So, with the season just around the corner (it is, after all, just over a month until the first competitive games), it is time to look at what people are expecting from the team. this coming season.
Now for myself, I will be more than happy with a mid-table finish, a decent cup run, and an appearance at the play off weekend. Given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and how this has hit player recruitment/retention, I’d say that this is pretty realistic. Despite Tony hands knack for turning up superb imports, we are going to be somewhat behind the other “big clubs” in the British department, being heavily reliant on players like Archer to put up quite possibly the best numbers of his career thus far to maintain the broadly winning approach of our time in the EPIHL. I don’t think it is unfair to say we are lacking somewhat in firepower from our current (and I hasten to add), incomplete set of British forwards, but who knows how they will do. Maybe they will rise to the occasion, maybe not. Only actually playing the games will tell on that front.
As for other expectations? Well, I certainly expect smaller crowds. I’m going to guess we will average around 600 or so this season, possibly slightly more. From a fan’s perspective, the travel will be hard. I’m under no illusions about that. And it will be tough on the club, not only financially, but in terms of morale. But if any club can do it, we can. MK managed it very well (albeit in reasonably different circumstances) when they spent a year on the road.
And it isn’t only these expectations we need to manage. Far too many folks are seemingly placing unrealistic expectations on what the club can actually do with the current situation. These folks seem to believe that the club should change things based on the fact that face off times etc don’t suit them personally. The fact is, the club will meet everyone’s expectations when it comes to making this coming season as easy as possible. The best they can do, and indeed, we should expect is that they try to make things as easy as possible for as many of us as they can. If something doesn’t suit your personal needs, it isn’t the club “not listening”, or “ignoring the fans” as some would suggest. It is simply that it isn’t possible to meet your specific needs. I will be totally honest and say that playing out of Deeside is a pain in the arse for me. I’m up at 5.15am every Monday morning for work, so the last thing I need is to be getting home at gone 11pm on a Sunday. But there is quite literally bugger all I can do about it.
So, before you start chewing the club out for it’s decisions, take a deep breath, step back for a few minutes and think: Are they doing this to annoy the fans, or because they have no other option? I think you will find that it is the latter.