This is a piece I really, really didn’t want to write. I’ve deliberately held off on writing it in the hope that Blues would publish some form of update of the works to the stands, but at the time of writing there has been still no official announcement made.
The lack of anything official has left fans to piece together clues from other sources; Derby County being allocated only 1,000 tickets has led many fans to believe the worst while Troy Deeney’s mention of asbestos in his interview with Talksport has only ratcheted up concerns of just how long this is going to take.
I’m not going to get into the wherefores of when things will be open; I don’t have enough information to be able to say anything with any certainty and I think it’s irresponsible for me to write something based on hearsay from “workmen” or similar.
I’m still waiting for a response from the council to my FOI request and until I receive that I’d rather wait to write about the works needed.
However, what I do want to point the finger at is the sheer lack of communication from the club about this situation.
There was a hope when former CEO Ren Xuandong resigned that things behind the scenes at the club, would improve, yet despite some promising beginnings we’re now left in the current situation.
Take the mention of asbestos for example.
I’d heard from someone who attended the fans forum on August 3 that there was mention of a possibility of asbestos causing complications; however because the club didn’t include it in the official minutes of the meeting I thought that it would irresponsible to include that in anything I wrote.
While I understand the club wanted to avoid controversy as much as possible, if something was known back then about asbestos they should have mentioned it. It might have been short term pain as people complained about it but reasonable people would understand the issues the club has to face and would be more accepting of delays.
Likewise, while I’m not generally a proponent of making statements when there isn’t much to say, in this situation I think it’s important to at least give some sort of timeline when things are likely to happen.
An example “We have a meeting with contractors / council / whoever on x date and we’ll know more after that” … and then importantly, updating people AFTER that meeting to say “we know this now / we know that now / there are still uncertainties but we hope to know more by x date”.
Again, I understand that maybe the club doesn’t want to go into specifics but even a sense of timeline of events is reassuring that things are happening and a resolution is coming.
Instead, all we’ve been given is increasingly hagiographic coverage of the signing of Troy Deeney.
I get that fans are excited about seeing him play, but maybe the club should consider that fans actually want to see him play in their paid-for season tickets seats in the ground. It shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?
Ironically, the signing of Deeney could be a spark the club needs. It’s clear that Deeney doesn’t brook much bullshit and that he speaks his mind – and it might be that Deeney is the voice that speaks truth to power within the club.
If Deeney can rattle the right cages, that might be worth more than any goals he can score for the club.
ps shout out to Number 8 on SHA for reminding me what a fabulous word hagiography is.