FANS' ZONE 12/11/2020
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF A FOOTBALL MANAGER - SUNDAY DESPAIR WITH FA CUP EXIT - MONDAY ELATION WITH MONTHLY AWARD
With apologies to the Small Faces 1968 No 2 single United’s FA Cup match against Crawley was a Crazy Sunday Afternoon.
How do you explain a result like that? Well the answer is you can’t. 2-0 up at half-time and but for the width of the crossbar Ben Whitfield’s audacious shot would have been three and seemingly game, set and match. But as events turned out even if it had been 3-0 Crawley were made of stern stuff.
In the end, with eleven goals, extra time in normal time - and thank goodness Crawley keeper Tom McGill was released from hospital on Sunday evening - and then extra time, it was an historic encounter fit for the FA Cup record books.
The great pity was, apart from a handful, the Yellow Army cannot claim in years to come, ‘I was there’. You can’t but think had there been supporters the Yellow Army would have willed the team over the line.
Gary Johnson said before the game that he wanted to see how the Gulls matched up against a top half League 2 side and he did! As he said afterwards he and his coaching staff need to assess how six goals went in. And a good job it wasn’t Mothering Sunday as there would have been a lot of unhappy mums in goal!
With Johnson being an experienced manager - and Manager of the Month for October, although he might be hoping the curse of that award has already been erased with Sunday’s result - he will no doubt ensure that the players’ minds are fully tuned in to the important National League form starting on Saturday with the visit of Boreham Wood.
And indeed he has done, for as he explained to the Yellow Army podcast, on Monday he called his two loanees, Sam Sherring and Adam Randell, to check that they were ok. It was also good to hear that the manager had calls from the club’s directors to ensure that he was also in the right frame of mind.
The club should also be congratulated for having put a poppy on each shirt to pay tribute to it having been Remembrance Sunday, with these shirts now up for auction.
United banked £5,657 as Round 1 losers plus £12,500 from the BBC for broadcasting the fixture a little compensation but reaching Round 2 is proving elusive as the last time the Gulls reached this stage was in December 2011 going down 3-2 at Sheffield United with goals from Rene Howe and Danny Stevens.
Last week’s column brought to your attention that up to a dozen National League clubs had written to the NL board asking for a review and explanation as to how the £10m grant was allocated. Well the board responded by announcing the creation of an independent review sub-committee.
NL CEO Michael Tattersall wrote to clubs saying the payment schedule “ may vary from month to month due to the fluidity of the current situation and changes in the circumstances of NL clubs.”
This, though, may not satisfy those clubs which feel hard done by so there’s probably more to come with this story.
There is also another National League mystery which is the reluctance of clubs to announce their live streaming attendance figures whereas these are readily available in the EFL with monthly tables available for each division.
This may be partly due to the EFL clubs all using the same streaming - iFollow - while in the National League there’s more than one - inPlayer and Brandvox being used.
Whilst streaming in the National League is totally new, iFollow has been established for some time and this could account for the differences.
Using League 2 Carlisle United as an example, their September home matches: Southend 486 streaming ( but they had 1000 in the ground) and v. Barrow 961.
Their away figures were: at Cambridge 643, Scunthorpe 619 and Port Vale 684.
And Carlisle are fourth in the streaming league table in League 2.
The crucial factor from all this is the streaming income compared with ‘normal times’: walk-up ticket sales plus season tickets would normally generate £40,000 per game but streaming only brings in £5,000.
So how does the EFL system work? Before each game the two clubs have to agree on what the away attendance would have been in normal circumstances, that will be based on how many visiting fans made the trip for the corresponding fixture last season.
The home club receives the iFollow money for that number of away subscribers but if the away club sells subscriptions over and above the agreed ‘away attendance’ they bank that money.
As an example last month’s League 1 fixture between Ipswich Town and Accrington Stanley the away figure was agreed at 106 but actually Accrington sold 164 passes so they profited from the extra 58 - making £580.
A sobering thought, though, that although streaming gives the clubs some revenue, Ipswich owner, Marcus Evans, estimates his club will lose around £10m if the entire season is played behind closed doors.
It would interesting if the National League could shed some light on how their streaming system works.
No surprise that nobody predicted the correct score for Sunday’s FA Cup match as was last week’s challenge.
For this week who’s scored your ‘Goal of the Season’ contender so far?
Send your choice to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always to the Yellow Army stay safe.
SUPPORT TUST - ATTEND THE VIRTUAL AGM ON 25TH NOVEMBER AT 6.30PM.
Details to follow