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March 2011 Chat With Frank

The scientist Marie Curie once criticised herself by saying:”One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done”.

It’s probably applicable to many of us at the club, both on and off the pitch - we can’t help but focus on what we haven’t done well, rather than on that which we have achieved. Don’t worry this isn’t a clever way of avoiding difficult questions concerning our recent drop in form, but merely the foundation upon which we should reflect on these lapses.


I read the forum and talk with supporters, so I do know the depth of feeling and frustration that our performances over the past few games are causing. What I would like us to remember is that these are the same players who got our season off to such a great start, so I don’t believe commitment is an issue. I understand that for some supporters this may appear to be the case, but if there were such players at the club, we would not waste precious time on such individuals. Players and coaches alike truly appreciate the huge support you give them, especially the time, money and distance given up to follow the club.

James likens his plan for the development of the squad at Pontypool to climbing Everest and ascending through various camps on the slope to reach the summit.

First of all therefore, our ambition cannot be questioned – ascending the highest peak in the world, sets out our stall of wanting to achieve. That said, it is the highest peak, so needs those climbing to be ready, able and motivated – which is not going to happen overnight. Our preparation for this climb could not be faulted (as many of you have said yourselves) during the pre-season campaign.

We hit the lower slopes of the mountain full of enthusiasm and belief – and those early match successes were the result. Unsurprisingly, we need more than just enthusiasm and belief, as we ascend the higher slopes. The environment becomes more hostile and the terrain gets tougher. Does this mean we decide to walk back down and give up? Of course not, we need to draw breath, to re-group and take stock of the situation and the challenges ahead.

OK enough of the mountain analogies.

What I am trying to say is that players, coaches and supporters don’t need to panic and think all is lost. This is an understandable and expected short term blip. I’m not being complacent, because remember: A third of the squad took us through the first Great Escape and most of the current squad completed the second Great Escape last year. So I’m not worried about commitment and ability – frankly, we’re in unknown territory watching others fight out a relegation battle.

So here it is - no smoke, no waffle:
Recent results – unacceptable; recent performances – unacceptable. However: Commitment – total; passion – total; ambition – total.

Another area flexing the grey matter of supporters has been the recent rise in the cost of a field ticket to £8. It’s simply a matter of economics. There hasn’t been a rise in ticket prices for over two and half years. However, with the recent VAT rise, the increase costs from the council etc, we have had no choice but to review our ticketing prices. The easiest way to administrate the higher cost was through the field ticket. Field concessions remain at £5 and for an extra £2 a seat in the stand is available.

As I mentioned in my programme notes, the club is now almost self sufficient in terms of covering its running costs. By that I mean, that before we came on board there was a heavy dependence on a single benefactor to put money into the club (with the inherent risk – as you are all too aware – of that benefactor leaving the club). Now, through innovative sponsorship and membership schemes, the club is no longer beholding to one individual.

Sponsorship is always a time consuming affair, but it is at this time of year with kit deals available for renewal and matches to plan in for the forthcoming season that the real work starts. We will be holding an evening next month for existing and future sponsors, so if you know of interested parties, please watch the site for details. We are also teaming up with a marketing company that matches sponsors with those seeking sponsorship. Through this we will broaden our sponsorship base further – more details to follow.

So plenty of work ahead both on and off the pitch.

I started with a quote, so it would be good and structured prose to end on one.

Albert Einstein once said:” I never think of the future, it comes soon enough”.

Amen to that one Albert!