A Back Pass into Last Season - a personal view.

Now County's season is at an end, I can indulge in a personal look back on the highs and lows. As an ordinary fan, not privy to any inside knowledge, I have jigsawed together my own feelings about all the changes we've seen at the club and the reasons to be cheerful when all the fun and games begins again next season. Sometimes its difficult to distil the truth from the rumours but more often that not its not worth the angst of trying. 

The big sadness going into the 2013/2014 season was our demise into the Conference North. A lot of fans (exiled or otherwise) blamed this directly on our last CEO, Ryan Mcknight; a man who deeply divided opinions and who experienced a great deal of hostility in his brief tenure at Edgeley Park. I could never believe our lowly status was all down to a few misjudgements by one man; more the result of walking a financial tightrope for many years whilst wearing a blindfold. Huge financial savings had to be implemented in every department at the Club, some of them, especially the axing of long-standing members of staff, being very unpopular with traditionalists. The Club had to move very quickly in to the real world and I understood more readily than some that for the business to survive a massive restructure had to be undertaken - that's a polite way to say staff would be directed to the exit. 

                                                  Gavin Browne of the Stockport Express

Despite the economies, there have been many glimmers of improvements in communication with the fans. It has been a long-awaited desire to receive videos of the matches much sooner than has been the case in previous seasons and this has happened courtesy of a new-look website. Thanks to Ian, who runs this blog for Help the Hatters, we have had brilliant reports of all the matches plus news and views that draw all facets of County culture together. I especially want to draw attention to the contribution Gavin Browne has made to presenting County in a positive light in the local press. I think every County fan should congratulate him for his reports in the Stockport Express. They are always well-written and judged professionally to hit the right note as far as accuracy and interest. Even though the same problems that have existed at the Club for years are still present, both Club and fans do seem to have found a way to thrash out their differences without resorting to the extremes of pitch invasions and abuse that have marred other seasons. The Supporters' Cooperative has been very instrumental in bringing a well-thought out viewpoint to the County board and confidence is growing in their ability to make a huge difference next season.

  John Fitzpatrick

Togetherness has been the buzz word this season. Seems to me 'togetherness' has always been the buzz word for Help the Hatters folk. What drew me originally to the group was the putting aside of all politics and just committing to doing whatever you could to help the Club and indirectly boosting the fans' matchday experience. Maybe we've experienced enough divisiveness and gloom and its about time we allowed a glimpse of sunlight to illuminate the future. Maintaining your committed support, despite results and circumstances, does deepen your sense of loyalty and promotes positivity at all levels. What could be more positive than helping to sponsor the career of a young player, hopefully giving County the opportunity to benefit from his developing talent in the future. We saw this when HTH became involved in the career of Rhys Turner. Although his stay at County was short, his future exploits in the game will be followed avidly by all who saw him play at Edgeley Park.

                                            Rhys Turner (right)

                                                                      Alan Lord

The reign of Alan Lord at Edgeley Park has been, in my opinion, a natural progression from his long involvement with the Club. He's a man with deep affection for County and I think he has expected the same passion and commitment from the team this season. I have rarely felt the team have lacked commitment although you can never expect a perfect performance every match - it just doesn't work like that. That's why I don't think it's necessarily fair to criticise a particular player if he has one bad match. Even the best players make horrendous mistakes - how long will it take Steven Gerrard to live down that slip!! I think fans allow a goalkeeper even fewer mistakes than the other players because he's always centre stage. Ian Ormson has come in for lots of flak this season for lapses that should have been blamed on the whole defence and not just on one element.
                                           Steven Gerrard's slip

Finally I'd like to mention the achievements of our ladies team. Thanks to the in-depth reports on the blog by our ace reporter, Ian, we have been made aware of what an excellent set of players we have, winning a league title in style and also a Cup. I'm longing for the day when we can watch our ladies play at Edgeley Park. I know there are a minority of detractors amongst County fans but they are usually shot down in flames by others who can see the potential of the ladies game. We should have moved on from seeing the game in sexist terms. Who wouldn't want to encourage the enthusiasm and skill developing in our ladies team? Let's hope it goes from strength to strength without having to face any more scathing bygone attitudes to women's participation in sport. 
                                                          Our all-conquering ladies team.

Pauline Coddington


  1. Pauline.
    I do not demur from the idea that the Club has been walking a financial tightrope for some years, but I have to say that the situation was made manifestly worse by the simultaneous sacking of James Gannon( which triggered Fitzy`s resignation from the board), and the not unrelated appointment of the C.E.O.
    The decisions made thereafter which include the appointment of a totally unsuitable manager and the obliteration of the back room staff ,weakened us further ,as we plunged ever lower in the football Pyramid.
    The C.E.O has gone now, and the upsurge in positivity around the Club is hugely welcome, but also directly related to that in my view- if JG ( less than half way through his contract term) had been allowed to continue , and the Club had joined Help the Hatters in supporting him as both Jim and H t H wanted, we would either still be in the Conference or back in the F.L.

  2. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for your comment and have to say I too was devastated when Jim Gannon was sacked and Karevich was appointed but we had been on a downward trend and losing matches before Jim's departure. I totally agree Ryan Mcknight made mistakes during last season but our main problems have long been financial ones and my point was that we could not carry on with any success in any league until those problems were addressed. Ryan Mcknight's face seemed to be the centre of the dartboard for a lot of fans this season and the personal abuse he was receiving, particularly early on, did become wearisome. I never thought he would carry on after the end of this season but he did take some much needed cost-cutting decisions whilst he was in situ and seems to have supported Alan Lord as best as the meagre playing budget would allow.

  3. I guess it`s down to whether you think that the appointment of the C.E.O. ( and the consequent sacking of James Gannon), made the subsequent cuts regime a worthwhile and necessary consequence. For myself it was just not so....in fact rather like lopping off someone`s head and then rushing to the first aid cabinet for some plasters.
    Our masters at that time just wanted James gone at any cost and the leap into the dark that this `policy' involved, and the almost total lack of intelligent thought applied , cost the Club far more than retaining long serving /valuable servants of the Club would have.


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