I don’t know – I go away for a couple of days and spend a day at the cricket and all hell has broken loose.
I was following the match on my phone yesterday whilst trying not to miss the clatter of Pakistani wickets. Though the Luton result was very disappointing, and frankly unexpected, there appears to have been a bit of a hoo-hah following Richard Money’s comments and actions.
My understanding is that dear Pavel Besta, a bit knackered at having to play three games in a week, cocked up for the second goal, when he was substituted he was booed (yes booed) by a group of Luton fans and Money turned around and had a verbal pop at them both at the time of the substitution and then ‘went into one’ at the end.
After game he said:
“I will continue to be fiercely protective of our players. I don’t have favourites and I don’t think supporters should have favourites either, they are their players.
“Pavel was very upset he had given the goal away and the reaction of our support was very, very disappointing and I will continue to be fiercely protective of our players.
“We saw it last year with (Adam) Newton and I’m not going to have it this year with Besta.
“There were a lot of clever comments. They’re here to support the players, every single one of them as far as I’m concerned.
“Football amazes me. Keith Keane gets sent off for a second yellow card on Tuesday, absolutely totally irresponsibly and he knows it, and he gets applauded off the pitch by 6,500 people. How crazy it that?
“Because of that, I’ve had to play Besta the third time in a week, when he’s missed all pre-season, not used to playing three times in a week I would suggest. He’s just arrived in the country two weeks ago.”
I’m told that there were also another incident with Money and the Hatters fans at the final whistle.
He continued: “As I said, they can boo me, they can hate me as much as they want, I really honestly do not care.
“So if they want to boo me, boo me, because they do it anyway. Last year we won 10 and draw four and we don’t go up in the play-offs, and I get booed.
“Half time against Oxford last year I’m getting called all the names under the sun, and we win 2-1 and I’m still getting booed.
“So they boo me anyway, carry on, do what you want, I really don’t care. But I’m not having it with the players, they’ve been fantastic up to now, this is just one indifferent, one poor performance and we’ve lost a game of football.
“Today is the day I suggest they need the support the most and I will continue to be fiercely, fiercely protective of that dressing room.”
Now I think a manager should be protective of his players, he has to keep them on an even keel, he has to have them in the frame of mind to perform each week and therefore has to act as a buffer to external influences which may affect their performance.If a group of fans, obviously frustrated and disappointed by the players and teams performance take it out on the player, Money, being a passionate man is going to give some back. Fair enough.
I had a look at the Outlaws site this morning and they were baying for Money’s blood and demanding statements from the club. I must admit, though I wasn’t there, it all seemed a little touchy. As if Luton fans are above having a few home truths told to them by the manager. Have we suddenly turned into Scousers? Can we do no wrong?
Perhaps I’m missing the point – again – I wasn’t there, so my objective opinion is only formed from that information I had read.
Booing individual players must be wrong. They are Hatters for God’s sake. Richard Jackson was one of the worst players I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t boo him. I shouted at him on occasions but never booed him. His lack of talent and commitment perplexed and frustrated me. But I couldn’t boo him. I did boo the corrupt board who were in charge before 2020 but never an individual player.
So imagine my surprise, with this in mind, when the club issued a statement earlier today. This reads as follows:
Posted on: Sun 29 Aug 2010
After the Hatters’ 3-1 loss at Tamworth yesterday and Richard Money’s subsequent altercation with supporters, the Luton Town boss would like to apologise for his conduct to all Hatters.
Richard Money said: “Yesterday, I over-reacted and was wrong to do so. There are no two ways about it and I should know better.
“I would like to unreservedly apologise to those supporters who were on the receiving end of my frustrations after the game and I’d be happy to provide that apology in person to anyone who personally felt directly upset by my comments
“Whilst I have no excuses for my behaviour towards a few, I allowed my frustrations get the better of me and most certainly shouldn’t have done so. The last few days at the club have been very emotional.
“For everyone to see someone leave after such a long period of committed service was upsetting.
“When I heard some of the things being directed at our players I wrongly erupted instead of ignoring it, as I should have done. I suppose it touched a nerve and brought to the forefront of my mind when even Kevin Nicholls was verbally abused by a minority when he was playing through pain by those who considered him as a legend.
“I reminded me of when some were being over-critical of Matthew Barnes-Homer without giving him a chance and when his father was gravely ill.
“Yesterday, I had a brand new player trying his damndest, in a scrappy game in a foreign environment to him so I snapped when I should have been bigger and more professional.
“We can all see what happens to certain players like Jake Howells and Matthew when they carry so much confidence and I’m desperate to maintain the spirit we have in the squad because this is such a hard league to get out of.
“That said, I understand that such comments are only made by a small minority and I accept the vast majority of our fans are incredibly supportive, loyal and committed, for which I am very grateful, as are my coaches and players.
“For the benefit of those supporters, I have no excuses for the intensity of my actions yesterday and I appreciate that I will have to learn to temper my frustrations under such circumstances in future and ignore the minority who may continue to abuse our players and show more respect to the supportive element who may have mistakenly been in the firing line yesterday.
“Everyone here at the Club prides themselves on how we treat our supporters and I know I have let people down for which I’m sorry and I won’t let it happen again.
“Luton Town is important to me – I love it here and I’m 100% committed and confident that we are capable of winning this league this season, starting tomorrow at home to Hayes & Yeading.
Luton Town managing director Gary Sweet also commented on yesterday’s events.
He said: “Whilst I wasn’t close to the off-pitch incident yesterday all members of the board were very concerned and surprised that an official of Luton Town behaved in such a way particularly as it was so out of character and not in the spirit of how we want ambassadors and officials to act at any time.
“As well as myself, Stephen Browne and other shareholders discussed the situation with a number of supporters both at the game yesterday and since, as well as talking to Richard about the events in some detail.
“We are dealing with any verified issues of dissatisfaction with those supporters personally, directly and in confidence.
“Richard is a passionate and proud football manager who wears his heart on his sleeve. Whilst, as Richard respectfully admits, his conduct lacked the dignity and decorum we expect and insist upon from every member of staff towards all supporters we must acknowledge that it is a single-minded character such as his that will get Luton Town promoted this season.
“That does not mean we condone him overstepping the mark and Richard is clear on what we expect, but we must all realise and appreciate that we are not going to get what we all want without Richard Money.
“What is of paramount importance is that we will not achieve this objective without a greater spirit of unity at our club. A club of players, coaches, staff and supporters. We all have a part to play.
“As genuine and long-standing supporters ourselves we all know football is a game of opinions and frustrations but, mark my words, we shall not be in League Two next season if a certain element of attendees of our games continue to berate individual players with the venom we have witnessed.
“I have looked Richard in the eye and I can assure you that he is genuinely remorseful for what happened yesterday and he knows it showed a lack of respect to the majority of genuine supporters that follow us through thick and thin.
“On behalf of the board, I’d like to put this issue to bed, allow us to sensitively deal with those affected and positively focus on football and appeal to everyone; players, staff and supporters, to get behind the team tomorrow to get our promotion charge back on track.”
So what it doesn’t say is more revealing. Clearly when Money responded angrily to the fans yesterday, what he said and did was over the top and wholly unprofessional. Certainly passionate. The directors of the club, mindful of the furore and of the complaints received say to him “steady on old chap”.
Do I see it as being un-supportive of the manager? Yes, I do a bit. It’s a hard (impossible?) balancing act between keeping your paying public happy and keeping the manager and staff in line, but it smacks me of perhaps being a little over the top. Yes, when Money swore and over-reacted for the reasons he gave in the interview then fair enough he was wrong to do that, but I am sure I’d also be pretty sick of some of the ill-informed Neanderthal behaviour he has to put up with. Just because the fans support the club both verbally and financially, it doesn’t put those who step out of line beyond reproach. Then we do get like Liverpool FC, where the fans are blameless can do no wrong regardless of their abhorrent actions.
I’d rather the board lambasted the fans for booing the players rather than posting a statement putting the manager firmly in his place for putting the fans firmly in their place.
I’d love to have some comments from those who were there. As I say, my feelings on this are only informed by what I have read. I’ve got a temper, Richard Money’s got a temper. I know when mine goes (not very often) I lose control completely, perhaps his did because he knew how unfair and unjust people were being. I’m afraid to say I suspect I would have probably reacted in exactly the same way.
Right enough said. Let’s get eight against Hayes tomorrow….