Just a few thoughts and comments on our Mr Money, indulge me awhile. Before the Tamworth game a week ago Richard Money recorded an interview with Ian Pearce of 3CR which I hadnt listened to, but I heard others refer to it at the game and Pearcey also referred to it in his post match interview. Things havent got much better since I drafted this article after the Tamworth game.
Having now listened to it I thought Id post a reaction to his understandable comments about the unacceptable comments and behaviour towards him but try to attempt put into context why it is so bad.
Before I continue I want to make the following statements lest my ramblings below get mis interpreted:
I still support Richard Money and his tenure as manager at LTFC, I dont wish to see him replaced at this time. He is a complex, sometimes frustrating, sometimes confusing, slightly antagonistic man, but a man who I think is honest and likeable and passionate.
I do not support or associate myself with violent or foul mouthed behaviour towards an individual, apart from a few shouted comments at the ref occasionally borne out of frustration. Being a father myself, I never shout an offensive word when I know children are directly within earshot.
I think whilst RM appreciates that Hatters fans dislike being in the fifth tier and want to get out as soon as possible, can he truly understand or comprehend the deep-seated frustration and angst caused by our predicament? The actions, conduct and anger of Luton fans is magnified, enhanced and intensified by the fact that we, the supporters, are not supporting a team in non-league because of our actions, not because of the actions of the eleven players who have turned out and (mostly) given their all on a Saturday afternoon. But because of the actions of others. The others in this case being the crooks who ran the club before 2020 and equally the FA and FL whose unfair and unjust points deductions ensured that the 30 point deduction was just too much for a club down on its uppers.
A lot of people in life get dealt a bad card and suffer terrible misfortune none of which is down to them. There are others in life, the feckless, whose actions result in their own downfall. However neither of these scenarios applies to Luton fans. We have had to live with the consequence of the actions of others. We are the shop floor workers who are out of a job because the directors gambled away the profits and the taxman closed the factory down. It wasnt because we werent working hard enough or putting in enough effort. We are enduring the punishment for someone elses sins and a harsh punishment at that.
I think that it is because of this utter, utter frustration as to our position that the whinges the moans, the booing comes out like it does. We are desperate to get out of this and be able to start
to hold our heads up high again.
We want to know that it will be okay. We want to know that we can out of this. We want to know that it will be alright in the end.
If we knew that the FA and FLs punishment was that we had to spend one or two years in non league, but after that we would be back in the league, like a sin bin, then we would just do our time and get on with it. But they have given us an open-ended sentence. That is the frustration. That is what it boils down to. An open ended sentence which we, the supporters, are powerless to do anything about other than turn up in our numbers home and away (which is what we have done) and support the team, which is what the vast majority have done. It is this powerlessness and frustration and restlessness and heartache that we all feel, that sometimes boils over into the unacceptable actions of those less well able to control themselves.
Human beings have various outlets for frustration, anger being one of them. Humans also have in-built coping mechanisms for frustration too one of which is to remove yourself from the situation that is making you frustrated. But unless you stop being a Hatter completely, or stick your head in the ground and just stop following whilst we are in non league, it is impossible not to endure our plight. We can neither control it nor remove ourselves from it. It is impossible to do anything about where we are, other than having to live through it.
We are enduring a nightmare. In future years we will refer to the dark days of non-league as if it was a nightmare which we by then will have woken up from. But right now we are going through it. Right now we are trapped in a situation which we all would do something about if we could, but are reliant on others, ie Mr Money and his team, to do something to extricate us from this sentence/nightmare/frustration.
Just think of the relief when we do go up, whenever it is. The curse would have been broken. The time would have been served, the abscess lanced. Once we are back in the league we can do something about getting us back to where we truly belong. We can start the process of moving up the league but on our terms and on a level playing field, not on the back foot.
So, in conclusion, whilst the anger and vitriol poured out at Money and the team on occasions is utterly wrong, the booing and general ignorance and dissatisfaction is borne out of frustration, not so much of the immediate performance of the team itself, but I think because of the circumstances we continue to find ourselves in. I suspect the anger will intensify before it improves – the boil will get bigger before it bursts the coldest part of the night is indeed just before the dawn. Rightly or wrongly, if we get so near, but fail to go up again this year, the anger and continued objectionable behaviour will intensify and spill out like it did against York last year. It is not right, it is not excusable, but it will get worse and worse and worse until and after the point of not going up. Unfortunately it is raw human nature. Inexusable, but irrefutable.
To Richard Money, if he was sitting here with me over a pint I would say: Bear with the fans, the majority of which want you to do well. They want Luton to go up, plain and simple. As the end of the season nears, if we are not strutting to victory, expect the nastiness to continue and to worsen. This is not right, it is not excusable, but I suspect it will happen. It will be fantastic if it doesn’t but I suspect it will. The agony of the play offs will be a nerve-wracking time for all concerned and that will mean that people will get louder and nastier with their actions and comments to you personally if you dont delight them with results. Promotion will be an enormous weight lifted from everyones shoulders. We can breathe again at that point. We can start to put the embarrassment of the non-league years behind us and start to exist on level terms with others again. If you can do that then the easing of the pain and frustration will reduce the vitriol. You would be the manager who lifted Luton out of non-league. You wont quite be a hero, but you will have a notch on your CV you will have shown us that you can provide something to believe in. You would have given us that hope for the future. At present people are not quite sure. They want to believe, but until you actively demonstrate that you can deliver us from the fifth tier there will always be doubts. Get us out of non-league and the doubters will be on your side. They might still not trust you, or like you, but you will have shown that you can do it. You will have shown that you can achieve. If you can bear with us warts and all, we will bear with you. If you can deliver, the relief at the Kenny will be tangible, audible and worth (most of) the pain. Luton fans are fantastic friends but bloody awful enemies.
So I wrote this a week ago. Since then weve had two below par performances and only excuses not reasons for the poor performances. I dont know whats wrong with the team. I know theres no proper wing play and that the ball is being humped up the middle. We cant buy a goal. Somethings wrong.
Weve brought in-form striker after in-form striker, good midfielders and wingers and turned them into toothless tigers. Its like theres a blunting process that goes on where all of the form and sparkle a player was showing is gradually squeezed out of him – leaving him a shadow of his former self. Somehow we’ve been turning Alfa Romeos into Citroens. With the squad weve got we should be tearing sides at this level apart. But were bobbing along, not playing well, scraping through, but managing to do just enough.
This form isnt play-off winning form. Im not sure that everything is all right in the changing room, it cant be. Its not clicking. Its not just bad form, its something else.