The Pain of Failure

It’s that all too familiar feeling, once again I (and many other Panthers supporters) feel the pain of falling out of the league title race well before the end of the season. While don’t and never will have a divine right to win the league title, the fact that we are out of the race well before the end of the season. It hurts, it hurts real bad.

Take a look at our opponents this weekend, Belfast Giants. They dominated the game on Saturday but had to contend with a spirited Panthers fight back before deservedly winning the game on penalty shots. Last night they were 7 minutes away from a deserved shut-out defeat; instead they dug deep, scored three goals and won the game. They showed what it takes to be champions and they will be very worthy winners of the title this season should they continue with their form.
Once again we choked when it really mattered and yet again the chances of a coveted league title are gone barring an absolute miracle.

It is pretty obvious that the culture of the club is not geared to the long haul of winning the league title. You only have to look at the website to know this; more is made of the fact that over 9,000 attended this weekend’s games rather than our blown league chances.
Nothing wrong with that as such, it’s important that we continue with the financial stability, however the excuses & spin displayed by the coach and management are starting to wear a little thin.
Let’s face it, we have the players to do it and a captain who is driven by winning the league, so why can’t we? (And I don’t buy any of that ‘the rest of the league won’t allow us to win it’ conspiricy theory bollocks either, we only have ourselves to blame, no-one else)

Should I really be moaning? After all, we have won Challenge Cups & Play-Off titles and are in the CC Final once again, but surely the fact that the most financially stable club with the largest fan base fails to sustain a league challenge beyond early February must surely be a concern. It’s now every year and it’s becoming a bit of a sick joke.

What’s the answer? I see some are saying walk away; the club will only change its ethos if it is hit in the pocket. While I can see the logic, supporting a sporting team is very different to most things. I have an emotional attachment with the Panthers, on any given game night my mood can depend on the result & performance. Owners of every sporting club know this; they effectively have you by the balls because passionate supporters can’t give it up because of the attachment, it’s like a drug.
The way I see it, Panthers will continue to fail in the league but will pick up trophies. Crowds will continue to rise as new fans replace the few hardy old ones who walk away because it has become too much. From a pure business point of view, why does it need to change? The club is still coining it in despite being short of the ultimate prize once again.

Maybe the problem is me (and others like me). I cannot just walk away. I love the club and couldn’t just give up my support of them. Because of this, Groundhog Day will continue, but they’ve got me and I can’t get out.


5 Responses to “The Pain of Failure”

  1. 1 john miles February 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I have to say that I wholly agree with your post. Once you are a true fan of any club, you stay with them through thick and thin, you only have to look at the local football teams to admire the fans that turn out for them, week in week out.

    I am totally convinced that the issues surrounding our inablilty to win must fall squarely at the feet of the owners, management and coaching staff. Whilst I am not a massive fan of GM, i do respect the huge number of things he does within the club, and the way he helps to promoite Nottingham Ice Hockey. I do not think that we are professional enough in our approach and I think that is reflected in the appointment of our coach. I strongly believe that if we had Doug Christenson or Thommo managing our team, then we would definitely have more success.

    Our management team are only concerned about the bucks earned from bums on seats, and the success of the team is almost inconsequential to them. If we make the Challenge Cup finals then great, more revenue, but most of the time, there pockets are always going to be lined. That is the only certain thing at the start of the season.

    I have to say that the main reason I fell in love with hockey, is because I fell out of love with football, but the total lack of professionalism shown by the management, along with a clear lack of ambition to actually create something lasting over a whole season, is starting to make me question why I go to the games so regularly. Of course, we all know the answer to that one, as that was how I opened this moany rambling in the first place, because I love the Panthers!!!

    My own personal opinion is that, until such time as Mr Black brings in someone to help GM to make the entire outfit more professional, off the ice, then we will never get the desired results on the ice. Some of the stories I have heard of penny pinching within the club are ridiculous, and we will never keep top quality players, or attract top quality imports, if we continue to run the club in such an amateur fashion.

    Rant over………I am so sorry for the ramblings but I do feel better now.

  2. 2 Josh February 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I agree with you entirely, as a relitively new panthers fan of about 5 – 6 years (i started wtching near the end of a season), I have noticed a trend in the team’s performance. Until around December, we barely put a foot wrong. Then, we begin on the slippery slope down. If this starts before the 26th/27th matches against Steelers, we pick up slightly for those games. if it starts afterwards, we just go downhill until about late february, by then, it’s too late for any sort of comeback, but as Paul Balmwas talking about, it’s ‘entertaining’.

    This season, we skipped the downhill faze and the end of December, and I thought we may be in with a chance. I felt a reserved excitement, still cautious of optimism. And I was right to be. We’d just gone down a differant hill.

    Now, in those years, I have grown to love Ice Hockey, the Panthers, the atmosphere, but my job has taken me away. I now live in Peterborough. I go week in, week out, every time I can. However, money is becoming tight and it’s a 110 mile round trip to see them. I was at both games this weekend, lodging in a friend’s flat for a night. However, if the Panthers’ management continue to think this way at the begining of next season, I bother spending my hard earned money to be loyal to a club that is only half arsed about giving the fans what they want – a league win. Not close to the top, so it’s exciting, not an excuse for a loss,but an acknowledgement: ‘we were beaten by a team that out-played us on the day’.

    Am I asking too much? I doubt I’m the only one who thinks this, but i doubt it will change. I hope it does. But if it doesnt, it is easier for me to see the Peterborough Phantoms in the EPL.

    I apologise for the anger that came out towards the end, it was meant to be short but passion got the better of me.

    • 3 exsponser February 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Groundhog day again!! If only Neil Black would listen to the fans and digest what they are saying . A spare import from day one, not a rookie coach and a management team who want to win not not spin or make minor celebs out of the players

  3. 4 DV February 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Definitely Groundhog Day! Every season is virtually the same – the Panthers usually crush the lesser teams (no disrepect intended), with an odd blip somewhere, but ultimatley fail on the key games versus Giants, Blaze or the Squealers. The weekend was just as usual – we lose a game (admitatly deserved) bo penalty shots – however, how bad were our 3 penalty shots! A true Championship team would have grasped the chance and won that game that should have been lost. That brings me to Sunday, and I repeat the last sentance – the true Champions grab an undeserved victory, this time with 3 goals in 7 minutes. Let’s be honest, would you have bet on Panthers getting 3 goals in Belfast in 7 minutes, or even being allowed to? I think we are are too “nice” to win the league, I like Corey, but I feel this now proves he’s not up to getting us a League title, his signings are not up to scratch, particularly in his area of expertise – defence. Also, the McAslan thing still baffles me now, what was that all about?
    It will not stop me supporting the Panthers, just imagine being a Capitals or Stingrays fan, so it’s not all bad, but Panthers are under achieving. They would need to win the leagues 4 or 5 times out of the next ten just to catch up with the others listed earlier just so they could be mentioned as one of the top teams, lets face it we are NOT a top team based on title success. We just happen to have a large fan base, but for how much longer?

  4. 5 Mark February 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Yet again the Panthers have failed to deliver over the long haul but we still continue to turn up in large numbers to watch one of the most entertaining sports in the world.
    We can forgive a team that try’s and by that I mean one which doesn’t have the talent but gives 100% every night, unfortunately this team isn’t one of them and only turns it on when it wants too.
    At the begining of the season everyone was saying this was the year the Panthers would win the league, perhaps that was an added millstone around the tems neck (clever ploy from Mr Simms and Co) but I must agree with previous commnets, until we sort out the whole club not just those on the Ice we are going to struggle to win the League.
    Cory has had long enough as a player coach, its time to decide if he’s one or the other and if he wants to continue playing ship him out becasue he’s no longer good enough for the ammount of time he spends on the ice, he’s becoming a liability which the team can’t afford if it wants to win the league.

    So the leagues gone now, but we can still win 2 cups so lets hope the whole team, on and off ice can pull together and still achieve something special!
    I for one will be there for the rest of this season, and next season because it is a drug, but one we happliy take week in week out during the season.

    The eternal optimist would say there’s always next season and they would be right but only if the Panthers get here act together.

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