Oh Fortuna, blind goddess, you have been busy with the wheel of our fate these last few months, haven’t you. From the hopelessness after Harrogate away, to the euphoria and optimism after Bradford at home, to the subsequent deflation of our losing run throughout March, to our hopes being raised again at Stevenage, and now plunged back into despair. Mutability is our hope, but it is also our tragedy.
It was neither a Good Friday nor a Happy Monday. Northampton not only saw us fall back into the relegation places with a defeat, but Pidge also got a red card, so we’re missing our captain for three crucial games. (We were in Belfast on Good Friday, as it happened. Did you know that it’s illegal to drink on the train in Northern Ireland? And they actually make a half-hearted attempt at enforcing it? Our unspoken Good Friday agreement with the train guard was ‘if you turn a blind eye and accept our apology, we’ll keep the cans under the table and I’ll stop shouting about how Latics are fucked'.) It was always going to be a big ask to get anything at Forest Green, and to rub salt in the wound, we missed yet another pen. Why the hell was Missilou taking it? And to rub piss in the salt in the wound, Barrow and Stevenage both picked up a point. We’re now 4 points off safety, Barrow and Stevenage both have a game in hand, and realistically we need to win all 3 of our remaining games to stand a chance of staying in the Football League. Quite frankly, it looks bleak as fuck. We’ve pulled off the Great Escape before, of course, but 1993 was a very different time, and that was a very different team.
After the Forest Green game, Shez told the press, “I’m to blame as well, I’m picking the team and picking the players I think should be playing, so I’ll take a bit of that myself.” Compare and contrast with Mo Lemsagam’s hilariously baseless claim at the fans’ forum that “I think I am doing a good job.” Shez isn’t above criticism, I haven’t always agreed with his selections and substitutions, but as a great philosopher once said, you can’t make a chicken salad out of chicken shit. I’m not even that angry at the players. It’s not their fault they’re not up to it, either skill-wise, physically or mentally. We’re not heading out of the Football League because of their lack of effort. We all know where the blame lies. The club has been mismanaged for years, and the Lemsagams have absolutely run it into the ground. They have made one terrible decision after another, their recruitment has been awful, they’ve demonstrated a total lack of either business or common sense, and they have abjectly failed to either listen to supporters or to learn from their mistakes.
Kieran Maguire outlined just how disastrous relegation out of the Football League would be for us financially this week. Losing our League status probably makes it harder for us to attract new owners, but it also makes it all the more urgent that we do. We lose solidarity payments from the Premier League of around £700,000, gate receipts drop, sponsorship will be harder to find…. If you were upset at how much the club was costing you in the League, Abdallah, you’re gonna HATE the National League. You think you can take us straight back up and be a hero? Hahahahaha. Not going to happen. There’s no point telling us how much money you’ve put in. That’s gone. You’re not getting it back. Cut your losses, call off the court case, do the sensible thing and sell up.
There’s three games left to attempt to pull off a miracle. Get behind Shez and the team on the pitch, but don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts about what’s going on off it either. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. We kept our end of the bargain, we focused on getting behind the team and fighting relegation, and once again those at the top have let us down. Donate to the 1895 fund if you can. Come to the fans’ forum on May 12th, or follow it online. We’re in desperate times, and it’s down to us to fight to save our club, because the owners and their lackeys clearly couldn’t give a shit. The past was theirs. We have to make the future ours.
Written by Arlene Finnigan