I’ll be honest with you, with the swiftness of Simon Grayson’s departure I did think there would have been an appointment by now.
It had all the signs that things were in place to give the new man a full fortnight to arrange the photographs of his family on his desk and get a feel for the place before his first game.
As it is, black smoke still emanates from the Stadium of Light to signal no decision has yet been made and the sands keep running through the egg timer. Which makes it difficult not to feel like this week has been a wasted week.
Of course, it’s not a decision to be rushed but we just don’t have time to waste and every day is crucial. This appointment is one of, if not the, most important in the history of the club.
The pace of the descent at which the club is moving right now means one more false move could be disastrous, not only in the short-term but for the future of the club.
I’ve never been one to buy into the idea that a club who is contemplating a change of manager are somehow out of order for approaching potential replacements before the guillotine falls. Surely it’s good business practice to smooth the transition from one manager to another by being prepared and doing away with the insecurity of the vacuum that exists in the meantime.
That’s what I want from my football club. As soon as a timeframe is agreed and deadlines are placed on the current manager, there should be a list of potential candidates to hand at any given time and appointments can be be made as quickly as the departure.
Positive attitudes are needed but we can’t hide from the fact of how much is at stake with this appointment. Some people might say that they aren’t thinking of relegation as a possibility - but the threat is very real.
It at least gives you some comfort as a fan thinking that the club is handling the situation in a competent manner. In the end, the vacuum is filled with speculation from all sides and no one benefits from the state of limbo that clubs find themselves in.
This leads me to Ellis Short’s public address last week. It was when he spoke directly to the fans about journalists not knowing what he is thinking. This might be true but look at the reaction to his interview. I know he has people who are his conduit to the fans but I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to know more of Ellis’s thoughts on club matters.
In times like these we talk of connections between the club and the fans and one of those has to be between the owner and the people who support the club. Not just those who come through the turnstiles, but also those at home who, for one reason or another, can’t get to games. And whilst Ellis Short owns the keys to the front door, the club belongs to every one of us and the fans deserve to be in the loop.
Not only do they deserve it, they have a right to know what Ellis is thinking. This isn’t because of some business transaction right either.
Football has gone down this company and customer route and it would be the biggest mistake in the world for someone to treat this club like a franchise or a business. Once you do that, it will die.
I’m not saying that a fan has the right to know the day-to-day goings on because they have paid for their season tickets with their hard-earned money. Neither has it anything to do with how much money or commitment a fan shows. Everybody in this city, everybody who was born here, everybody who supports the club through a blood connection, or just anyone who cares about the club are entitled to know what Ellis Short is thinking.
I’m going away from what I was originally going to write here, so forgive me, but didn’t you get the feeling that we were meant to be grateful to hear what he had to say? That’s how it made me feel and it’s something that I didn’t want to think.
He spoke of “understanding the fans want me out” but it’s more than just than a simple case of not wanting him here. I, for one, have never wanted Ellis Short out, per se. I just want someone who wants us now.
He lightheartedly made reference to the “Are you watching, Ellis Short?” chants, but there would be no need to do that if the fans did know how he was feeling or if he still held any affection for the club beyond just another one of his business interests.
Not through written statements either, but interviews like this made more regularly would at least give the impression of some connection. Instead, I just felt the club had become an inconvenience.
Ellis was right about one thing though. When it all boils down to it, it’s what happens on the pitch that matters but when that is failing, you look to the dugout.
That means the manager is failing, so you look at who appointed him. And if the managers appointed are failing, then the Chief Executive must be failing. And if the Chief Executive is failing, then there is nowhere else to look.