Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell 17th February

So Jono got an interview with Jamie Black this week, and whilst I applaud him for his openness I have to say that there’s very little in it we didn’t already know. The thing that angered me is his opinion (and it has to be said that as far as we’re told it is only his opinion) that the lack of dialogue between the fans and the management is the fans’ fault.
The idea that the “anti-Gary” rhetoric is blocking the way is in my opinion utter rubbish. Is he afraid to hear ill of himself? Is that why any communication to the Panthers that doesn’t sing their praises from the rooftops is at best ignored? When I was at school I was picked to do a bible reading in assembly (stick with me, this is going somewhere). I forget which book and verses I was forced to stand in front of my fellow bored teenagers and read but the gist of it was that if you only listen to praise then you’ll get nowhere (I think the word fool was used but it’s a long time ago) and that the person who listens to complaints is far smarter. Can you see the comparisons?
If you’ve got a complaint or a suggestion you get the feeling that no one wants to listen to you because they already know what you want better than and if you don’t like it they’ve got hundreds more who can’t wait to come and lap up their culture of mediocrity. I know they won’t admit to it but that’s what is there. Let me give you an example – our scoreboard.  Best in the country by far but are they utilizing it properly? No, we’ve still got the same adverts by and large that were there at the start of the season. We’re told it can’t play live video because clips can only last 30 seconds so why not show the footage in short bursts interspersed by a spinning Panthers head or a quick advert for the DVDs? I know nothing about computers but even I could work out how to do it. If I suggested any of this I’d be wrong so I’m not going to suggest it directly.
The thing that worries me most about the Jamie Black interview is the fact that it ever had to happen in the first place. Why does it take the son of our owner to show these deficiencies?  Why has no one in the management structure raised these problems and if they have why haven’t they been addressed. If fans call for more interaction why doesn’t the club listen? Instead we get thinly veiled digs through the media they control that things like Facebook, Twitter (still don’t get that) etc are only preaching to the converted and won’t bring anyone else in. This is probably so, but there’s so much more to communicating with the fans that just emptying their wallet. Surely if you were made to feel a little more like you were part of the organization (I’m avoiding the word family for obvious reasons) you’d be more likely to part with your hard earned cash. Or is that just me?
The least surprising thing about the whole article is that none of this is Gary Moran’s fault. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know. I don’t entirely buy the no on- ice interference quote, but at the end of the day it’s his hand on the tiller and he’s the only constant so some of the buck has to stop with him? I’ve seen him around the arena but I’ve not really got anything to say to him (or at least that he’d want to hear) and I’ve got nothing against him really as a person but I believe he needs to take a long hard look at himself and his attitude to the fans. Forums are notoriously bad places to gauge public opinion but all the people reporting bad experiences with him can’t be that wrong can they? How many reading this were in Sheffield when he decided to start making abusive gestures to their fans from the bench? You simply can’t do that in his line of work. There’ll be people (at least two I can think of) who’ll say that incident means he’s got passion for the club and maybe he has but a person in his position should not be doing things like that. The elasticity of sporting supply and demand is different to any other but would you still shop in Tesco’s if the manager’s way of thanking you for shopping in his supermarket was to give you a tirade of abuse when you left?
As for the on ice product (remember that?) it’s been a week of same old same old. We’re on a three game winning streak so the more fickle amongst are already wondering if Corey should stay. To them I’d say that we might not have turned the corner we could just been on a roundabout.
Thinking about it there’s something else in the interview and the whole Panthers’ ethos. I simply don’t buy this need to entertain guff.  Surely a winning, consistent team is entertaining? Films, plays and TV programmes have to be entertaining, that’s what you’re paying for to be entertained. When you turn up to watch a sporting event the only thing you should want is for your team to win no matter how they do it. If you just want entertainment stay at home and watch Dancing on Ice. It’ll be cheaper as well. Would crowds drop if we weren’t being entertained? I doubt it somehow.
I got chastised last week for having a go at new fans. Let me put it on record that I have nothing against people coming to the NIC for the first time – we all have to start somewhere. What irritates me is the people who quite simply don’t know, or don’t care, how their actions affect others. I don’t pay £14.50 to see the back of the pillock who couldn’t be bothered to turn up on time and thinks sitting in exactly the right seat when play is on is far more important than those around them.  If your mobile phone or conversations with each other are more important than the ice hockey why did you pay to get in?

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