So. It is happening, seemingly. We were told it wouldn’t come to pass. We were told it was a lie told by our owner to fleece us. We were told that Manchester City Council were not even involved (and shown proof… but more on that later). And yet, here we are. We have a location (which many of us had guessed well in advance). We have plans. We have players. We (still) have a club.
Sure, it hasn’t been easy. Freezing Point have gone into liquidation. This isn’t great. It leaves people owed a fair old chunk of cash. And I’m not excusing that. The thought of people being left out of pocket rankles with me. But, trading whilst insolvent is illegal, so it isn’t as if Freezing Point actually had a choice in the matter. And, there is a very good chance (despite what some “informed” commentators will insist on telling you) that the creditors will see at least some of the money they are owed once the liquidator is done doing their job. The Phoenix has a new set of owners, yes they include Neil “the most evil man in British Ice Hockey” Morris. But they also include new partners. And new partners means new ways of doing business. Anyone who thinks that Neil won’t have taken lessons from the last 13 years is incredibly naive. This is a new start, and hopefully one which won’t see the mistakes of the past repeated.And if they are, believe you me, I’ll be right at the head of the queue telling Neil just how much he has screwed up.
So, the new rink. 1000 seats. 250 standing. Located in an old warehouse next to Sportscity. That strikes me as a damned good location. Transport links are excellent (tram stop just 10 minutes walk away, busses from the city centre stopping practically outside the door, right on the inner ring road). And more importantly it is a central location. For the first time since 2004, there will be a team operating in the heart of Manchester. Actually in the city itself. And by any definition, this is a “good thing”. Attracting people out to Altrincham was hard, Still is. Ask the Storm. It isn’t easy convincing people to travel out of a city. And 1250 capacity? Perfect for us right now. 800 people (which is the level I’d want attendance to reach next season) in a barn that size will look and sound far better than in a building twice the size. And yes, the council are involved. Just like we said they were. Sure, there was the FOI request the “proved” the council were not dealing with Freezing Point after April. They were dealing with the new company instead. Pity no one thought to research that, eh?
Naturally, reaction to this news has not been universally positive. The people who have been on our backs since last April (over on that forum) predictably sought to rubbish this news and to try and “rain on our parade”. Well, it hasn’t worked. People can hide behind their usernames, and pontificate all they want. Their “reliable” sources who were guaranteeing that we wouldn’t be accepted into the league and we had now rink were lying. For all the claims that I’m just Neil’s “mouthpiece”, there are a few on that site who maybe should look into a mirror and ask just whose mouthpiece they are? And for what it is worth, I believe the meeting on the 29th is a formality in the process and we will receive the required “rubber stamp” from MCC. I can’t imagine the council would have participated in the press release if they were going to refuse. That would make no sense whatsoever.
ANd as for those who are claiming this new rink will be “bad” for the sport? Really? Only a self serving idiot would think this. More rinks means better access to all ice sports for more people. This can only be a good thing. I’d suggest that far from being concerned about the sport as a whole these people are more concerned with any potential effects on their own club and their place in the sport. And that kind of selfish attitude is what has held the sport back in this country for years. Take a look at basketball. The clubs and the NGB are looking beyond their own self interest and enacting a strategy designed to help the sport as a whole grow, rather than focusing on how “Club X” can grow itself independently. This is the model we should imitate.
It has been a long, hard road getting to this point. I’ve suffered a lot personally. My health took a battering. My back pretty much gave out in January, as I was unable to cope with work and travelling to games. I spent a month at home unable to do either. And my depression took it’s toll. It’s real hard to see the positive things when you keep being told you are a “scumbag”, a “liar”, and worse. It brings you further down. Which affects how you react to others. I can see how my depression affected my interactions with others. it brought out my ugly side. And I don’t want that. If people want to discuss the Phoenix with me, that’s cool. But I won’t interact with people who just want to harangue me. My well being is far more important than that bullshit. And if you have to resort to insults, then experience has shown me (more so over the past 15 months or so than ever) then you know you can’t construct a logical argument to back up your opinion.
See you at the new rink.