Date:Saturday February 23 2008
A sparse turnout of football supporters turned up at Nottingham's Council House last night to take part in a discussion on The Future Of Football. It was all part of a day of public speaking in the city centre organised by the good folk of the Speakers Corner Trust.
The audience was able to put questions to a panel of people that included former Reds manager and Vice Chairman of the League Managers Association, Frank Clark, former Chairman of Notts County Supporters Trust, Keri Usherwood, Phil French of Supporters Direct, as well as Steven Fletcher, News Editor at the Nottingham Evening Post, who Chaired the panel.
Anything and everything to do with the beautiful game was up for discussion and the evening kicked off with the issues surrounding the 39th game debacle. The unanimous verdict from everyone was unsurprisingly that it was a bad thing for the game. How clubs treat the fans and the over pricing of games was discussed, as well as the failures of the national team.
Frank Clark spoke eloquently about the ease and speed with which managers are hired and fired and said clubs were always after the quick fix in their search for success. He spoke on the game at grass roots level and said clubs should do more to develop Academies to bring on the young talent. He recognised the good work done at Forest with the youngsters and expressed surprise at how Notts County had shut the door on theirs' (although it is up and running again now).
A large part of the evening was taken up with how fans feel about the money involved in the game today and how they feel disenfranchised and not really part of things. It was a sobering thought that football in this region is in decline at the moment and there was the prediction that sooner rather than later a 'big club' will go out of business because of the debts being incurred in an effort to get to the Holy Grail of football, that is the Premier League. The FA got a good kicking, even from Frank Clark who described them as weak and said they were as much responsible for the problems in the game as anyone.
Although it only lasted less than two hours, it was an interesting experience and a welcome chance for us supporters to have our say for once. Nothing was changed or made better, but it did give people an opportunity to talk about the things that bother them from a supporters point of view. There should be more of this sort of thing.
Date:Saturday February 23 2008
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