Roger Moore scores: boycott would be a new Lowe

Last updated : 05 January 2006 By Chris C
Opening Up

I was accosted by our Group Finance Director last week. Seems he’d seen the red and white scarf in the back of the car and was delighted to find a fellow sufferer. I guess the Samaritans were engaged.

Funny thing is, he didn’t want to talk to me about football. No lamenting our patent lack of width. No complaints about poor finishing. No eulogising over the emergence of our bright stars. No opinions on the new manager. Nope. What he really wanted to talk about was the Chairman.

I found that a bit depressing. Not unexpected it has to be said and certainly not unwarranted. But that seems to be the last 12 months of my football supporting life and to be honest, I’m now bored by it.

On the Back Foot

We all know that Rupert Lowe is drinking in the last chance saloon. League tables don’t lie. But when he rolled the dice of new manager, few of us can have imagined he’d land on George Burley. It doesn’t compensate for losing our Premiership status but with Burley, I feel a genuine opportunity has arisen to put some pretty dark days behind us. So why, oh why would a section of fans chose now to launch some apparent protest at the way the club is run?

We all know the club’s board of directors have dropped more clangers than a one-armed bell-ringer. But is the start of the greatest cup competition in the world really the best time to announce something few people in football do not already know?

On the Front Foot

There are few times when a football club has a genuine opportunity to catalyse change: investment (these days almost exclusively courtesy of some Eastern European oligarch), a major signing and above all, a bright new manager.

For good or bad, a new manager brings with him fresh ideas, impetus and no doubt new players; players who fit his preferred modus operandi, who possess the requisite skills and attitude, befitting the manager’s style.

And in the case of Burley, I also hope for better training methods. Friends in the know tell me that the training regime of the past 12 months is far from exemplary. And it shows.

Better Technique

Staying goal-side, using the width of the pitch, breaking in numbers, marking tighter, striking through the ball and general fitness - all these are things that could see a marked improvement in our fortunes. Yes we need some better quality in the side, but returning our current players to at least their former levels of competence would help.

This is something that Burley professes to enjoy – the training ground – and by golly he’s going to need to spend plenty of time there. Perhaps then we can look forward to corners that clear the first defender, free-kicks that owe their inception more to Brazil than a samba, and shots on goal that test the plethora of poor quality keepers in this league.

Corridors of Trepidation

We can only guess what Burley’s relationship with his new Director Football will be. So why not leave it at that? And instead concentrate not on the corridors of power, but the players emerging from the tunnel and their new manager. We don’t have to support Rupert Lowe – hell, we don’t even have to like the man.

But we must support his latest appointment. Else what have the past ten years taught us?


And what’s George to make of us, the fans? On the final day of last season, a full Saint Mary’s was described by Alan Parry as a ‘Premiership fan-base deserving of Premiership football’. Hand on heart, how many feel that description remains apt?

Here we stand on the threshold of a new era at the first round proper of a competition that offers real hope and the prospect of being the first ever club to take the field at the new Wembley.

And some supporters claim our future would be better served at home on their sofas or generating ill-will around the ground.

What would Alan Parry make of that?