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.

Bedtime for Democracy Part 2 @Lewes FC

The Battle of Lewes 1264 was a building block to the formation of our Parliament.

Sadly at the progressive Lewes FC we have adopted a less democratic model, more akin to that of a more dictatorial approach.

Just under a year ago two of the founders of fan owned Lewes FC had to stand for re election.

They are acknowledged as the driving force behind the club. It has been mentioned numerous times in the public domain without being refuted that they bankroll the club.

When they created the current fan owned model they promised self sustainability. Fail. Massive fail. 2015/6 accounts are dismal

They promised transparency and openness.

Let’s examine the transparency and openness, something I have argued for ages is simply a bogus claim.

So Dobres and Ramsden stood on the platform of introducing budget parity for men and women. A massive thumbs down was achieved from the fans with zero room for any other interpretation. We assumed it has been dropped then all of a sudden July 2017 it is presented as policy. A fait accompli. No fan consultation apart from a lip service meeting with a handful of volunteers two days before it was announced.

Although Lewes has 1200 members, Dobres and Ramsden are the two who members bank roll the club. Fans are aware if they are not on the Board they may cease to bank roll the club. Turkeys for Christmas and all that. These two members proposed the reforms and without consulting the fans at all it has been passed into club policy. This smacks of poor form. Very poor form.

To add to that they were elected on a 20% turnout. The inevitability of the result a possible deterrent.

It was suggested by one sensible Director the gravity of the parity issue should be voted on by the membership.

Clearly not. Of course a purist will say our constitution means they are elected and therefore are mandated to make these decisions.

Surely the fact that members of the Board are elected on such a low turnout, indeed some Board members have taken their place unopposed, would naturally mean the issue would be referred to the membership ? Surely such a tenuous democracy demands it ?

Furthermore. Last weekend I contacted a Board member asking for minutes of Board Meetings so I could reference the minutes for something I am writing. The Board legally do not have to do so but many Board’s do for the sake of transparency and openness

Disgracefully Lewes FC would not allow me access to these important minutes. I asked the Board member, who has always been helpful to me, if he could at least let me know the vote outcome on the issue. There wasn’t one

There has not been a formal vote on anything for at least 18 months. It was suggested voting may cause conflict. Things are discussed through.

Not very democratic, healthy, open or transparent. Despicable

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Bedtime for Democracy @Lewes FC

 dead-kennedys-bedtime-for-democracy-clearBedtime for Democracy at Lewes FC
Last Autumn the two benefactor’s of Lewes FC had to re stand for their respective places on the board. With a chronically low turnout they were duly re elected. A cynic may ask how democratic an election for a board for a football club is when two of the candidates bank roll that football club.
Both stood on the platform of equal pay parity at Lewes FC for men and women. I will add at this juncture, a measure I SUPPORT.
What I don’t support is that such a massive development club has gone ahead with no consultation with fans of the er…supposed ‘fan owned club’
It kicked off the liveliest debate at the club since the creation of the Community Club seven years ago, indeed this is represented by easily the longest thread and discussion on the fans forum when the idea was first mooted.
Most fans were vehemently opposed to the  idea, a few stragglers such as myself suggested good idea wrong time. One board member and a former board member suggested as all of the 1200 members of the club are eligible to vote why not have a referendum ? After we all thought as fans we counted.
Then the issue went dead and we assumed it had been dropped such was the unpopularity.
All of a sudden it is served as a fail accompli. All done, end off. Never mind your opinion here’s our initiative
This is despicable, just despicable.
We are a democratic club supposedly fan run. Two people (the money men) have decided to revolutionise the pay gap in football, a measure nobody wanted. Read the comments in the liberal Guardian article on this initiative, that you’d expect to be supportive and even here the idea is derided as a gimmick and just plain out of touch my most people. Just embarrassing
But the point is the Board are supposed to represent the wishes of the fans. Can’t always happen for many reasons. But THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for the wishes of the fans to be ignored and ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for no fan consultation on what is such a massive move for such a small club on such a massive development and principle at the club. I assume as the de facto consultation on the forum last year was opposed to the measure.
Yes my friends, Lewes FC is owned by the fans, but some fans and their wishes it would appear carry more weight.
Yes of course the usual guff will appear about the Board being elected but we all know this is a stitch up.

Palace de Boer Dyche and the Manager Conundrum

It is quite interesting reading the forum of the enemy, Brighton and Hove Albion, North Stand Chat. Utterly choked the Palace have seemingly secured the services of a high profile manager the infantile keyboard scribes see fit to ignore his playing pedigree and enormous success at Ajax and focus on his short spell at Inter Milan where he won 5 out of 14 games. After the efforts of Pardew 5 out of 14 was clearly deemed a mouth watering prospect by the club owners ! Obviously to reiterate to the Albion faithful, four Dutch titles.
Holloway, Pulis, Warnock, Pardew and Allardyce were all appointed in an atmosphere of crisis so it has been a luxury for the owners to mull over the appointment. If Dyche had been a free agent he would have been my choice but I would have been ashamed of my club if they poached a much loved manager from another club. Many Palace fans didn’t seem to equate how they would have felt if during our highly successful run under Steve Coppell how they would have felt if he had left us for slightly bigger and slightly more ambitious club and how crushing that would be.
The style preference of Frank de Boer does not suit our current style and let’s face it if he has a wildly successful tenure he’ll probably sod off to Arsenal. But we are Palace and have to face facts whils’t we now have the finances and the league to attract big management names, they will be in demand if they are successful. Pulis had a great run at Palace but ultimately when he fell out with Parish his only destination was to be a similar sized club as with Dyche so we could have done that building a settled club thing.
But the others in the running had no appeal to me and de Boer stands out as a great punt. Immediately he has lifted the profile of the club and made us a better appeal in the transfer market to augment what is already a top ten squad of players. He is clearly a great manager and just maybe he is the sort of person who would be happy building a dynasty. The Palace are sleeping giants held back by the equally loved and loathed confines of Selhurt Park. But with plans underway to seriously transform it and in Parish one of the best Chairman in football and a livelong Palace nut, just maybe it could be his bag. He has already stated one of the draws of going to Palace is the passion of the fans and maybe he is the sort of chap where contentment overrules ambition. But I am a football fan and therefore an optimist and as such Palace need to permanently monitor the lower leagues so when Frank goes we can finally get a long term fit for the club.
Ironically if I could choose any fit for a long term manager I would poach a Mr Hughton from Brighton a great manager for a club like ours and it wouldn’t half rub it into the noses of our dear friends from the south coast

What Next For The Spluttering Discredited Tories ?

The dust has settled but the forthcoming storms will agitate the Tories like the itchiest of itches. Propped up by people who believe the victims of an act rape should not ‘abort’ the result the Tories are in desperate straits. Such is their arrogance and the blasé support of the right wing press on practically everything they do they have not seen fit to bring any fresh blood through. With Corbyn teetering before the election the last couple of years has seen the emergence of Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer and Chuka Umunna, all of whom have excellent leadership credentials.

The Tories have been too lazy to bring anyone through. Rudd is very capable but with a very slim majority in Hastings likely to be booted out in the next election. As entertaining as Boris Johnson is, he lacks the political gravitas and competency and apparently the Tory high command don’t rate him and focus groups have shown he is very unpopular with many people, presumably those who feel wanting to have a pint with someone does not constitute an ability of that person to run the Government. Gove is competent, sharp but toxic and the smart money seems to be on David Davis who comes access as reasonable but lacks the gravitas and is regarded as a maverick and too much of ‘hard brexit’ supporter to unite the party. Andrea Loathsome has shown she is not a safe pair of hands. So the Tories have to stick with the formidable track record of going from being 20 points ahead in the polls to five points behind in two months doing deals with the DUP.

The Tories would normally have stabbed her by now, but standing like a rabbit in headlights with a resurgent Labour Party set to boot them out of power if they change leader and obvious replacement to May they will limp on. But as every week goes by their brand is being eaten away and the dirty deal with the DUP will see them utterly discredited when people realise the shame and desperation holding our Government together

Grenfell and Austerity, A Tale of Two Cities

The people of Grenfell didn’t want a £5 million pound handout. They wanted 1% of that £50,000 spent on upgrading the cladding from the material used that barely scraped above the low standard set by building regulations to one that would protect them.

Welcome to austerity ….penny pinching Britain. A country where in Kensington one of the richest areas under the Conservative Government, and elsewhere; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. London, a city where large expensive houses lie empty, and high rise flats, death traps, sit in close proximity. A monument to the failings of austerity and the class divide exacerbated by austerity.

There is nothing wrong with entrepreneurism and opportunity. But in order for this thinking to exist there is an engine room, the sort of people who live in high rise flats and social housing who do the leg work to make it all possible. As the rich have got richer these people have seen the value of their meagre wages dwindle in a most despicable manner. Unaware to most of us, also they have seen the safety of their homes compromised. The elected Government have the mandate to do so and I have to accept that. But never accept the denial of the right wing press that this country is fast becoming a nasty little shit hole. Doubtless the media etc will argue over the blame for years. But the de facto culprits in the Government and in local authorities know who they are and will have to live with themselves.

Surely what you must do is strike a balance. Like a car engine you can’t use shit oil and not service it properly. This is a fair analogy of austerity. Grenfell, sadly, has highlighted the massive divide in this country and what happens when you penny pinch rather  than protect. The response of the Government has shown them up for their disconnect form the vast majority of this country. A disconnect that has seen a supposed unelectable maverick Labour leader near the reins of power. He gets it and people are getting him.

The Taylor report into Hillsborough saw the biggest change ever in football where stadiums were transformed to be made safe by the introduction of all seater stadiums. Thorough change is needed but you don’t need a report to know all old high rise flats need new safe cladding and sprinkler systems installed. Immediately.  Ignore the bullshit that there is any risk in the installation of sprinkler systems. Planning regulations in this country were pretty good but the standard of the regulations only apply to new builds and not retrospectively. We must look after people in social housing in the same way that as the engine room of our economy they help look after all of us. Current standards of what is permissible in building need to be raised and then applied, retrospectively, to all social housing. We need to stop lying so much and treating people like dirt and have a fair society where a safe home is standard as it should be in any rich country such as ours.

I just hope something good can come out of this, maybe an acceptance that the class divide in this country, poor housing, schools and social care as all the vast wealth in this country is hoarded by a tiny minority is just wrong and a better social balance would benefit practically everyone.

Andrew Rawnsley and Jeremy Corbyn. A brief satire part 4….election night

All of a sudden Andrew was handed a get out of jail card. An invite to appear on the BBC Election Night coverage. Even better the other Corbyn hater Laura Kuenssberg was to appear. He’d feel at home with the other biased low grade journalist. She was so biased even her bosses had torn her off a strip.

He knew 98% of the viewers would be unaware of his petty one way vendetta with Corbyn. As Corbyn had proven Rawnsley absolutely wrong in his thoughts and opinions he hit the studio. ‘Mmmm’ he mused ‘ basically it is an extraordinary result that nobody forecast’ he told the viewer. This was true.

But Andrew had seen fit to miss out in his oratory that for two years the spiteful bile he had slung at Jeremy Corbyn has failed to stick. Corbyn was political suicide. Many people had called Corbyn finished, but they had the good grace to admit they were wrong. This was not for the unrepentant incorrect but high and mighty Rawnsley now established as a top Labour and Corbyn success denier.

Somehow Andrew had missed that actually the right wing press do not run elector’s minds and that he had totally missed the greatest change in a generation of electoral political thinking. He now changed his thoughts on how to give Corbyn no credit for his brilliantly successful campaign

Andrew Rawnsley and Jeremy Corbyn. A brief satire part 3

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To recap, the Observer Dear Leader Writer, Andrew Rawnsley had surpassed his own high levels of  bias against Jeremy Corbyn in his penultimate and final leader column in the Observer. He felt smug, if a little ashamed at his petty one way feud. Unbeknown to the writer of this low grade satire on the same Sunday before the election dear Andrew had written another column for the Guardian.

Having given Jeremy Corbyn no credit at all for re establishing the Labour Party as an electoral force with a much needed radical agenda, the pressure was mounting on him to maybe not just blame Theresa May for Labour being within spitting distance of an upset he had assured his readers previously was impossible. It would test every ounce of his pride to succumb to some back tracking. But he also knew after his recent columns if labour won he would look theb greatest foolin journalistic history, which frankly he already was. So he set about writing an article for the Guardian.

The anger rose up inside as he added towards the end,

‘Yet even his most severe critics within his party will concede that Mr Corbyn’s overall performance has been better than they dared hope for at the outset’

He cushioned his self loathing at this de facto admission with a tirade of spurious and niggly slights and put downs in his article. He hated Corbyn for forcing him to puncture his defiant stance and felt like a traitor to Uncle Blair but in essence he cleverly made the praise scathing and allowed himself a little wriggle room in his denouement commentary for the next Observer column after the election. He knew his employers were too skint to get rid of him and employ one of the many other top journalists who can take an objective view and couldn’t wait for the election to pass. Hopefully with the defeat of Corbyn so he could continue coasting as he had been doing, in fairness he reflected, for years.

Andrew Rawnsley and Jeremy Corbyn. A brief satire part 2

It had been another tough week for the Observer Dear Leader Writer, Andrew Rawnsley.
Last week, the penultimate Sunday of the campaign he had attempted and failed miserably in dodging a bullet by writing an article explaining astonishing rise of the Labour in the election as a failing on the part of Theresa May and nothing to do with the rise in the personal ratings of Jeremy Corbyn and an excellent Labour manifesto. He despised Jeremy Corbyn. He was looking like a fool having backed the wrong horse
He had crossed his fingers so many times in the last week hoping for a face saving Tory revival his finger skin was chaffing. How embarrassing. Poor Andrew had been so busy sucking up to the Blair and Tory establishment, in his damning of everything Corbyn, he has made the silliest of mistakes and left himself no wriggle room. The odd,’ maybe I could be wrong’ ‘it is unlikely but….’ are two of many phrases Andrew could not find himself to use in his numerous narrative’s about the electoral possibilities of the Corbyn leadership. Indeed as did many others on the left, but they are not the lead writers of the liberal left.
Sweating profusely he wasn’t going to give up. So for the last Sunday before the election how could he report the current political seismic shift and one of the greatest fight backs in British politics, without losing face and giving any credit to Jeremy Corbyn. He had of course with most readers already lost any credibility, but to quote someone he was fast beginning to admire, ‘he wasn’t for turning.’ He hatched a plan. What he would cunningly do was write an article describing the scenario’s of five possible electoral outcomes. Squirreled away in number five, most people give up on his tedious propaganda early on, he would say he might have got it wrong about Corbyn’s chances. Brilliant. That’ll cover me, he thought.
Poor Andrew. He knew in any other job getting it so wrong generally meant a P45. As he went to bed cuddling his Tony Blair teddy, he began plotting how to save face should the Tories either not get a majority or merely scrape back in all credibility. He mused how he was once told ‘that you sins will find you out’ and his were.
Part 3 to come…..whoop whoop !!!!
andrew20rawnsley

lidl low cost food, low grade spelling

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Last Sunday and it is to Lidl  in Sidley an area in Bexhill known locally affectionately as Shitley as er…it is a dump.
Now the duo of Aldi and Lidl, aka the low cost supermarkets, despite a limited range and some terrible products actually also stock some bloody good food, something many other supermarkets fail dismally to do.
However determined to fly the flag for discounted products they have gone over the top and clearly employed a discounted sign writing firm. There are 12 or so resplendent new signs offering their customers the luxury of complimenTORY, rather than the customary complimentary, parking. Oh dear
Or is it a conspiracy ? with the General Election a week away are they actually trying to get their customers to sub consciously vote Tory.
My sister is having fun at the moment buying the Lidl lavender plants for1.49, repotting, tying some trendy string around them and selling them on at a fiver a pot from outside her house in the posh village of Rodmell !