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Friday, 18 January 2013

The City Ground Night of the Long Knives

Well if you understand the heading you understand where this article is heading already, but if you don’t Wikipedia or Google are your friends. Essentially it’s a historical reference of back stabbing, covert operations and the putting down of subterfuge.

Right, business. The sackings of the three members of senior staff at Forest, or the sackings of two and one’s subsequent resignation, if you believe other channels has sent tongues wagging, brains taxing, and rumour mills into a spiral.

Clark, Burt and Arthur have all gone. To this were mixed emotions. Arthur’s departure is pretty much mostly delirium, though it still puzzles me exactly why he is as vilified as he was. To all intents he was a very nice guy, had good contacts and always operated in the clubs best interests. There was a reason Doughty trusted him so, and the al-Hasawis kept him on for a while. Keith Burt's dismissal is a little odder. I say odd, it’s clearly obvious the board want a new angle on scouting and recruitment and want to overhaul this. Burt was a Doughty appointment, essentially at Calderwood’s request, who wanted to concentrate more on the team and leave the signings to someone else. Burt basically has clung to his job for a long while considering. Davies was a constant enemy, and the fact he was retained suggests Doughty believe caution in the transfer market via an intermediary to make informed decisions on managers targets was required, as thus the much maligned transfer acquisition panel was born, with Burt being integral. Therefore for me it’s a surprise he was still here, never mind that he got removed.

The Frank Clark element is a little more unappetising, but to be fair his job was essentially a ceremonial one now. He has been removed from doing not very much. What is the sour taste is his complete removal from the club, after serving so well in many guises and his role in trying times. Perhaps they might have held on to him in some capacity.

Now comes the speculative parts. Why now? Why remove them all at all? What reasons, and where does the truth lie. More “facts” (we don’t know if true” are coming out. The latest being Arthur resigned on the back of the first two dismissals, Hence why his departure was much later in being announced, and the al-Hasawi’s have spun this to be his sacking. Perhaps also aware of his unpopularity amongst many fans.

The next step was for a number of supposed well informed journalists (Rob Dorsett from Sky mainly) blindly speculating about why and suggesting this is all bad news, based on nothing more than to presumably to try and create a story where there might not be. Immediate comparisons to the Venkys are extremely misguided. The Venkys at Blackburn have never been involved in the sport, the al-Hasawis have. The Venky’s were so unaware of the game, they didn’t know that relegation existed from the Premier League, and had no idea that Blackburn’s subsequent relegation and loss of incomes was possible. The al-Hasawi's have at least shown an awareness of the game. They have run admittedly Kuwaiti clubs, in the past but it’s still an awareness of the game.

Now, from what I have read, there have been question marks in the past with their very hands on approach at al-Qadsia. But it has been a successful club. The problem we have here is that the moment foreign owners start tinkering with club structures everyone gets very upset and starts questioning reasons. Why? Because think about it, every club is stuck firmly in the past. People say we are, but I don’t know a single club that doesn’t immediately point to its past glories. We all do. So for them to remove a club great immediately gets tagged as misunderstanding the English game and the clubs roots. They get tagged as trigger happy foreign owners.

If they were so trigger happy why were they all retained for so long? Most regime changes immediately overhaul the board level. It happened with Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City. Man United at least retain the likes of Bobby Charlton in roles, but purely token ones. The old regime failed. Face it, what those three employees stood for was a failure to achieve what the al-Hasawis want. Premier League football. And so we evolve. And evolution is also a football fans worst enemy. There are many elements I could suggest. Fans clinging to old formations, and not liking change. Not liking a popular player essentially being usurped by a new better player being parachuted in. The hegemony of the big clubs being challenged. We immediately decry and almost ridicule the “new money” clubs of Chelsea and Manchester City “buying” success because we don’t like change.

Now whether Rob Dorsett has an agenda I don’t know. But he has curried a certain amount if dischord. As I say whether it is to create a story, or whether because some of the now removed people were personal friends or contacts. He already said he has not spoken to the clubs new owners who have turned down interviews. Agenda’s.

Now this is not a party political broadcast on behalf of the Hasawi’s. There are obvious questions that need asking. The main problem now is though we all imagining the worst. The completely hands on role, in as far as actually managing the club itself at Qadsia is a worry, it shows a slightly megalomaniacal approach. I can’t see them trying this, but there is a precedent. By the way these are things I have read in the past and can’t find the sources anymore, so therefore I can’t comment on the reliability of this.

The complete conjecture that the sackings signify that the al-Hasawi's are now on a power monger charge is ridiculous. But lets' see where we go from here. They obviosuly felt the time was right for a change and as such have acted in that regard.

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