Is This Why England Are So Crap In Football Tournaments ?


Found this interesting article in the Guardian last week, as Gareth Southgate, a man I personally loathe for walking out on the Palace in the early 90’s, announced the England squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Nobody has ever come up with a reasonable explanation for our consistent hopelessness in international tournaments. But this article maybe gives a slight partial explanation.

Joe Hart should never get near an England shirt again and should consider himself fortunate to have represented his country so many times with such inconsistency and at times dire performances. Jack Wilshere has no way played his way into the squad with, at times, mere mediocrity being the result of his efforts.

But they think otherwise according to the article……

Hart ‘I know what I bring to the team, but it is what it is

Wilshere  ‘I’ve felt fit, sharp and strong all season and believe I should be in the squad!

The sheer arrogance and sense of entitlement is awesome. Have all England players in recent decades had this attitude ? A decided lack of hunger, baffling deluded selfishness and humility are not the qualities needed to win and perform as a team. Review the dire performances through the years and yes, the England team has been made up of players largely consisted of massive egos, pay packets and an institutionalised pecking order. I have always argued, before I lost interest in the England team, that it should be made up of the cream of the Championship and top Premiership talent, the Championship players to keep the Premiership egos grounded, our traditional scrapping and back bone inherent in them augmented by some top flight skill would surely put us in with a shout?

So it is not only encouraging to see Southgate’s selection and I hope, although not a great manager by any margin, he has set a new mark for criteria which is based on player’s with a will to win rather than player’s who feel they deserve to be playing believing their on hype. It is now time we acknowledge that chucking the best 11 players out for the customary fail is a bust flush and we try a new way. So good on Southgate for maybe trying something new. Now all we need is a manager who has a trackj record of winning something !


FFS Murray and how Crystal Palace Blew £100m Selling Him.

  Glenn Murray, he was the enigmatic ‘gift that kept giving’.
Arch rivals to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Hove Albion decided in their
ultimate wisdom to sell their striker Glenn Murray to the Palace. Well
in truth, to add insult to injury, gave him away on a free transfer.
Within 2 years, once settled, he had popped in 30 goals in a season for
Crystal Palace and single handedly got us promoted. Virtually neck and
neck that season nobody doubts had he stayed at the Albion it would be
they who got promoted. An almost comedic turn in reciprocating  this
utter stupidity was then actioned by the Palace and he has ended back at
Brighton deemed not good enough at the Palace to the horror of most fans
but banging them in down at the Amex. Below I give my interpretation of
the dire financial ramifications of the darkest day in the history of
Palace transfers, in my mind, eclipsing the sale of Ian Wright who
unlike Murray wanted to go.
A cautionary tale on the grotesque sums of money swirling around in
football where Brighton and Hove Albion can build an outstanding stadium
for £93m and Palace can inadvertently blow a similar sum flogging on one
of their ex players.
To cut a long story short Palace went up via the play off’s during which
against….you guessed it, Brighton, Glenn Murray picked up a serious knee
injury. Missing the start of the new season in the Premiership with the
injury was tough for Murray but he is a man blessed with a calculated
and steely resolve under his almost laid back persona. By the time he
was fit again, although he showed signs that the touch was still about
him, the next season he was packed off to Reading. Here he regained his
touch and confidence and he came back to the Palace where in a short
spell he showed he still had it banging in 7 goals in 17 appearances,
not bad for someone in his first proper stint in the top flight, the
various rating criteria in the game putting him up there with the best
in the Premiership. Today he is still up there with the best and above
Murray is someone who like Vardy has worked his way up the league’s and
suffers from that stupid ignorance in football that strikers will
struggle moving up a league. Murray not for the first time had shown not
only that he was good enough but with a whole season in  front of him he
could put his injury behind him and show everyone just how good he is.
Many of us couldn’t wait until 2015 /16,  20 goals ? England call up? No
he was sold for an insulting £4 million pounds, that only today, 2 years
later Steve Parish admits was a huge mistake. Parish has a habit that
many Palace fans fall for of admitting to mistakes as it is considered
humility and he gets a pardon for his sins on the club forums. Cunning
But not so cunning, of course. Glenn Murray in now back at Brighton in
the Premiership banging goals in showing what most Palace fans knew he
could do, that he has still got it in abundance. He is now Brighton’s
gift that keeps giving.
Parish has seen fit to say sorry but as usual blame everyone else. But
is that fair ? Cue predictable answer.
Season 2015/6 saw Alan Pardew not only save Palace from relegation but
take us up to tenth. He had credit in the ‘ideas’ bank. He didn’t want
an old fashioned centre forward like Murray but wanted to start playing
more ‘sexy’ football. Parish alludes to the fact this was a Pardew and
his entourage decision. But the start of 2017/8 season saw Parish do the
same thing in the disastrous appointment of de Boer. Both Pardew and
Parish are vain and both were caught in a melee of arrogant self belief,
self confidence and self importance that was ill founded on the back of
a relatively successful season and amazingly thought they start
reinventing football and the culture, ethos and DNA of what makes Palace
such a feisty and loved club. Buggering it all up in other words.
So  Glenn was shipped off, ruthlessly to Bournemouth briefly, before
returning to the South Coast Sussex. But the Palace lacked a consistent
striker having of course just sold a brilliant one and in August 2016
splashed out £27 m on Benteke, factor in his higher wages that Murray
who is equally as good and that is £30m wasted. I’d argue season 2015/6
Glenn Murray would have been a top scorer and we would not need to spend
so freely on someone no more than equally equipped
With the Pardew ‘experiment’ failing Sam Allardyce was signed up.
Relegation was looming and in a desperate transfer window Allardyce
splashed out £40m to bolster the team, which worked. Of  course had we
had a decent back up striker to augment the Benteke haul we would have
been in mid table safety and no need to spend in such a care free but
desperate manner.
This season, a desperate start. Murray is banging them in for Brighton
and the Palace setting new records for scoring no goals we opt to shore
up the defence and splash out £30m on Sakho. Had Murray still been with
us and we had scored goals would that have been necessary ?
So £100m maybe wasted. That is before you factor in the massive
contracts these new guys pulled in to steady the sinking ship Relegation
are on and the enormous financial hit if we get relegated which if
Murray was at Selhurst still wouldn’t be a threat.
Of course, all clubs make catastrophic decisions but somehow this was so
stupid. A mistake a club with our resources can ill afford. The irony is
we desperately need to invest in Selhurst or a new stadium. Cost of AMEX
£93m. The worst thing is that for a couple of years we were able to cock
a  snook at the Albion at their horrific mistake, as a Palace fan I
can’t tell you how enjoyable that was and something an Albion fan can
now do in return. That really is sickening.
What is interesting though is the rising stakes of Premiership
membership, you can see why Chairmen get so jittery because one mistake
and you get ruthlessly punished. Who can doubt that if Palace had held
onto Murray we would not be in this permanent cycle of white knuckle
season’s. Is Parish up to it ? No No No. He was vitually flawless as a
Championship Chairman but in the white heat of the Premiership with
financial and media override he has flunked it. What he has going for
him is that although he is a vain twat, he is proper Palace and our vain
twat and he genuinely tries but is sadly out of his depth.  Screwing up
is a Palace etiquette so we’re not bothered.

I am….The ghost of Lewes FC (part 1)

The ghost of Lewes FC part 1

I understand why some people at the club maybe wish I was dead and a ghost. I am not and for now will be imaginary one.

So I am going to build on my  Dickensian Christmas Carol theme.

I am a the ghost. I am going on a tour of various places to show the new and old Board members how I think we can improve. Learning from the past, other people, previous mistakes etc, the present and the future. Most of the themes in the past are of course linked to the future etc etc

In my last blog I took the Board down to the Lewes FC Quiz. I wanted to show them we already have a magnificent community event. A proper community club grows on the back of engaging the community. Not on ‘game changers’ ‘smart ideas’ etc. It is a task of gradually growing a proper community. We need to build our community club in the customary way, not with the underwhelming mooted ‘smart ideas.’

Today I am taking the Board to the away day Bank Holiday fixture at Hastings. A nice day. Slightly worse for wear,  as Chris FM took us the long route as we as our intake of lager fermented inside and we cooked. But in the magnificent Pilot Field the atmosphere was lovely. Many groups of families, lots of children, lots of women, a real diversity of ages and people. I then take the Board to the Philcox stand Lewes FC 20/10/17.  A historical day as we bagged 8 goals. But the make up of the crowd couldn’t be more different. We noted in the stand a predominant aged 30-50 male audience. Of about 250 fans there were no more than a dozen women and I cannot recollect and children.

The diversity of supporter couldn’t be more different.

The Hastings audience as I remarked to Chris was EXACTLY what the crowds were like under Martin Elliott. A community club in feel.

Currently the fan make up at Lewes FC couldn’t be further removed from the diverse make up under the stewardship of Martin Elliott.

The Board need to recognize this awful drift to an almost elitist make up.

The Board need to recognize also you will pick up more volunteers from a Hastings support base than a Lewes supporters base.

This is how community clubs are formed properly. I depart and leave the board to muse

The Lewes FC Quiz and Getting Back to Basics

Speaking to a Board member at the weekend, I get the impression there is a reluctant agreement that the club has lost the town and indeed the fans. We have failed to bring the town and community to the party. Criminally.

The impact of seven years of failed ‘game changers’ at the expense of engaging with the fans, community and town is pretty much now acknowledged.

You know when Scrooge was taken by a ghost with to the house of Bob Cratchett and Tiny Tim on Christmas Eve and he glared in the window at the loving family, the glow of the fire, of happiness, camaraderie the sort of thing that makes a unit work.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t the Board go down to the Dripping Pan on quiz night, peer in through the glass, and they’ll see the same thing. A packed lively happy bunch of people having a great time.

Nick and the people who put this on just couldn’t make it an better which is why it packs out. Challenging questions, fun, banter, competition etc. David, Duncan and the lovely tall lad behind the bar. It is everything we should be doing in a nutshell. Welcome to community.

It’s not like the joyless match days with the reluctant bar staff it is enormous fun.

We do nothing else like this.

I have argued our club, because of who we are, should excel at this sort of community stuff. This is how you build community clubs. Not national media coverage blah blah blah, but er….engaging the community.

The quiz is an example of how our club can and does work. Let’s drop the game changers and get back to basics.

I really hope the new Board members don’t get sucked into the culture of inertia and business gobbledegook but start working out how we can build and expand on quiz night and the principle that if the club love the fans and get them involved more, the fans will reciprocate. That is after all a PROVEN chemistrylewesfc_logo_b

The County Town of East Sussex is Lewes not Equality

The new Board members at Lewes FC will have the unenviable job of dealing with the aftermath of the failed budget parity venture.

Even if a magic wand musters up the donations to cover it, which  it won’t, it has already failed.

I understand we were bullishly hoping to divvy out 8 three year investment opportunities @ £10,000 a pop. So far one business has expressed an interest.

Equality FC = Joke

The whole principle is flawed with the men and ladies squad paid supposedly the same, the ladies playing less games means they are paid more per game than the men. The spin from up top on this is incredibly incredulous. The facts are facts. There is not a proper parity of budget.

With the massive success of the fanzine Plan B blueprint, thanks for all the lovely feedback, the candidates for the current Board elections are all saying the club needs to mend the disconnect between the club and Equality….whoops Lewes. Yes folks what better way to turn local people off than to twist away the very name of our beloved club for a bloody marketing gimmick. Equality FC

The Board, who are supposed to represent the fans, went entirely against the wishes of the fans and voted this joke in unanimously. Words escape me at the contempt I feel for their arrogance and lack of due process that we were promised at the start of the community venture. How can you preach community principles and dump on them without so much as a public recognition and apology for your mistake. You expect the savvy town of Lewes to buy that ? Your town of Equality you seem to want so much to get involved with may buy it. The Board really don’t get it.

Especially as it turns out we have been shafted anyway by the FA who want to upgrade the teams at the top of ladies football with ‘names’ despicably cleansing the minnows in time from the upper reaches of the game. Don’t be fooled by the spin. We have been shafted and the Board knew that this was a possible scenario. A Board member told me they knew it was a risk.

It is an unmitigated disgrace this risk was taken and approved by the whole Board. We are dependent on donations. Now even more so….another 75k p/a. With perilous finances you NEVER NEVER take punts on a hunch. It is a gamble. Unacceptable.

September 2017 @Equality FC….sorry Lewes FC female representation on the Board 4/10 members

October 2017 female representation on the Board 1/10 at Equality FC. Just saying

What a travesty and embarrassment. Three months into the Equality FC venture and the ladies representation on the Board has already collapsed.

The new members on the Board need to stand strong and clear this mess up and deliver the club to the town of Lewes and give up this line of ‘game changers’ that have been anything but and build a proper fan based club. We have a clean slate with new members and  a re elected member who was opposed to much of what has happened and if we continue to waste the brilliant work of Darren Freeman  it’ll be nothing short of gross incompetency and commercial suicide.

The NEW Lewes FC Community UN elected Board. Challenge and Settlement

I sincerely hope the new members of the Board at Lewes FC can facilitate a new settlement with regards to the relationship between the club owners, democracy, transparency and fan involvement at Lewes FC. Not just the customary lip service.

At the moment Lewes FC is having the annual election for the Board. The aborted election.

Six candidates have stood for five positions. In that we had six candidates for what is a thankless task, the governance of our club,  shows them rightly in a fantastic light. Mind you, it is of course an honour to serve on the Board of Lewes FC but amazing such talented people are willing to make a huge sanity sacrifice and pitch in. Thank you

At the fanzine however, we have hammered away at the lack of transparency by the Lewes FC Board. The outrageous and despicable lack of consultation with the club owners over Budget Parity was a gross act of democratic vandalism.

I would argue now not such an act can or should be morally possible. Of course, the Board could argue then, we are elected so we make the decisions. As in effect they did with Budget Parity steam rolling the wishes of the club owners.

But now this is no longer the case.

The majority of the Board are now un elected. Yes we now have a ‘democratically un elected Board’

That’s right folks 6 of the 9 or 10 Board members are un elected having in effect received ‘byes’

As Issi would say. Why is this ? Six candidates stood for 5 positions deeming an election necessary. All produced good addresses. Issi Doyle broke rank with the best address by far, by asking totally pertinent but uncomfortable questions. Sadly in a series of cryptic posts on the fans forum Issi withdrew her candidature. This meant with five seats on the Board available and five candidates the candidates immediately became Board members with the election unnecessary. As was the case with John Peel two years ago. At the same time club stalwart and grandee Jacquie Agnew sadly resigned reducing the Board to 9 members, possibly temporarily. Factor in two of existing board members bank roll the club and one assumes their position on the Board unassailable and six un elected it makes very undemocratic reading. Maybe the most undemocratic un elected elected Board ever !!!

This is of course not the fault of those new members of the Board but our stupid constitution.

The fact remains we now find ourselves governed by an un elected Board which is unhealthy.

The Board absolutely no longer have a moral mandate to do what they did with budget parity as long as the situation remains that the Board are un elected. In fact they no longer have anything other than a de  facto mandate. That is a fact. They must acknowledge this and act accordingly.

We were promised transparency and democracy at the inception of Lewes CFC and I expect it to now…at long last and not before time… to be delivered, and I expect the fresh blood on the Board to buck the failings of the past.

To the Board. You are now elected by default and now have a moral obligation to offset this default by opening up and being more open and democratic. Nobody cares that you are in effect un elected, that is our constitution, but with this new unwanted status there has to come a new settlement.

The Challenge

I am going to send all board members a list of questions that I know the owners of the club will want answers to and I will publish the questions in the next fanzine. In the issue after that I will publish the answers and you the reader and fan can be the judge of the new settlement of democracy and transparency at Lewes FC. I cannot be fairer than that. I am not going into a rant of the failings of the past. And don’t want to hear that crap that the AGM and forums can shed proper light on many problems and issues properly. I have found some Board members very helpful but ultimately little is ever given away.

We have a new settlement so let’s move up a gear as part of the process of challenging and beating the disconnect between the fans and the town of Lewes. Thankfully an issue most at the club now recognise as a problem so open up a TRULY open and transparent settlement with the fans make us feel part of the club as originally promised.

Good luck to the new Board members and again thank you for your generous commitment to the club. Please please do as you say you will in your addresses. Questionlewesfc_logo_b and ignore the ‘fluff’ and other reasons why we cannot be 100% transparent that will be thrown your way.


How the Minnows of Ladies Football are being Trashed by the FA

The restructuring of the ladies game revealed this week by the FA is such a savage indictment of the Board of Lewes FC and their competency it is untrue. Shame forum poster Hammerook was ignored on the issue during the process of trashing the democracy at our club.

October 15th 2016. Hammerook a level headed and sensible poster on this forum said basically we should wait and see what happens with the FA restructuring for 2018,  just announced this week.

Come in Hammerook.

‘I’ve felt for a while that while the goal of WSL is a nice one to have i do wonder if its a tad beyond or level and if we should wait to see what the FA throw at us in 2018. It’s not beyond the FA to somehow make it difficult for clubs like Lewes to get promoted especially when you have a number of so called big name clubs with ladies teams at our level and below.’
Read more:

With hindsight Hammerook is bang on. Hammerook who did not need the benefit of hindsight.

Had the Board taken this advice they may have avoided the humiliation of Budget Parity. Because they have called this so wrong.

I have been looking into this in the last few days with interest and latterly with absolute horror.

I presume an enormous amount of time, energy, thought and process went into parity.

If so why were alarm bells not raised over the despicable enforced relegation of the iconic Doncaster Belles in 2014 from the ladies top division. No team was relegated or promoted between the top two divisions that season. The Belles though were forced out by Man City who finished that year 4th in the equivalent of the second division.

I quote from The Indeendent

‘’When inviting applications from franchises for a reorganised Women’s Super League for the 2014 summer season, the FA had four criteria: financial management, commercial sustainability, facilities, plus player and youth development. Manchester City met them, the Belles did not.’’

That’s right folks through parity we, big Lewes FC are going to buck the system, we are taking on the big guns of the FA who are basically rebranding the ladies game to cleanse it of the minnows, cleansing it of the basic principle of sporting achievement being rewarded, by selling places at the top table. Hilariously / unashamebly they have said the top division will be 8-14 clubs as they are unsure how many clubs will stump up the admission fee to join the party. What a joke.

Evidenced further by the Yeovil Ladies who are in the top flight and despite heroic efforts to take their seat at the top table are now told they need to find £350,000 a year extra to join.

Clear as day the FA are trying to encourage and give a massive leg up to the giants of the game as part of the rebranding and commercialisation of the ladies game.

Why did the Board of Lewes FC not see this coming. Charlie Dobres said on Woman’s Hour parity was not a quick fix and the affects may take ten years. In your dreams. Chuck all the money you want at the Lewes Ladies they are not wanted by the FA.

The Ladies game is heading into an orgy of licences and criteria to popularise the game and we just don’t fit.

I assume the Board knew this. So why budget parity ?

Were they just dumb and did not do their homework ?

Was it just, as most suspect, a gimmick at the expense of the basic principles of fan ownership ?

Were they ambushed by this announcement ? This is  the get out of ineptness card but cuts no ice with announcing parity three months before a major overhaul of the game.

If  anyone reading this seriously thinks, as I originally did, budget parity is going to be some great boost for the club forget it. For a few years we may dine out close to the top table but it will be a battle we are going to lose and we should have not embarked on. It is throwing good money after bad.

I have always supported the principle of parity, if democratically agreed and phased in.

I now believe it to be a pointless exercise and a waste of, fortunately, someone else’s money.

PS I trust, if we are still in  negotiations with possible sponsors, they are made aware of the fact they are sponsoring a totally doomed venture.

The 77 Day Frank de Boer War


Steve Parish ordered a bottle of de Beer, but once he looked at it he bottled it, couldn’t stomach it and poured it away. Hmmmm, he mused, that was an expensive drink.

What has angered me the most about the despicable treatment if Frank de Boer, is the disgusting way the excuses and spin coming from the club  indicate it was the fault of Frank de Boer. This was an industrial disaster entirely the fault of the hapless Steve Parish.

After a tenure of fire fighting, through the continued gross mismanagement of Crystal Palace, Parish took the view it was time to stop this cycle and stamp his authority on the Palace. Swinging like Tarzan through the trees Parish has grasped for and plumped for a predictable galaxy of manager’s pretty well suited to the Palace, our rise in stature from TV revenue has made us an attractive proposition. But nobody sticks at it. Pardew did but Parish failed to manage the manager. Pardew is talented but erratic and needed taming. Parish watched on seemingly oblivious to a car crash of his making that could have been avoided. His man management is appalling.

So it was a surprise, but a welcome one, that our chairman grew some balls in an attempt to force positive change at Selhurst Park. Failing at the first hurdle as we start another season in a bloody mess of Parish’s lily livered ineptitude. Appointing a young manager of pedigree was amazing and a brave act. One that needed backing up and supporting. A decision that would bring about a new would involve enormous change and upheaval.  Well if anyone thought this was not going to be the case, they were enormously stupid. Sadly, as appears to be the case, they are.

I’m sorry but all the faults the mates of Parish are spinning in the press of criticisms of de Boer leave me cold, because I just think of each and every one of the dim witted excuses and think, well yes sure that happened, but that is what happens when you sign up for upheaval. Oh the players didn’t like him….he’s the manager tough, change was too fast….manage him accordingly which in  fairness was done with Burnley, a remit by ALL accounts he acquitted with success, as a top manager does. He has had the gall to kick a ball on the training pitch and the players have gone running to Parish crying and Uncle Steve has said don’t worry children I’ll get rid of him. He was difficult to get on with….ah you stupid morons, what like Sir Alex ? A good manager needs balls of steel. As does a chairman. He didn’t get the club….no he was asked to change it. The most effective managers are disliked managers Etcetera etc etc.

Anyway I am just pleased all the crap from the Palace hierarchy has been received by the world of football and most importantly Palace fans with contempt it deserves.

Palace are a popular club in football and that is because we are a great club, the club of ‘bouncebackability’ tenacity, balls and values. Our brilliant brand has been sorely dented by the gross mismanagement of Parish who is clearly not capable of steering the club safely.                Ron Noades, love or loathe him, temporarily brought enormous success to the Palace on a  shoestring with shrewdness. Make no mistake the reign of Parish the Great is built on luck and TV revenue. His attempt at creating a long term legacy has lasted 4 games and we continue our run of Premiership status on the most dodgy of foundations.

This is the time when we must redevelop Selhurst or move if we are to develop as a club taking advantage not just of the enormous catchment area but somehow the Home Counties where there exists massive support for the Palace. At loggerheads with Sainsbury, local residents etc and no plan b Parish instead spends enormous quantities of money  on players plastering over the dysfunctional monster he presides over but cannot master. We have a Chairman incapable of taking that step up from Premiership mediocrity in a run down stadium as the enemy on the south coast show us how to run a football club. Surely the greatest and most savage indictment of Parish and Co is being overtaken by Brighton, a club we should and could eclipse in every area.

The hiring and quick sacking of Frank do Boer, someone who could start to help end the Palace cycle of mediocrity, shows what many of us have thought for a while now. Steve Parish is out of his depth and all of his big mates in the press and Palace family saying otherwise is contrary to the facts.

Match Day Posters. Will This Do ?

Thought I’d stick the Clash in as they have featured in our posters, bit random I know burt it is funny as they look like New Romantics !

The Lewes FC match day posters are well known in football circles and excellent they are too. Using iconic cultural images to promote games and identify the club with is smart. Living in the High Street I have each one in my window.

But actually it is a sign of the times at Lewes FC.

Many people are tiring of the spin, the clever initiatives (very clever they are too),  budget parity, 3g, possible ground development, possible new branding options and associates (not the band) and just want to get back to basics.

We have a fanzine out on Saturday. It will not go down well in many quarters.

We will be doing fanzine’s monthly as we believe, and many other people are coming round to our view, Lewes FC simply isn’t working.

Did you know the sugar daddies put more money into the club  2015/16 than the actual first team budget ? FFS we were told we would be self sustained within three years seven years on nowhere near.

I mention posters as a starter so we can highlight where we feel the club has been taken in a wrong direction away from being community based to an unworkable and unfathomable business model that has failed. We will be throwing out a fresh approach to how we can work within Lewes within our means.

So as I stick another poster up do you remember this ?

Rather than swank around our new posters around the national press etc what happened before the community club was formed ? Someone came up with an idea for our old boring posters. Establish a network of fans in outlying towns and villages happy to distribute posters around their local shops clubs etc. What a brilliant form of free advertising and a way of bringing the club together and establishing networks outside of Lewes and building that fan base up. The forum was bursting with people from dozens of outreaching parts to help. I can’t remember if this ever happened in the end, it was when the club was in meltdown. But we must be doing simple things like this rather than court a new soft drinks branding initiative. The focus of the Lewes FC Board is plain wrong.

This is how our club should be run. Not all this slick crap we are fed that has ultimately failed but by utilising the fans into building it.

Lewes FC rather than chewing the fat over how to increase sponsorship etc needs to get back to engaging fans into building the club. Of course it needs dozens of new initiatives like the above. But there are dozens out there and old ones long forgotten.

The board needs to reconnect with the fans after their ham fisted handling of parity and the fanzine will hope over the next issues to contribute ideas so people and fans can cothe-clashnsider how things are. Will this do ?

A Fresh Approach at Lewes FC

lewesfc_logo_bLewes FC is beginning to take on the look of a failed football experiment.

We have all supported the theory of building a self sustained football club by our continued attendance and support, this has clearly been taken for granted.

In tatters lies the original promise of three years until being self sustained. Extended to five, still nowhere near and continues to be far away on the horizon. The openness and transparency appears to be mere lip service. Democracy? well the budget parity bludgeoning of the fans views says it all. Need I say the farcical decline in the first team performances until Darren came in.


People forget the idea of our current model was to learn from the errors of the Elliott years but nothing has been learnt or changed. On the face of it maybe, but the 2015/6 accounts and the recent parity debacle say otherwise. And yes, parity has been an unmitigated disaster. The club may get the sponsors and I hope they do, but getting them or not is irrelevant. The shoddy way it has been achieved has ruined for many brand Lewes FC Community Club. We are now clearly reliant on two sugar daddies on the Board whose commitment and hard work for the club is not in doubt, but whose vision of achieving it lies in tatters. Parity has backfired. As seemingly does the ‘build it and they will come’ approach which was never despite the blind faith put in the idea was never going to work at a non league football club.


The development of Lewes FC should have been driven by the success of the first team. This done properly should bring in financial security and investment in a high profile non league club with a brilliant fan base. Instead year after year focus is concentrated building the infrastructure as the off field running costs accelerate away from the club income.


The percentage of club turnover going to Darren Freeman is shockingly low and the percentage of club turnover going on back room and admin shockingly high. At this point spare me the crap spouted about lack of volunteers. Few places in this country have a better volunteer culture than Lewes as Bonfire shows yet the Board are haplessly either incapable of harnessing this raw material or it does not fit into their vision of how to run a club. The income from catering is disgrace. I know marque Lewes businesses never even approached for sponsorship yet we are told streams for more sponsorship have dried up. Rubbish. Er try getting out and finding it. That is how non league grass roots football works. Not through slick marketing, talking about it and number crunching but through the traditional rolling up of the sleeves and ‘engaging’ with the business community.


So much of what the current set up has achieved off the pitch has been brilliant. But ultimately on too many of the core aims it has failed and the club and vision has now not so much run off course but hit the rocks.


Enormous change is needed at the club and sadly I sense no appetite from many on the Board for this. My deepest sympathies go to Darren Freeman. His squad per game are now paid 40%, I believe, less than the ladies an oversight perhaps in the formation of Equality FC. Don’t tell me, in this crucial season where Darren needs all the support he can get, the focus of the Board has been on him and not the launching a national gender equality initiative. I accept of course Stuart and Barry are as focused as ever as they work closely with Darren, but as a collective body ?


Sorry I don’t buy it. Too many football clubs have been taken over by smart men with great credentials and buggered it up. Too much faith has been placed in the adventures of the current set up.  Business and football do not mix and we are beginning to see the venture hit the rocks and at last many people involved with the club are waking up and smelling the coffee. I hope there is now a realization at Board level that things need to change.


This great sprawl of an entity needs to get back to basics and needs a fresh approach. A random well meaning national initiative is not going to build Lewes FC into the club it should be. Charlie Dobres has said we need to be ‘smart.’ Is this smart ? No, it is a failed vision.


Smart is recognising when to change course. Smart is learning from mistakes. Smart is tapping into the volunteer culture the town is famous for and building our club around that. Building a legacy that will span generations not short term initiatives that turn people off. Lewes FC needs to aim to be self sustained and volunteer run. It needs to not have swish ambitions but to set goals year by year harnessing the amazing talents of those currently involved and those who will become involved if, as is the custom, the fans actually feel this is their club and not some footballing experiment.