The home game against Burton Albion was supposed to be the day that Sixfields completed the first stage of its new development. When the East Stand had been demolished, the aim (a bit hopeful I know) was to get it back up and in working order by the time the Brewers were in town. The reality is that we’ve got a partly built stand, mass confusion, rumours swirling and, most notably, a lack of proper communication from the club.
The subsequent defeat to Albion yesterday felt like a day to bury bad news and the result on the face of it isn’t as worrying as what’s going on the side of the ground where starlings once swarmed.
I’ll start off by saying that I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with the East Stand other than what I’ve heard from the club about contract disputes and the like. I won’t be spinning any rumours here but what is important is to try and put across the frustration that many of us are feeling. It’s not even frustration at why the builders have dropped tools but the fact that no-one at the club seems to want to tell us straight what’s happening.
The communications department seem to have been on sabbatical for over a year now. Any injury news is kept completely under wraps. Players can be ruled out for months and then appear on the bench or, in the case of Lewis Hornby (remember him?), they can pick up an injury in training and are then not heard of apart from in fleeting mentions once in a blue moon. If a player’s out for months, tells us. If someone’s career is over, tell us. There’s a growing sense that the club is being locked behind the four – sorry three – walls of Sixfields and to the fans that can’t be good.
As a parent I’m constantly saying to my daughter that I would rather her tell me if she’s taken an extra sweet from the pot than lie and say it was someone else. For the period of time that we’re in limbo that relationship is suffering and on a bigger scale this is what’s starting to happen between the Cobblers as a club and its most important cog, the supporters.
We’re supposed to be celebrating twenty years of Sixfields this week and indeed you’ll see your top twenty moments chronicled in the next few days (cheap plug – done). Instead, though, we’re debating what the real reasons are that the work men have stopped their building.
All it would take was an honest and open message from the Chairman. If money hasn’t been paid for reason a or reason b then please just tell us. The longer the issues are stretched out the more damaging it becomes on the relationship between club and fans and that only causes aggravation on the terraces and a drop in performances on the pitch. We’re in a position where the players are actually pretty decent but if everything around them crumbles it’s only a matter of time until they too get disenchanted.
The time is now for the lines of communication to be restored.