Sunday, 14 February 2016

What if nothing changes this year?

We are effectively seven points from safety with 15 games left to play. We have picked up just 9 points from the last 14 games, so it will need a minor miracle to stay up on current form. We have failed to score in practically half of our games (15/31) and we are regularly watching home performances where we are creating less than five chances. Whilst I am praying for a flash of form, I am realistic enough to know that we are most likely going down. Assuming that to be the case, my biggest fear is what happens next?

Our club is a mess from top-to-bottom. Duchatelet's plans for exploiting FFP are in ruins and he is now left trying to break even and "be competitive." The break even means we are keen to cash in on assets when opportune to do so and it has seen the Club staff shrunk in numbers as well as experience with all that goes with it. We have closed the ticket office on Wednesdays as well as Thursdays and a move to on-line only ticketing is rumoured. Season Ticket numbers will plummet during the close season for a raft of reasons but not least because of the confrontational nature of the incompetent Belgian CEO. League One football will see much smaller visiting numbers and 'official' home gates will drop below 10,000.

The biggest issue as I see it, it that there is no sign that Roland Duchatelet will do anything to change the status quo. He acknowledged mistakes this week on a rare visit to SE7 but he believes the only problem is our league position and he appears to have no intention of changing anything. For me, that will almost quarantee our relegation. Things aren't right behind the scenes and the players know it. They have a ready made excuse and based on yesterday, they aren't bothered enough to change it. That and the fact that it's a small squad short on quality because of Duchatelet's break even strategy.

So, assume we go down, what happens next if Katrien Meire remains on the deck and break even remains the strategy? Well we can expect another merry-go-round of players as the ones with Championship ability move on and we gear down for League One. TV money will be almost non-existent and matchday running costs will need to be trimmed to fit smaller gates. There will be a bigger reliance on youth players which fits Duchatlet's strategy of bringing youngsters on for sale but hardly helps make you competitive, especially in the physically meaning League One. RD will be ready to try more players from his network and will more justified given the poorer quality of League One.

There will be a real and present danger that we will continue to struggle and could well find ourselves somewhere we haven't been before. Staring into the abyss of Division 4.

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