If you talk to older fans – you know the ones I mean – those who were regulars in the re-election days of the 70s when crowds were barely 1,700 at the OSG, what will so many of them tell you?
More specifically, what will they tell you about the contrast between then and now?
Even when the Iron were threatened with the possible loss of league status – there was a kind of optimism about the place which has clearly now disappeared.
This is not just a bunch of old farts waxing lyrical about some wondrous bygone era. Hardly that. It is about passion and excitement which are now totally absent.
Far too many games were lost in those days – of course they were – turning up to be regularly beaten by so many better teams is no fun at all for anyone but it was distinctly different. Fans had to put up with several of the worst managers ever seen in football and some goalkeepers who were simply embarrassing.
They had to accept that almost every player would be a free transfer or a junior – who, by and large – would not be up to it. The norm was to sign players whose legs had gone.
Yet, so many of these cobbled together teams won the hearts and minds of the handful of supporters even knowing that if any player showed any gumption at all, every single one would soon be sold on.
There was so much to criticise but there was an acceptance of reality and the fans loved their team with all of their hearts. Ironically, there was considerably less criticism in those days.
Today, crowds are double what they were back then – in part because of the new ground of Glanford Park and in part because of the greater investments but how do the fans of today feel?
The answer is that they are not enjoying the football fare which is being served up. Are the players not better? – Of course they are! Tremendously so.
But talk to older fans and a majority are profoundly unhappy with the boring, tedious systems employed by a number of recent managers. Games back in the 70s when The Iron would manage just two shots on goal in a pair of games would not have been possible. Unthinkable, even. But today we have to think it!
Let’s get down to it. Yes – fans want wins but even more than that, they want to be entertained with wholehearted attacking football – at least at Glanford Park!
Fifth in the table and how many fans are considering not renewing their season passes next year? How many will not turn up if the weather is poor or if there is rugby on the telly? How many are fed up to the back teeth with paying out very significant amounts of money to be left bored and frustrated on a match day?
A gentleman I know well has regularly brought his children along. The poor things are bored out of their skins and have lost all interest. Little wonder that so many youngsters become TV glory hunters and wear the shirts of teams in cities they have never even visited.
The old are unhappy. The young are voting with their feet and the ones in the middle are deciding that paying more than £20 not to be entertained is downright silly – that would buy a good few drinks and probably some guaranteed good company down at the local for an evening. Cold, expensive and boring or warm and entertaining chat? Bit of a no brainer for many.
I have spoken to so many fans who have told me that they plan to come to home games on a less regular basis – and not a single one who desires to come more regularly than they do.
How many fans did the Iron lose forever last week? – More than a few is my guess.
Winning and taking points with a high position in the league will not satisfy fans who are demanding to be entertained and to see the management using a bit more logic.
In the playoff zone maybe, but can the club afford to allow Mr Alexander to continue alienating the fan base? The run in November bought him a stay of execution but not a reprieve. The gallows is beckoning once more.