CVA at the end of last season would lead to a new period of stability, humility and professionalism at the club, actions so far do not suggest this will be the case.