Getting Angry at Christmas with Greg Mitchell

Bit of a short one this week. I’ve still got the wrapping to do and I haven’t even thought about buying a turkey yet!

I’m looking out the kitchen window at a world covered in the white stuff. As usual it has brought total chaos to the country and the sporting fixture list but it can’t have been many debacles as comically pathetic as Panthers desperate attempts to become Ranulph Fiennes at the weekend. If you’d read the press releases it sounds like we were trying to scale the north face of the Eiger in some bizarre Boy’s Own adventure instead of making a stupid attempt to get to Cardiff in what I’ve seen described as pretty atrocious weather.
What would be the smart thing to do? Talk to Cardiff, call the game off early and stop a load of people trying to travel? You’d have thought so, but not the Panthers. Those plucky chaps tried to make it through blizzards, drifting snow, crossed crevasse strewn glaciers, rode husky pulled sleds across featureless tundra and fought off ferocious attacks from the Abominable Snowman (I’m lying about the last one, Brad Voth was banned). Unsurprisingly, they didn’t make it and wasted a day that could have been spent resting for the game the following day. That ended up getting cancelled as well but not before a palaver that made Saturday look almost routine.
Belfast had the worst snow for 25 years but we were told that the Giants would make as Herculean an effort to cross the Irish sea as we had the day before. If they couldn’t make it, and this really is the worst part, Panthers’ management were working to line up alternative league opposition. This is yet another example of Panthers putting the “fan experience” before any attempt to win the league. Any coach worth their salt (and that’s another column or five altogether) would have spent the week preparing his team for the weekend’s games and, more importantly their opponents. To suddenly change one of those opponents at such short notice puts the team at a massive disadvantage. It also disadvantages the opposition but why should we care about them? We should be running this club for the good of our team and their success on the ice. The thing is we don’t, we seem to be more bothered about the fans getting their hands on Christmas cards, calendars and any last minute presents they’re daft enough to buy from the shop. Being financially successful is great but the team should be at the heart of the club not just a sideshow to the ringing tills.
The only good thing to come out of it all was that the Belfast game got cancelled Saturday afternoon which meant I was able to go down the pub (it’s Christmas in the Mitchell house too – Bench clothes don’t buy themselves you know).

Christmas is supposed to be a time for miracles and it seems that this year’s is no exception – Sheffield have a new owner. I know it’s not a very festive song but I’ll leave you with a line from The Who “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. We’ll have to wait and seeing as it’s from Won’t get Fooled Again, something Steelers fans haven’t exactly demonstrated in the past, so who knows? I can’t say I’m all that bothered to be honest. Bob Phillips is like a hermit crab, moving from empty shell to empty shell. He’ll be back and if he isn’t he’ll be pulling the strings when Mariani is. The Elite league won’t mind, they’ve let him in before and they’ll let him in again. No one can say how long he’ll be away for, but didn’t I see other week Vipers were looking for a new owner?

That’s it for this year so Merry Christmas, here’s to a prosperous Boxing Day and thanks for reading this column since it’s been going. Now where’s that sellotape gone this time?

Greg will be back in the New Year


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