Game 21

Dundalk 1-4 St Pats

I don’t think any of us really needed a sobering reminder of how difficult it can be to manage a long European run but we got one on Sunday.

Mistakes, tiredness, concentration levels, whatever the reasoning behind the result is, it shouldn’t have come as shock to any of us. Seventh played second and the team in second bided their time and waited for the team in seventh to expose why they are in seventh place.

Performances have improved and it feels unfair when assessing the job that Vinny Perth has done since he returned to exclude the European games and the performances in those games but we are still in seventh at the end of the day.

While we are in seventh, a positive minded person will point out having games in hand on the teams above us and how with a couple of good results we should move up the table and get closer to the European places. A negative minded person would be looking at Waterford.

After the game on Sunday, Vinny took issue with some rumours that were circulating about the club and cutbacks at the club. We shouldn’t expect him to appear in post match interviews and bury his employers and it is, I guess, part of his job to deflect attention from them and on to other things.

We see managers do this all the time in every level of football, we shouldn’t be surprised and personally I don’t mind him trying to squash rumours. He’s not going to come out and say ‘yeah, the clubs fucked’ is he?

If however, he is angered at the level of attention the club gets from the local press and from the handful of podcasts covering them, just wait and see what happens if we lose on Thursday and then lose on Sunday at Derry.

That fact that we are still awaiting clarity on the ownership situation, from the owners themselves is why the papers and podcasts are talking about it.

The fact that officially there are alarmingly few players and staff members signed up beyond the end of the season is why the papers and podcasts are talking about it.

The fact that things are so bat-shit crazy at Oriel right now that there is no rumour too crazy for us to believe is true is why the papers and podcasts are talking about it.

We’ve all noticed that Vinny is the only one publicly refuting rumours. The silence from those above him has been magnified by this.

If we got answers to questions, if we could see some signal that these issues weren’t as big as we think they are and as big as they appear to be then, we may not be happy with the answers we get, we would no longer be in this limbo where next season is one giant question mark.

The majority of fans are in a satisfied place right now. They’re not happy with how things are but they’re satisfied with where we are on the pitch and how the team is playing. If another couple of results go against us then that satisfaction will turn and more and more people will ask more and more questions.

Even today there are more rumours that I’m sure will be addressed and there will be an attempt to calm fears but over the course of the season a lot of the rumours that have been gone around have ended up becoming true.

In an ideal world when we hear rumours of impending departures or problems behind the scenes we would be able to dismiss them and say that’s not how our football club is run. But we can’t can we?

There is a story that comes to mind that I heard on Fantasy Football with Frank Skinner and David Baddiel back in the day. Alan Ball had been sacked as manager of Manchester City and he blamed the local press for getting him the sack. The response from the press was “well, we had to print the results Alan.”

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