THE VIC MORGAN COLUMN: What will you do at the crossroads?

IT FEELS as if we're at a bit of a crossroads.

The money filled glory days are long behind us and, as I've written many times, we live in tighter economic times. Results aren't going as we want and we're slipping off the pace. So what do we do as supporters?

We have a choice, you can either attend matches or not. It’s really up to you.

I've read many comments that season tickets aren't going to be renewed and that it'll be a case of picking and choosing games next season. That, of course, is your decision and you have the right to do that. I would be the first to say that this season has, at times, been somewhat dull. There's no other word for it!

It's also had some great moments. The team lies just outside the top six and considering where we were three years ago, many would have been more than happy to take that position.

Probably the main problem has been that we've done better than perhaps was expected and hopes have been raised throughout the campaign. A mid-table finish is something I hoped for back in August and I stick with that, bearing in mind the aforementioned monetary constraints.

I think the one thing that might be a real killer is apathy. The away following has dropped off and it'll be interesting to see how home attendances hold up between now and May. I'm not writing off the season, I'm being realistic.

I'm looking forward to Crewe on Saturday and the games to follow. I'm also looking forward to renewing my season ticket.

We are at that crossroads. Do you support or shrug your shoulders and do something else instead? It’s up to you.

Comments (14)

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7:15am Thu 27 Feb 14

Swindon1984 says...

Spot on Vic - said recently myself that the frustration stems from knowing we could have gotten to the play offs if we'd had slightly better away form and not dropped points against sides in the bottom half, and it's this frustration which dictates the current pessimism. That and the manner of our performances of late, many of which have been frustrating to watch in themselves.

You may be right that some, sensing a top six finish is not in the cards, will not bother turning up for the rest of the season. I don't fall into that camp, and will still be at all the games I'd planned to go to, my decision to see the town play and when not dictated by results but on time available to be there. Have said before some don't see a point of going if the team's playing poorly or if there's "nothing left to play for" that season - personally I see the only incentive for seeing your team play is seeing them play, there's no other reason and so whether they win or lose isn't the issue.

Obviously we enjoy watching football when it's entertaining, especially when we're winning, but to be fair we've had worse times.

The only thing that could really put me off is seeing a lack of effort from the players, which I have seen at times this season. Then again we had six months consistently of that under Danny Wilson so wouldn't be the first or last time!
Spot on Vic - said recently myself that the frustration stems from knowing we could have gotten to the play offs if we'd had slightly better away form and not dropped points against sides in the bottom half, and it's this frustration which dictates the current pessimism. That and the manner of our performances of late, many of which have been frustrating to watch in themselves. You may be right that some, sensing a top six finish is not in the cards, will not bother turning up for the rest of the season. I don't fall into that camp, and will still be at all the games I'd planned to go to, my decision to see the town play and when not dictated by results but on time available to be there. Have said before some don't see a point of going if the team's playing poorly or if there's "nothing left to play for" that season - personally I see the only incentive for seeing your team play is seeing them play, there's no other reason and so whether they win or lose isn't the issue. Obviously we enjoy watching football when it's entertaining, especially when we're winning, but to be fair we've had worse times. The only thing that could really put me off is seeing a lack of effort from the players, which I have seen at times this season. Then again we had six months consistently of that under Danny Wilson so wouldn't be the first or last time! Swindon1984
  • Score: 22

8:16am Thu 27 Feb 14

old town robin says...

Attendance for the rest of season shouldn't be too bad. Firstly because of our season ticket contingent that count towards numbers regardless if they're there or not, Secondly the weather should be improving, thirdly almost all of the remaining fixtures are against decent teams, most of which will bring a fair number of support with them. So an improved average of about 8000 + is IMO realistic.

With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it. I believe it is not being fair to ask ST's to commit before the end of March to retain the best prices without knowing what you are going to be paying for..The offer should at least be available until the end of the season to allow fans to make a decision..

There are many disillusioned fans at the moment and I'm not talking about just those on this forum particularly. Vic says we are at a crossroads and he is right, the balance of support for Mark Cooper is beginning to wain and swing against him and if our home form continues on a downward spiral and the negative way we have played on the road isn't changed, his popularity will very much be in the balance. As a consequence of whether fans think he is the right person to take us to a higher level or not, unless Power can bring in some quality players, if things don't change for the better I believe we will see a big drop in ST numbers, possibly as much as 1000 and with the best games being priced at £27, I doubt we will be able to make up the difference with Pay as you go tickets. If we maintain the 8th best average in this league we will have done well, realistically a 6000 average turnout will be more than likely.
Attendance for the rest of season shouldn't be too bad. Firstly because of our season ticket contingent that count towards numbers regardless if they're there or not, Secondly the weather should be improving, thirdly almost all of the remaining fixtures are against decent teams, most of which will bring a fair number of support with them. So an improved average of about 8000 + is IMO realistic. With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it. I believe it is not being fair to ask ST's to commit before the end of March to retain the best prices without knowing what you are going to be paying for..The offer should at least be available until the end of the season to allow fans to make a decision.. There are many disillusioned fans at the moment and I'm not talking about just those on this forum particularly. Vic says we are at a crossroads and he is right, the balance of support for Mark Cooper is beginning to wain and swing against him and if our home form continues on a downward spiral and the negative way we have played on the road isn't changed, his popularity will very much be in the balance. As a consequence of whether fans think he is the right person to take us to a higher level or not, unless Power can bring in some quality players, if things don't change for the better I believe we will see a big drop in ST numbers, possibly as much as 1000 and with the best games being priced at £27, I doubt we will be able to make up the difference with Pay as you go tickets. If we maintain the 8th best average in this league we will have done well, realistically a 6000 average turnout will be more than likely. old town robin
  • Score: 4

8:44am Thu 27 Feb 14

Swindon1984 says...

OTR - agree with the principal of this but the only guarantee the club can make on a season ticket is that it entitles you to 23 games of football (sure it used to include the first round of the league cup if we were at home as well but that's probably long gone). No further guarantee or expectation can be made in terms of what standard of football will be on offer. If people want to hang on and wait though then obviously that's fair enough, but a reduced (or cheaper at least) priceis the trade off for those commiting early. It's a common sales technique to reward customers for putting money in early on, paying online to limit fees etc. You could argue that those who are prepared to put the money in early without knowing what's coming should be rewarded - don't think of it as those waiting being penalised.
OTR - agree with the principal of this but the only guarantee the club can make on a season ticket is that it entitles you to 23 games of football (sure it used to include the first round of the league cup if we were at home as well but that's probably long gone). No further guarantee or expectation can be made in terms of what standard of football will be on offer. If people want to hang on and wait though then obviously that's fair enough, but a reduced (or cheaper at least) priceis the trade off for those commiting early. It's a common sales technique to reward customers for putting money in early on, paying online to limit fees etc. You could argue that those who are prepared to put the money in early without knowing what's coming should be rewarded - don't think of it as those waiting being penalised. Swindon1984
  • Score: 2

9:08am Thu 27 Feb 14

London Red says...

The "With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it" type of comments are rolled out every single year
.
Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go uop like last year!
.
This is not a new situation at STFC - its not even exclusive to STFC!
.
Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts
.
So what if Williams, Navarro, Benson and Cox are released - they haven't played for us for months - with only Williams making an appearance this season!
.
Why not look at who will be here Wes, Belford, N.Thompson, Byrne, L.Thompson, Austrailain International Luongo, Kasim, Tijane Smith Storey and Barker - all signed up with options on Ranger A.Smith and Barthram
.
That is a great young core to build on - so lets see what Power can do - if anything this year should show he can pulls some rabbits out!
The "With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it" type of comments are rolled out every single year . Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go uop like last year! . This is not a new situation at STFC - its not even exclusive to STFC! . Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts . So what if Williams, Navarro, Benson and Cox are released - they haven't played for us for months - with only Williams making an appearance this season! . Why not look at who will be here Wes, Belford, N.Thompson, Byrne, L.Thompson, Austrailain International Luongo, Kasim, Tijane Smith Storey and Barker - all signed up with options on Ranger A.Smith and Barthram . That is a great young core to build on - so lets see what Power can do - if anything this year should show he can pulls some rabbits out! London Red
  • Score: 9

9:49am Thu 27 Feb 14

Wilesy says...

London Red wrote:
The "With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it" type of comments are rolled out every single year
.
Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go uop like last year!
.
This is not a new situation at STFC - its not even exclusive to STFC!
.
Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts
.
So what if Williams, Navarro, Benson and Cox are released - they haven't played for us for months - with only Williams making an appearance this season!
.
Why not look at who will be here Wes, Belford, N.Thompson, Byrne, L.Thompson, Austrailain International Luongo, Kasim, Tijane Smith Storey and Barker - all signed up with options on Ranger A.Smith and Barthram
.
That is a great young core to build on - so lets see what Power can do - if anything this year should show he can pulls some rabbits out!
No doubting there's a possibility we could have a great side next year if we keep the pick of them, and I hope we do as I will be there to watch with my ST, but there's no denying that home and away attendances are down. Looking around the CG on Tuesday lets just say that a lot of the ST holders gave it a miss....

With the right additions it would be great to see Luongo, Louis, Byrne etc push on with a year's experience under their belts and refreshed after the summer.

For me the negative is the tactics which comes down to Cooper, I don't get why sometimes when we have a go we look like world beaters then other games we play so negatively.

So while on one hand Power can pull out his rabbits which is great, but if they are going to play the Cooper way 75% of the time like you saw at Orient then it won't matter and they may have to supply pillows with the ST's.

Personally I think like you we will have a good squad once we release Navarro et al and recruit some good new youngsters both perm and loans, but those sitting on the fence who aren't currently impressed with the entertainment on show will want to wait and see. I think Cooper will be here next year and to be fair he probably deserves a second season after results this season all things considered. The league won't be as strong with probably Wolves and Brentford gone, and not much coming down from Championship, so if we can push on a bit in a slightly weaker league who knows....
[quote][p][bold]London Red[/bold] wrote: The "With so many of the players out of contract and loan players returning to their clubs and our best assets possibly being sold, nobody can say what kind of team we are likely to have next season , which when taken into account of forking out a considerable amount of money on unknown quantities will make people think twice about if it's really worth it" type of comments are rolled out every single year . Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go uop like last year! . This is not a new situation at STFC - its not even exclusive to STFC! . Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts . So what if Williams, Navarro, Benson and Cox are released - they haven't played for us for months - with only Williams making an appearance this season! . Why not look at who will be here Wes, Belford, N.Thompson, Byrne, L.Thompson, Austrailain International Luongo, Kasim, Tijane Smith Storey and Barker - all signed up with options on Ranger A.Smith and Barthram . That is a great young core to build on - so lets see what Power can do - if anything this year should show he can pulls some rabbits out![/p][/quote]No doubting there's a possibility we could have a great side next year if we keep the pick of them, and I hope we do as I will be there to watch with my ST, but there's no denying that home and away attendances are down. Looking around the CG on Tuesday lets just say that a lot of the ST holders gave it a miss.... With the right additions it would be great to see Luongo, Louis, Byrne etc push on with a year's experience under their belts and refreshed after the summer. For me the negative is the tactics which comes down to Cooper, I don't get why sometimes when we have a go we look like world beaters then other games we play so negatively. So while on one hand Power can pull out his rabbits which is great, but if they are going to play the Cooper way 75% of the time like you saw at Orient then it won't matter and they may have to supply pillows with the ST's. Personally I think like you we will have a good squad once we release Navarro et al and recruit some good new youngsters both perm and loans, but those sitting on the fence who aren't currently impressed with the entertainment on show will want to wait and see. I think Cooper will be here next year and to be fair he probably deserves a second season after results this season all things considered. The league won't be as strong with probably Wolves and Brentford gone, and not much coming down from Championship, so if we can push on a bit in a slightly weaker league who knows.... Wilesy
  • Score: 4

9:50am Thu 27 Feb 14

swwindon61uk says...

Support,have done for 45 years and will continue to do so.
Nice article Vic.
We have done better than many have expected and that is why so many other things get attacked!
Support,have done for 45 years and will continue to do so. Nice article Vic. We have done better than many have expected and that is why so many other things get attacked! swwindon61uk
  • Score: 9

9:56am Thu 27 Feb 14

swwindon61uk says...

Good post Wilesy, at one stage we did have the that balance right on passing,but i suspect the constant different starting 11 has something to with that.
Next year i would like to see a more constant starting 11 and i think that is more likely with a proper off and pre-season on and off the field.
Orient . were 5th from bottom to years ago at the end of the season.
Good post Wilesy, at one stage we did have the that balance right on passing,but i suspect the constant different starting 11 has something to with that. Next year i would like to see a more constant starting 11 and i think that is more likely with a proper off and pre-season on and off the field. Orient . were 5th from bottom to years ago at the end of the season. swwindon61uk
  • Score: 2

10:36am Thu 27 Feb 14

who am i says...

I will be there with my renewed season ticket as will my son and next doors son. But it still doesnt cover up the fact that we have imo a very poor manager who is turning a decent team into average players which will continue with new players next season. im sorry to say our coaching on the face of it looks poor. it also does not help when you get the constant bull from the powers that be that oh we will be pushing for the championship thats why your season ticket money gone up when quite clearly with the wage restraints we are only ever going to be an average team unless as i said before we have a decent coaching system in place fron the manager down. like the likes of yeovil and orient. just for once i wish the charmain would tell the truth and say im sorry folks but for the next few seasons please bear with us but we are trying to build something here that in a few seasons time we will have a set up that will push us onto where we all want to be the championship. but we all know they wont say that coz it would wipe 500 off the gate straight away, like many stfc its in my blood has been ever since my late father took me in the early 70s and will continue to do so until i can no lomger afford it or in my box. but it wont stop me saying how i see it.
I will be there with my renewed season ticket as will my son and next doors son. But it still doesnt cover up the fact that we have imo a very poor manager who is turning a decent team into average players which will continue with new players next season. im sorry to say our coaching on the face of it looks poor. it also does not help when you get the constant bull from the powers that be that oh we will be pushing for the championship thats why your season ticket money gone up when quite clearly with the wage restraints we are only ever going to be an average team unless as i said before we have a decent coaching system in place fron the manager down. like the likes of yeovil and orient. just for once i wish the charmain would tell the truth and say im sorry folks but for the next few seasons please bear with us but we are trying to build something here that in a few seasons time we will have a set up that will push us onto where we all want to be the championship. but we all know they wont say that coz it would wipe 500 off the gate straight away, like many stfc its in my blood has been ever since my late father took me in the early 70s and will continue to do so until i can no lomger afford it or in my box. but it wont stop me saying how i see it. who am i
  • Score: 2

11:08am Thu 27 Feb 14

mickry says...

It strikes me that the core of the still in contract squad will, as somebody else pointed out, be a good base of talent to build on.
On the other hand, although I did feel that Cooper was doing a pretty good job under difficult circumstances, I am now beginning to doubt him.
His 'analysis' of away performances are like Moyes' analysis of Manchester United's defeat in Greece. That is, "we played badly because we played badly, and I don't understand it".
I'm sorry to say that our manger seems to have no ability to learn from his mistakes.
If using different tactics in away games actually worked that would be fine, but it clearly doesn't. Surely, using the tactics that mostly work in home games couldn't be any less effective in away games than what Cooper has done up to now.
I think we need somebody a bit more pragmatic. If it works, do it. If it doesn't work, don't do it.
Having said all that, mid-table safety was the most i hoped for at the start of the season.

Mick.
It strikes me that the core of the still in contract squad will, as somebody else pointed out, be a good base of talent to build on. On the other hand, although I did feel that Cooper was doing a pretty good job under difficult circumstances, I am now beginning to doubt him. His 'analysis' of away performances are like Moyes' analysis of Manchester United's defeat in Greece. That is, "we played badly because we played badly, and I don't understand it". I'm sorry to say that our manger seems to have no ability to learn from his mistakes. If using different tactics in away games actually worked that would be fine, but it clearly doesn't. Surely, using the tactics that mostly work in home games couldn't be any less effective in away games than what Cooper has done up to now. I think we need somebody a bit more pragmatic. If it works, do it. If it doesn't work, don't do it. Having said all that, mid-table safety was the most i hoped for at the start of the season. Mick. mickry
  • Score: 3

1:52pm Thu 27 Feb 14

newburyrobin2 says...

I think you have summed it up perfectly Vic, a little bit of realism needs to be had.
I think you have summed it up perfectly Vic, a little bit of realism needs to be had. newburyrobin2
  • Score: 4

2:11pm Thu 27 Feb 14

old town robin says...

Quote LR, Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go up like last year! Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts.

Why do you think fans who will be debating whether to renew or not are being negative. I fail to see it's seen as being negative to state the obvious that our situation at the moment does not inspire confidence for next season and if fans decide to pick and choose which games they might attend then surely isn't that what you already do and probably for away games you find easier to attend.. Nothing wrong in that, but having not missed a home game this season let me assure you many fans confidence in Cooper is waining and IMO it could effect their decision as to whether to renew their ST's unless changes are made, it's also not true that ST numbers are sustained regardless. 3 seasons ago after the successful DW season it went up from the hard core 4000 to about 5100, it went up again under PdC to nearly 6k, this season under the Jed reign I believed it dropped back to between 5000 and 5500 and probably would not have made that without the instalment plan initiative. As things stand it would not surprise me to see it drop another 1000 unless Power can make some drastic improvements both on and off the field to support his claim next season we will be pushing for promotion.

I may be wrong, but sustained or improved attendances with new applications will only be made with good results. The guaranteed of 4k will always be there, but to reach the dizzy heights of 6k in div 1, STFC are going to have to deliver something extra with managerially initiatives and player wise to convince many of the fans to part with their money.

Just my opinion LR, not negativity but based on what I see, read and hear. my guestimate for next season ST's would be 4,500
Quote LR, Yet every single year our ST numbers stay where they were or even go up like last year! Its just a shame people always focus on the negative parts and never the good parts. Why do you think fans who will be debating whether to renew or not are being negative. I fail to see it's seen as being negative to state the obvious that our situation at the moment does not inspire confidence for next season and if fans decide to pick and choose which games they might attend then surely isn't that what you already do and probably for away games you find easier to attend.. Nothing wrong in that, but having not missed a home game this season let me assure you many fans confidence in Cooper is waining and IMO it could effect their decision as to whether to renew their ST's unless changes are made, it's also not true that ST numbers are sustained regardless. 3 seasons ago after the successful DW season it went up from the hard core 4000 to about 5100, it went up again under PdC to nearly 6k, this season under the Jed reign I believed it dropped back to between 5000 and 5500 and probably would not have made that without the instalment plan initiative. As things stand it would not surprise me to see it drop another 1000 unless Power can make some drastic improvements both on and off the field to support his claim next season we will be pushing for promotion. I may be wrong, but sustained or improved attendances with new applications will only be made with good results. The guaranteed of 4k will always be there, but to reach the dizzy heights of 6k in div 1, STFC are going to have to deliver something extra with managerially initiatives and player wise to convince many of the fans to part with their money. Just my opinion LR, not negativity but based on what I see, read and hear. my guestimate for next season ST's would be 4,500 old town robin
  • Score: 3

3:43pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Billy hunt 65 says...

I am not going to pay £400 to see us pass the ball in our own half then pass it back to the goalie who boots it upfield .
We have got worse, just a bit baffled why Mr Cooper is still telling us to be patient when we are at the arse end of the season?
Really rated our Iraq international but now all he seems to do is pass it back ..
Will pick the games next season will be interesting what will be the gold category?
No faith in the manager or the chairman even Jed the shred was better than this guy ...
I am not going to pay £400 to see us pass the ball in our own half then pass it back to the goalie who boots it upfield . We have got worse, just a bit baffled why Mr Cooper is still telling us to be patient when we are at the arse end of the season? Really rated our Iraq international but now all he seems to do is pass it back .. Will pick the games next season will be interesting what will be the gold category? No faith in the manager or the chairman even Jed the shred was better than this guy ... Billy hunt 65
  • Score: 1

4:42pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Moonraker55 says...

I agree its a good article and it makes you think. I was one of the people who wanted to see Coops given a chance. I believed in his "work in progress" but in the final third of the seaon I would want to see that progress being displayed. I just don't feel it is and I think that is the reason for the negative mood. If the Town were dispatching the likes of Crawley and Crewe with ease and continued in that form, I have no doubt season tickets would sell because the belief returns, the confidence is on show and the progress undeniable. Bit its not like that and it doesn't feel like that.

I live away so a season ticket is not practicle for me. So when I visit with my daughter, I want to arrive in the knowledge the odds are on a good solid Town performance. But this season there has been just too many if's and buts and "oh dear" and "for goodness sakes" (to be polite). I understand the reluctance written in previous comments towards next year.

I don't want to lose our best players and I suppose the biggest clue to things are changing for they better is if they make public their wishes to stay.
I agree its a good article and it makes you think. I was one of the people who wanted to see Coops given a chance. I believed in his "work in progress" but in the final third of the seaon I would want to see that progress being displayed. I just don't feel it is and I think that is the reason for the negative mood. If the Town were dispatching the likes of Crawley and Crewe with ease and continued in that form, I have no doubt season tickets would sell because the belief returns, the confidence is on show and the progress undeniable. Bit its not like that and it doesn't feel like that. I live away so a season ticket is not practicle for me. So when I visit with my daughter, I want to arrive in the knowledge the odds are on a good solid Town performance. But this season there has been just too many if's and buts and "oh dear" and "for goodness sakes" (to be polite). I understand the reluctance written in previous comments towards next year. I don't want to lose our best players and I suppose the biggest clue to things are changing for they better is if they make public their wishes to stay. Moonraker55
  • Score: 2

8:50pm Thu 27 Feb 14

pricey822 says...

This week there has been much talk of the 'Swansea blue print'. I was fortunate to get tickets to the Swansea Napoli game last week. The cost of tickets to Season Ticket holders were £15! A season ticket at the Liberty is £429, for Premiership football, your seat has enough room for someone to pass you while sitting and the football goes forward.

I will be renewing my season ticket because they are my club, but please don't sell it to me as a bargain!
This week there has been much talk of the 'Swansea blue print'. I was fortunate to get tickets to the Swansea Napoli game last week. The cost of tickets to Season Ticket holders were £15! A season ticket at the Liberty is £429, for Premiership football, your seat has enough room for someone to pass you while sitting and the football goes forward. I will be renewing my season ticket because they are my club, but please don't sell it to me as a bargain! pricey822
  • Score: 2

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