Greg Mitchell is a Panthers fan and he’s angry! In order to get a few things off his chest about British Hockey, we at The Cat’s Whiskers have given Greg his own weekly column which will be published every Friday exclusively on TCW. Firstly an introduction from the man himself….
“I’ve been watching the Panthers since about 1990 and there’s a lot going on that gets my goat. I met Jono in Belfast last year but he was so drunk he doesn’t remember. He told me I’d got a lot to say and he’s not far wrong and that he wanted me to put finger to keyboard as it were to get a few things off my chest. Over the weeks I hope to teach him a valuable lesson – be careful what you wish for. What can you expect from me? Ill thought out rants that have a point in them… somewhere! I’ve got a soft spot for Ryan Finnerty which means you’ll probably never read this given Jono’s irrational hatred. Keep your eye out for me in the stands, I’m medium height, a bit on the chubby side (I was going to say cuddly but I don’t do that), no hair and can usually be seen in a variety of NHL team shirts.”
In my defence I spoke to a lot of people in Belfast! Without further ado here is Greg’s first column, ‘Glad you could join us’
Well, what a shambles the start of the league has been. Teams like Panthers, Coventry and others who could be bothered to turn up for the actual so-called start of the season have already played anywhere from six games upwards where as teams like Newcastle have only notched up a couple. Quite frankly it makes our league look like a joke (so it’s pretty much par for the course then). I’m not including Hull in any of this, that’s a different topic for a whole different column. The main reason used by the tardy teams is money. There’s this argument that you can bring in better players if you pay them more for fewer weeks. There’s two things wrong with this. Firstly, it doesn’t work, who won the league last year? It was Coventry. When did they start playing league games? At the beginning. It didn’t do them any harm. Edinburgh started late and they were better but not good enough. When would they like to start? January? March? The second problem is that it could actually end up losing them money. There’s a recession out there and people have to budget so if the number of games played is squashed so that some are midweek you’re inevitably going to lose fans to the midweek game because they can’t afford both, have to work, school nights etc. You only have to look at what happened in Sheffield this week to see that and yet some of their fans are heralding an attendance of 1,137 when there was nothing on TV (will Midsomer Murders never end?) as a success.
Will Dundee be so keen to start the season as early as they did this year now they’ve seen how their spending will pan out? I know I’ll get shot down for using a football analogy and maybe that’s right but it still, in my mind, applies perfectly well to this situation. Answer a simple question. Do Blackpool make as much money week in week out as Manchester United? No, of course not. Ferguson’s team of prostitute loving drug test avoiders will make more from selling bedspreads this week than Blackpool will make all season from anything. Add to that the fact that their stadium wasn’t ready for their first home game and what do Blackpool do? Do they go crying to the Premier League that they can’t afford to start at the same time? No, they get the game moved. Braehead’s arena wasn’t ready for the start of the season, well neither was Blackpool’s and neither was Belfast’s a few years ago but did they get a couple of weeks grace? No they both started playing on the road or at “guest” venues.
No-one wants to see the league lose teams but this whole fairness issue really has to work both ways. Newcastle want to pay players for fewer weeks – fine but you’ve got to let everybody else do the same. It isn’t fair to have teams starting weeks after others. It all comes down to money in this league and it seems to me that having more than others is seen by many as a cardinal sin. Of course this wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the league actually enforced any kind of wage cap but that is yet another different topic for yet another day.
That’s it from me. If you liked it tell me, if you didn’t blame Jono!
Next week’s probable topic: Who pays if Beauregard gets injured in the Boston game?