Today Bath City Football Club issued an astonishingly strong statement about the future of manager Adie Britton.  The final paragraph reads:

For the avoidance of doubt, the Board wholeheartedly and unanimously backs Adrian and Arch, thanks them so much for the time, effort, expertise, emotion and passion they bring to the club, and has no intention at all of changing the management team whatever happens in the remainder of the season…that is a decision, not the start of the next discussion, or a precursor to a change of opinion.

Wow. Ever seen anything worded like that in any form of life, let alone in the world of football?  A breath of fresh air in a profession in which the manager usually carries the can for a run of poor results, where loyalty is a foreign word and contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.  I find it a truely admirable statement, especially given the situation Bath City currently find themselves in; rock bottom of the league with 7 points from their opening 18 games.

However, as admirable as I find the statement, I disagree with it. I think he should be sacked.*

No doubt things have been stacked against him; he lost the side’s two best players in the summer as both moved off for league football at Cheltenham, the team are punching above their weight in a league with an increasing number of full-time professional teams and the club’s attendances in the bottom three of the division, so I’ve no doubt resources are scarce.  But having said that, for a long time this season, the football played this season has been dour and negative (as it has been for much of the last two seasons, to much greater effect).  Adie has recently switched to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation, which has brought some more attacking intent and goals, but apart from the season’s solitary win against a truly piss-poor Darlington side, results haven’t really improved.  Is it all Adie’s fault? Of course not. But I think a change of manager might bring around a change in fortune, and I have expressed this opinion on twitter, and I doubt I’m alone, otherwise today’s statement wouldn’t have arrived.

But of course that’s just my opinion. Which I am entitled to. I can still support the team and criticise the manager. I don’t belive these are mutually exclusive positions. I’ve still been turning up to support the team, I pay my money, and will continue to do so, because after four years of following my local side, I’m now a loyal fan. And as such, surely it’s pretty much my duty as a fan to criticise some aspect of team, rather than sit back, accept the mindless optimism that things will get better if we simply all get behind the team. This is not a hollywood blockbuster, this is Ken Loach-inspired grim socio-realism.

*ok, maybe not sacked, perhaps his loyalty should have been rewarded with an “upstairs role”, maybe with the potentially ground-breaking new U-21 academy that was announced today in conjunction with Bath University.

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