Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Fan reaction to this week’s developments

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

We were on a journey, weren’t we? Turning up at Premier League grounds in our thousands and winning. Wembley appearances and league titles. All in it together, with us the supporters a powerful and appreciated force, driving the team on with our unconditional support, sticking with the team through awkward moments and celebrating like mad when we won, and oh how we won, writes Real EFL journalist Roy Thompson.

MK Dons, Rotherham, Forest Green, Burnley, Coventry and …Huddersfield. We came, we took a look, sneered at history and went home with the spoils. Little old Lincoln City, with a former JCB driver at centre-forward and a couple of teachers in the dugout, upsetting the natural football order, and my God did we love it.

Unfortunately, the men at the wheel decided the journey was no longer for them this week, and at crucial a fork in the road chose to turn north for West Yorkshire. I’m not going to lie, It gutted me, and knocked the wind out my sails for quite a while. I was shocked and didn’t understand it. “Why Huddersfield?” I cried they are crap, come on boys you are better than that I thought.

Many fans on social media compared their departure to a relationship break-up, and bear with me a while; I will continue that analogy a little further.

When we all finally opened the letter they left on the mantlepiece, we discovered it wasn’t us; it was them. They needed to test themselves and take the ‘perfect opportunity’ of a Championship club in freefall and live a life free from regret. We do still love you, they said, but just not quite enough to stay and no longer in that way.

Looking back with that crucial of all benefits, hindsight, like anyone jilted in a break-up for a long time we didn’t want to believe the relationship was heading for the rocks. Many of us buried our heads in the sand when they moaned about the training ground not being ready for pre-season. Most fans looked the other way when they told us they didn’t want to consolidate. Some turned a blind eye when they signed two injured players to supplement an already threadbare squad, and the majority looked down sheepishly and started reading the paper when a striker never arrived on Deadline Day. We all appeared to take comfort when they gave a rival from the West Midlands the cold shoulder, with many believing once the summer was over it meant another year at least. They promised they would never leave mid-season after all.

Many of us still refused to believe it, even when people told us they had seen them with someone else, we hoped it was not true or if it was, they would come to their senses at the last minute.

However, by Monday morning, it was clear how foolish many of us had been. It was apparent they had been doing more than just flirting with a potential suitor, they had got in bed with them, they had discovered a certain chemistry they wanted to pursue and now as far as our unique, historic, exhilarating relationship was concerned, it was over, and they were moving on.


It suddenly dawned on a few of us, they had obviously been moved on for longer than we thought


Many of us watched them in their new blue and white ties romancing their new fans with their promise of work ethic and those seductive well-polished words of relentless positivity, and it suddenly dawned on a few of us, they had obviously been moved on for longer than we thought.

All this left me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth and thinking the whole thing could have been handled better, but don’t misunderstand me, my cynicism does not mean I am ungrateful or underestimate the job they have done. They were a massive part of my life for three years and gave me some of the best memories, not only in football but in my entire life. They have dragged my club up by the bootstraps and changed the whole culture of Sincil Bank, from a staging post on the way down to a stepping stone on the way up. If I met them in a pub, I’d happily buy them a drink, thank them from the bottom of my heart and talk to them excitedly about Gateshead away, Sam’s free-kick and ask how loud we sounded at Portman Road. I’d wish them and their lovely families all the health, prosperity and best wishes I could, but unfortunately, I no longer want them to succeed on a football pitch.

Peter Daniel

You see, In the 1980’s I watched Graham Taylor transform a club at Watford and Trevor Peake lift the cup at Wembley at the same time I was pinning my hopes for football league survival on George Kerr, Peter Daniel and Willie Gamble. I couldn’t go through it again, watch a golden opportunity evaporate in front of my eyes, while someone I once loved is thriving elsewhere.

Football is tribal, they now wear the blue and white of a club we have a history with, and I can’t bring myself to wish them every success. I can’t handle that terrible feeling of what might have been and watch the club I have supported for nearly forty years once again become stifled by a black cloud of despair. Call it indifference or apathy, but the only way I can truly move on is by remembering the good times but not caring about what they do in the future.

I also feel the only way the club can move on quickly and ensure the change in the culture they so successfully instigated continues, is by leaving them to get on with it and focussing 100 per cent on ourselves. I will be honest, the hero worship often bothered me, it was at times close to religious in its intensity, and it is to their credit they remained as humble as they did for as long as they did. However, if I could steal a line from one of my favourite films, we now know, without a doubt, they are not a couple of Messiahs, just two very naughty boys and for me, it’s time for the homage to end. The new manager will need our support at its most intense if he is to succeed. If he is continually looking over his shoulder at how it used to be, he will stand little or no chance of being a success. A monumental job will be made even harder if people can’t let go of our former managers and are continually going on about how they are doing in West Yorkshire or how they did at Lincoln. We need to let them go.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

When they arrived without any agenda, other than a burning desire to be successful, we needed them to wake us up to the fact we are a great club. Now we must carry on without them and make sure we continue our path upwards.

Just like they are no longer the humble men who couldn’t believe their luck at finally landing a job in professional football, who looked on in awe at an empty Coop stand, dreaming one day of filling it, we are no longer a desperately sad, miserable non-league club. It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship, but it’s over and what they do now is not our concern, we should focus on finishing the job they started and taking this club as far as it can go.

They will rightly go down as the greatest managers in our club’s history (so far?) and their exploits will be spoken about fondly for decades to come by those, like me, who were fortunate to be there every step of the way. However, it is now sadly and unfortunately already well past the time to move on.

They have, so should we.

UTI

10 Comments

  1. What a brilliant article Gary it sums up how me and my family are feeling about things now too.
    LCFC will clearly attract a better manager, a manager equipped to get us into the Championship and as we go up we will pass Huddersfield on the way down! UTI

  2. I’m so pleased you feel this way still Gary, I am still struggling with it all and still feel angry-Huddersfield, it’s not a nice place and they are only a few places ahead of us in the football league albeit in the league above. I can’t help thinking that this is solely about the money and I hope I’m wrong but this certainly isn’t the perfect opportunity they were looking for surely? Everyone is wishing them well and moving on but I’m struggling to do this just yet, I appreciate them so much for what they have done but the way they left doesn’t sit well with me.

  3. Huddersfield on the way down I doubt but city on the way up is debatable. Clive will get it right, I am confident he knows what is required.
    It all looks positive to me!
    He is better than 90% of the chairmen out there!!

  4. I agree with everything you have said. The initial announcement hit hard as I thought they wouldn’t leave so soon after the start of the season and to a team like Huddersfield.
    By the end of the day I wasn’t interested in the Cowleys, the club is definitely better for them being here but they’ve gone and I’m excited about the future .

  5. I think the Cowleys have made a big mistake. Finding loan players isn’t going to work there and doubtless the players, who have clearly not been working very hard, will not like their methods. There will be some ex-Premier League players who will not like being told to work hard by ex-National League managers who got out of League 2 at the second attempt. They will be on good salaries and a lot more difficult to move on than players at Lincoln. Their ambition may mask the necessary realism. Thanks. for everything but…

  6. They may now have found their level for now at Huddersfield but looking at it objectively there is only one way Hudders can go in the Championship it is very similar to where we were when they came in. Consolidate and get them midtable put smiles back on faces in the stands all at a club with low expectations whilst earning a load of dosh doing something they love. I cannot blame them but I just wish it had been better timed ie in the close season.

    It should become mandatory that clubs cannot take managers from other clubs ‘ in season’ only having the pick of free agents. We are likely to unstablise another club at this moment in time by taking their manager. It may make clubs think more about the sack race and who they trust to take their club forward.

    I do however wish them all the best and we are a better club for them being here, this is just the beginning of another upward chapter in our history. UTMI

  7. I too agree with the thinking that the Cowleys have dropped a bollock, to a degree, whatever happens they’re multi-millionaires now so who cares, right?
    I’ve pretty much made my peace with situation, unless we end up with the next Marcus Bignot of course!
    We’ve had such a great football experience over the last 3 & a bit years, but it doesn’t feel like it’s over, not by a long way.
    The Cowleys are history now, the club is all I care about.
    Great article btw, am I right in thinking it was penned by Roy Thompson or are these your words Gary?

  8. Agree with what you have said, it was heck of journey with the Cowleys and I guess we will never know if we could have made the championship with them at some point, still it has happened they have moved on, and I thank them for everything they achieved, we need to continue our upward curve, I’m sure we will do whoever fill those massive boots!!

  9. Gary,

    Not usually one to disagree with you but I think that we have all known that sooner or later the Cowley’s would be leaving. The timing could have been better for us (but probably not for Huddersfield). Lets be honest we thought many times they would leave during last summer when a host of big clubs courted there services and obviously the club thought the same as proven by how quickly our management team have put in place the next selection process. For me to expect someone to turn down anywhere between six and ten times what they actually earn here is nonsense and whilst we all can demand loyalty and feel indignant that it appears not to have happened in this case, how many clubs show loyalty to their manager when results go against them. Danny and Nicky have a responsibility to their families and this move ensures financial security going forward whatever their success rate in the future and I for one do not begrudge them that. The facts are that we have had three of the most successful years in the clubs history and not only that with the recruitment they have made during the summer have left us with a hugely talented squad of players. Club is in a far better place than when they took over so guys no recriminations wish the Cowley’s best of luck for the future and lets now concentrate on giving our new manager as much support as we did our previous management team to continue to sterling work that has been accomplished so far. The king is dead long live the king
    UTI

Leave a Reply