MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Why can't you be friends?
11:40am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Sport
AN interesting few days on the Newport County beat, as ever, where a previous career as either a divorce mediator, a horticulturist or meteorologist would have come in very handy indeed.
A shame, really, with such a thrilling conclusion to the campaign ready to unfold, that I’ve spent most of the past 48 hours discussing boardroom politics – the club versus the Friends of Newport supporters’ group and/or the ongoing and ridiculous saga surrounding the Exiles’ trip to Gateshead.
Let’s take the two issues one at a time and I’ll try to present the case for both sides in both matters.
Firstly, the Friends of Newport County situation, whereby I feel the club have failed to cover themselves in glory and, indeed, have actually come across as somewhat petty.
The Exiles were absolutely RIGHT to call a meeting of supporters’ groups to clarify the arrangements for the ten-year permanent switch to Rodney Parade and the transparency they showed in sharing details of that meeting is admirable.
However, the dig at the FofNC group – and we must make a distinction between that fundraising arm and Matt Southall’s proposed consortium takeover, they aren’t the same thing, end of story – over the money owed from the Wrexham game smacked of point scoring.
For a start, it’s inaccurate to suggest selling sponsorship elsewhere would have garnered £5,000. The hospitality area wasn’t sold out and it would have reflected better on the board to keep their candour and discuss the matter directly with the protagonists.
I welcome the general tone of the response from the supporter group – their full statement is on our website – and especially like the promise to meet with County chief executive Dave Boddy in the near future.
Generally speaking, this needs to be the first step towards a full reconciliation between the current board and prominent County fans such as Rob Santwris and, of course, Acorn supremo Matt Southall, who are very much on the outside looking in.
There can be little doubt that in the long term the ideal scenario for County is boardroom involvement from the present incumbents – a millionaire (Les Scadding) and an expert in building and the driving force behind the move to Rodney Parade, (Howard Greenhaf) AND other investors. In the simplest terms, personality differences and personal grudges need to left in the past.
You can be eternally grateful to Howard and Les and believe they’d be better served with more help.
Similarly, I don’t think the Gateshead saga is entirely black and white either and, in a way, I feel a sense of sorrow for Gateshead.
They’d love to host games, but they can’t on a not-fit-for-purpose, council-owned pitch.
If anyone can empathise with that, it should be Newport County AFC.
However, the fact is the situation has become farcical and not even the staunchest Gateshead supporter could disagree that their communication on the matter has been far less than stellar.
It leaves Newport with a disadvantage in the title run-in and while no-one can be blamed for the weather, I understand (some) County supporters’ degree of anger at Gateshead.
The situation needs to be resolved this week for everyone’s sanity to remain intact and hopefully we can all then move on.
Imagine if that problem is put to bed and a positive meeting takes place between FofNC and the club with peace on the agenda. Then we’d have to focus solely on football. What a silly notion!