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.
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.
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)
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.