Free Fallin’

Game 23

Dundalk 1-2 Drogheda

It’s been a brutal week.

The seeds of this current predicament were sown quite a long time ago and they’re now coming to bare the unthinkable. Dundalk are second from bottom. And they deserve to be.

When you think that a couple of years ago, the idea of Dundalk being second from top was a disaster it really highlights just how spectacular this fall is becoming.

And I’m using the present tense because this fall is still happening and we won’t be sure we’ve hit the bottom until…well…I guess we’ll know it when we get there.

There’s been talk of over reactions, there’s been talk of blame, there’s been lots and lots of talking. From myself, from podcasters, from local and national journalists, but not from the top. A statement of intent from the owners will not arrest this slide but it might just give us the tiniest glimmer of clarity in what is becoming a truly nightmare season.

Not even a glimmer of hope but a glimmer of clarity. At this point would you even believe a statement saying they’re completely committed to the club when they have seemingly done all in their power to reduce costs and shrink the club to the point of inconsequence?

In previous weeks I have tried to give the benefit of the doubt to a squad of players who were no doubt giving their all in European competition but who failed to recreate those levels in league form.

I found it very difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt on Friday. In isolation, everyone can lose a football match and the match itself can be studied and the reasons for that defeat can be analysed and worked on but when it’s three on the bounce and the reasons we all accepted for poor performances in the previous two aren’t there any more what’s left to blame?

Yes we have injuries, yes we lost players pre match and during the match and we don’t know how many of the boys are running on empty or playing through injuries. But we have let numerous players leave and have not replaced any of them.

This isn’t even about the players who left in the winter time to go to Tallaght or elsewhere. That’s it’s own issue. But we’ve let players leave during the season and whatever you think of the quality of those players, they were allowed to leave and they have not been replaced leaving the squad, which was imperfect to say the least to begin with, lacking in basic numbers and incapable of dealing with injuries or international call-ups or Covid related issues.

I was happy to see an attempt made by the supporters club to contact the owners but I quickly realised how little I expected by way of a response.

There won’t be a statement explaining why we’re in this position. There won’t be a statement apologising for gutting the squad and cutting costs. There won’t be a statement explaining any of the truly baffling decisions made over the past year and a half.

If we hear anything from them what do you think it will say? The most likely outcome will be a bland, inoffensive, tick the box type of statement.

“We are very much committed to Dundalk fc, we have listened to your concerns and are doing everything we can to return this great club to where it belongs at the top of the SSE Airtricity League and back into European Competition. The club and Vinny need your support so let’s get behind the team and we look forward to seeing you in Oriel soon. Mon the Town.”

That literally took two minutes to write.

It has been a brutal week, in a brutal season. We are still falling and we don’t know where the bottom will be but it would be nice if on Friday night we didn’t speed that journey up by embarrassing ourselves against St Mochtas.

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