Robert Osbourn looks at the fan scene:
You might be forgiven for thinking that football supporters are a fickle lot, ranging from the fervently optimistic to the seemingly permanently disappointed and critical, with every emotion displayed in between on a regular basis and, these days, expressed clearly on every available social media forum the modern world has to offer.
Messageboards, Facebook and Twitter are full of the exchange of opinion, critique, suggestions and speculation – some well informed and insightful, others significantly less so – but, hopefully, mainly with the background of wanting, demanding and needing success on the field and good service from the club in all areas.
Of course, the modern day football club is so much more than it was hitherto, when much could be achieved simply by a group of players turning up, with comparatively unsophisticated training inputs, playing hard on a Saturday and getting points on the board to satisfy the fans, whose football experiences were what they saw at the stadium and, maybe, what they learned from their own playing time. Today’s football fan has many more opportunities to watch football in its various forms and, in particular, to see how it is played in different leagues and different countries, as well.
Trying to translate that into what makes for success in League 2 can be quite a feat, which is why the football club uses what it believes is the right combination of players, management, training, physical development etc. Of course, no amount of effort can absolutely guarantee success, as sporting performance is governed by factors not all of which re controllable. Nevertheless, there are certain things which every fan will recognise as necessary and can articulate very well.
The focus of the club over the past couple of years has been to ensure the financial stability which is vital to enable other things to happen and the phrase “moving forward” has been much used and is demonstrated by the smartening of the stadium and, in particular, the extensions and improvements to backstage areas and hospitality suites.
The introduction by the club and the fans trust, jointly, of the Fans Charter at the start of the season, represents a statement of what we believe should be a legitimate expectation for someone who is new to football following and who we would like to encourage to continue coming and bringing their family along to. When the Charter was launched, there were those who thought it would seek to stifle comment and criticism or to be used as a tool to enable the club to weed out and ban those against whom it had an issue.
Hopefully, time is showing this to be a false assumption and that the way in which incidents have been dealt with shows this to be the case. Having said that, there will always be those who push things too far and they must not be allowed to spoil things for the majority or to bring the club to the attention of those who can deal out punitive sanctions.
CFU is working with the club on a number of the things which we both feel will be important to feed success both on and off the field in the coming months and years, including the redevelopment plans, improving the experience for fans at the Abbey, in terms of its service to them – in the tea bars, ticketing, toilets, welcome and all aspects.
It is often said that the CUFC fans support is some of the best in the country, particularly on the road, and it is, believe me. Players really value that and respond to it.
Onwards and upwards: COYUs!
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