Harrow Fans Forum Report

Tracy sent this report to us in the early hours of this morning.

Here’s a very quick summary of tonight’s fans forum. I didn’t take notes so it’s from memory, and as I’m writing this at 1am following the event, I’m bound to have missed/forgotten certain things, but as I need some sleep and will be out in the morning, I hope this brief report suffices.

On arrival there was a rumour going around that Olly was going to be present. However when me and William (fellow comm member) mentioned this to Jim F he said that there’d been a mistake and he wasn’t attending even though it had appeared on the offish site. Doh!

In attendance were Kenny Jackett, Nick Blackburn, Clarke Carlisle and Matthew Rose, with Robert Elms hosting. Quite a low turn out but I suppose with many people having other commitments due to it being so near to Christmas time, plus the factor that we’ve had this recent poor spell in form, the 80 or so fans in attendance wasn’t too bad thinking about it. *Memo to the club* For the next one, make sure you promote and publicise it as early and as much as is possible everywhere. The internet, matchday programmes, local press and media etc.

So, sandwiched between William and Funky (from the .org board), I settled down to listen to the questions and issues which were to be raised. Robert started the evening off by reading out some questions that had been sent in by fans via email, letters etc. I can’t remember all of them but there were some good points and questions and here’s a few things to mention:

When talking about the club’s financial position, Nick told everyone how we are on course to stay within our budget for this season. Though he did admit that there isn’t a business plan as such. The board are talking to two parties at the moment who are interested in investing in the club. One has already pledged to put 150,000 into the club and will therefore be joining the board shortly. He yet again stressed that if there were other parties out there who could take the club further, and who could provide proof of funds, then none of the board would stand in the way, and would willingly participate in talks.

Kenny Jackett spoke about the team and how it is now time to forget about the VM/Luton/Cardiff games and to look to the future. He was defensive of Tommy Williams and yet when the question was asked why the management had not played him further up field in recent weeks (Kenny spoke that Tommy is the one player in our squad who can get decent crosses in) the answer was avoided. Danny Murphy was mentioned and Kenny Jackett confirmed that DM will be playing on Saturday.

Things were beginning to get a bit rowdy and at this stage Robert called an interval for 15 mins or so to give everyone a short break. David Davies appeared, and then during the break William received a call from one of the Fulham fans who is a rep on the back to the cottage group. Apparently there’s a strong rumour (though unsubstantiated at this moment in time) going around Fulham way that the Craven Cottage site has been sold for 120m. It was explained that we were in the middle of a fans forum at QPR but asked him if he wanted us to mention it to our board (well the Chairman who was present) to which his response was to please go ahead and ask the question, but to stress that it was unsubstantiated.

So we took our seats, and strangely enough the very first question following the break was about Fulham, so we decided to cut to the chase and William raised the matter of the rumour. He informed Nick on what we had heard and asked if he knew anything about it. NB looked surprised and said he had heard nothing about this and mentioned how there had been people attending the Fulham game this evening at LR and if this rumour had been doing the rounds then he would have got word about it. He then swiftly moved on.

The event progressed with a variety of questions being asked regarding on the pitch matters. The subject of Steve Palmer was brought up and the concensus from the fans seemed to be that though he was a loyal servant to the club, his place was not in midfield. Kenny insisted that experience was needed. The subject of goalkeepers was brought up with a few people there saying that they believed to have 4 goalkeepers on our books at one time was ridiculous. KJ insisted that at the time we had had 2 goalies out and required cover. Nick Culkin will be playing in goal on Saturday.

Time was getting on by this time, and with things getting a bit rowdy at the back, I thought it important to thank the panel for coming along so I put my hand up to say a couple of things. Thankfully a round of applause was given to the panel when I mentioned a little thank you to them. Then, being greedy whilst I had the mike in my hand, I asked Robert if I could ask 3 questions. I asked Clarke if he was aware of the Superman t-shirts in the clubshop which were in honour of him and if so, if he was aware of them. His reply was that he was aware, didn’t know they were in honour of him, said he was really flattered and mentioned how he wanted one now! 🙂

Matt had been previously asked about his favoured positions on the pitch earlier on in the evening, (he said centre back or sweeper) but I asked him if he would care to elaborate on the midfield thing and if he felt confident in that position (stressing at the same time that he was great by me wherever he plays!). He said that he is confident, he may run around like a headless chicken at times, but how he enjoys making runs into the box from midfield, and that he hopes this comes across and that he will always give 110% on the pitch. He earned a warm round of applause.

I also asked Nick B if he could provide clarity on the Fulham payments, specifically for cup games (earlier on he had mentioned that we get 40,000 per game). He said that the deal is worth 1m from Fulham for up to 25 games this season. (19 league games and six cup matches) which works out to the 1m. If they go over the 25 games then we will get 40,000 per extra cup game. I’ve no idea how the sums equate but I wonder if this money adequately covers for the cost of policing, stewarding, corporate facilities per Fulham game?

The forum by now was drawing to a close and the final question ended by someone questioning that if we don’t go up this year would Olly’s and Kenny Jackett’s positions be in danger? NB felt this was a slightly unfair question and would not answer it directly.

I suppose it finished around 9.45pm. All in all a highly interesting evening with both Clarke and Matthew coming across as approachable and amenable young men. They both stressed during the course of the evening that the players do care very much about the club and Matthew said that sometimes it’s more embarrassment than anything else if they come across as uncaring during/after performances that have been under par. He also confirmed how vitriolic criticism from the stands during games can affect players, particularly the young ones and said how he himself took things personally when he first joined the club and it took him probably a year to accept that some of the grumbles weren’t personal against him, just the fans way of letting him know when they weren’t happy.

Kenny I felt did well to stand his ground on a number of occasions when things got kind of heated and Nick was, to put it in a nutshell, well Nick!

My thanks to the club for putting the evening together and to the panel for attending. Oh, and I left hopelessly addicted to Matt Rose 🙂

Tracy Stent