How To Lose Fans And Alienate People

22 August 2011 11:04
CT Writer Alan Poole's view Today we present the view of Alan Poole, the Coventry Telegraph football writer who was at Saturday's game against Watford and he reports on the supporter demonstrations against SISU in a way which will strike a chord with those at the game and echo the thoughts of many. "ON a day when the statue of Jimmy Hill became a focal point of protest, it was all-but impossible to shake off the image and the beloved catchphrases of long-chinned lookalike Bruce Forsyth. Good game, good game? Eventually yes, as two under-pressure sides conquered their early anxieties to alternate some fast and frequently frantic assaults. Both got nothing for a pair of penalty appeals (Watford’s the more graphic, City’s equally plausible) but a final glance at the old scoreboard confirmed that points do indeed make prizes – tiny prizes, to be sure, but so welcome, so precious at this stage of proceedings. The City board were clearly not in a nice-to-see-you frame of mind as their audience for the second home show of the season proved considerably more fractious than the first. The display of people power that began outside manifested itself at kick-off as the triangle of fans in Singers Corner supplemented their chants with a home-made banner expressing the same ‘Sisu out’ sentiments. It was, at that stage, a distinctly low-key remonstration. But when a squad of beefy stewards in high-vis jackets swooped to confiscate the offending sheet – presumably having received their instructions courtesy of the Tinpot Dictator’s Handbook Of Heavy-Handed Crowd Control – a ferocious chorus of boos and jeers instantly swept round the stands. How to lose fans and alienate people! And because of (certainly not despite) those crassly clumsy tactics, the dissenting voices were unleashed at regular intervals for the rest of the match – Stand Up If You Hate Sisu, Time To Go Sisu Time To Go (to the tune of the song made famous by Marlon King), a customised variation on the anti-Villa anthem and, of course, the perennially popular Anglo-Saxon invitation to move on to pastures new (a highly convenient 4-3-4 scan in this instance). But, if nothing else, that animosity ramped up the noise and passion levels in a stadium well short of half full and the supporters made it gratifyingly clear that they still hold manager Andy Thorn in great affection and are fully behind his painfully undermanned squad." For more on this article, please click on