Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell – 19th November

I’d like to thank you all for reading my column for the final time. I’m not stopping writing them, I just think that I’ll have upset a lot of people about a nine hundred words from now. The problem is some things just have to be said, regardless of whether they upset people or not.

If Saturday’s defeat to Cardiff wasn’t bad enough I heard a conversation that left me so angry I could barely speak. I was around the back of block 4 and I heard a couple of “fans” bemoaning the fact that most of the players didn’t spend long with the fans in the hotel the previous Saturday night in Glasgow. They didn’t think it was right that they had travelled all that way to only have a few minutes with them. I’m sorry? Where did the travel arrangements say that you would get full access to the players? Did I miss it? These people need to be reminded what they were doing in Scotland, or, more importantly, why the team was there. It may seem obvious to most (or at least I’d hope it does) but the team was there to play two ice hockey games NOT to pander to some people’s social whims. Apparently a couple of players did stay in the bar with the fans for a while and to my mind they should have been fined for doing it. I’m not cruel, I know players are human too but there is a time and a place for these things and quite frankly, the hotel bar in the middle of a double header weekend isn’t either of them.
These people give us fans a bad name. They’re only bothered about winning anything because they think they’ll be able to ingratiate themselves with the players again during the celebrations. They’re the reason I don’t bother going to meet the player sessions anymore. You can see them flocking around players like they’re kings. How many times have we seen players start well then go downhill straight after the first meet the players event? Too many. How many players have we lost to these people who think that the best way to support a player is to let him go on top?
The problem is, our management panders to them. How many of these events have we had so far this season 2? 3? And we’re only half way through November. I’m sure there’ll be people out there (if they’re still reading) who think I’m slagging these events off simply because I don’t want to go to them and I’m sorry but they’re wrong. I honestly think that they don’t do the players any good. At best they feel uncomfortable at them and at worst it gives them an over inflated idea of their own worth and and a far greater insight in to just how much or how little they’ll need to do for the rest of the season to reach their required level of adoration.
Still think I’m talking rubbish? If you want an example of this look at Dominic D’Amour. He started well, threw a few checks had a couple of fights and for a short period of time showed he knew how to use his weight and why we had signed. As soon as he met the fans a few times he realised he could coast through until January and the signing deadline. Of course, this isn’t all the fault of these fans, the coach and management have to take a look at how they treated his disinterest. If he didn’t want to fight because he wanted to look his best for his date after the game then he shouldn’t have been in the game in the first place. You could argue he shouldn’t have been in the country for much longer. We had Nick Toneys sat in the stands week after week for reasons only Coach Corey can know but I digress.
Purely and simply, fans need to remember why they’re there. Let the players get on with what they’re there to do and give them the chance to do it to the best of their abilities.
On a final note (for those who are still reading) I see Bob Phillips is touting himself as the saviour of the Elite League again only weeks after he was being investigated by the Police, fighting allegations from former sponsors and generally dragging our nearest and dearest back towards the gutter they emerged from. Why do the powers that be at the Elite League never learn? Have they no memory? It seems like they only want to look at what’s put in front of them and not beyond. Is there any form of due diligence or investigation in this league? There can’t be, if there was Bob would never be allowed anywhere near a hockey club again, nor would Mike O’Connor. All the Elite League appear to be bothered about is the shiny pot of gold that these charlatans tell them is at the end of the rainbow. Until these kinds of things are investigated this sport will continue to lurch from pillar to post, from financial collapse to necessary re-branding to try and paper over the previous cracks.


6 Responses to “Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell – 19th November”

  1. 1 Phil November 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Spot on comments all of them, don’t stop doing this weekly column

  2. 2 Sandi November 19, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I was there as well, noted the presence of the players and totally avoided them. Why? They were not there to socialise, and I had nothing to contribute beyond showing my support at the games.

  3. 3 The Gob in Block 11 November 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Spot on Greg.

    Whilst ‘puck bunnies’ are an inevitable part of the sport, what with physically fit young guys with a few quid in their pocket being draw for some, its the ones that contest that they aren’t puck bunnies but do all they can to crawl up various players backsides that perhaps deserve the most contempt.

    “Oh yes, Jade said this to me” or “when I was chatting to Dave the other night”, we don’t care folks. People go to ice hockey to see these players play, not hear how (via the medium of dropped names and slivers of gossip) you’ve managed to work your way into their social circle, no matter how small an amount.

    Does buying a player a pint prove ‘superfan-ness’?

    Some wags on The Cage will ‘yawn’ when the ‘Tantra issue’ is raised and perhaps in a way they’re right. Chasing puck bunnies at Tantra maybe just a small part of the issue concerning player motivation on a match night. Just maybe a combination of the club’s insistance that players get out there and be pals with the superfans and said fans attempts to intrude into every aspect of the players lives, in order to prove to someone (who?) that they’re somehow ‘better’ than the rank and file fans, is also an issue.

    Anyway, what do I know? Deep down inside I’m probably just bitter I don’t know the team secret handshake or what Dave ‘Clarkey’ Clarke ate for tea the other night.

    Grumble, grumble, grumble.

  4. 4 ted November 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    dont stop…. this is some of the most sense ive read in ages!

  5. 5 Mark November 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Absolutely spot on. I blame these sad tossers as much as anyone for our lack of league success.

    Hangers on and syncophants, don’t they realize how sad and desperate they look?

  6. 6 Newish to the Sport November 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I cannot agree more, I went to my first away match which was the Belfast double header, whilst it was great seeing fans having photos at the airport with the players I was alarmed at them partying all night especially after playing such under achieving games, they should have gone to bed embarassed not partied like pop stars with the people who had paid a lot of money to be there !! However, they are doing what their ‘Fans’ seem to expect from them so I am unsure where the fault should lie.

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