WARNING: What follows is a rant I have been working on since the weekend and is written with my Phoenix tinted specks firmly on!!
So as mentioned over the week, a couple of articles caught my eye after reading the British Hockey Blog and then the following two articles by Mick Holland over at the Nottingham Evening Post.
Basically the Panthers have had a pretty rotten weekend with two below par performances. Now to have a go at the team is fair enough but saying that the league will suffer as neither Shuff or Nottingham are in the competition is just plain wrong. It is true that Shuff and Nottingham fans travel in larger numbers but surely as they are two teams with the largest ave home attendances the law of averages says more of their fans will travel?
Ok so you may not have headline 7,000 attendance games in the competition, but I can bet you that all the teams left in the competition will pull in pretty good crowds! Im sure at the Ice Dome we will see an above average attendances. When your club has success in a competition it compels people to take a look and see what the fuss is about!
Also as Shuff and Notts are out of the competition, it may not garner huge amounts of UK wide press, but I would argue, would it have done so anyway? Its not like the Shuff/Nottingham games make national press? More often than not its only the Shuff Star and NEP that cover those games! Plus we need to realise Hockey in the UK is a minority sport, you could argue that the only time the sport gets any UK wide coverage is when the Playoff Finals roll round! Speaking from a Phoenix perspective our continuing presence in the competition will help our club, and get it some local attention! We should be concentrating on getting each club noticed in their locales than trying on a national scale? In reality would a fan in Rosyth be bothered about a Phoenix game? No, we need to be getting that fan interested in the Caps, for the Phoenix we need to get the public of Greater Manchester and the NW interested in the team!
When will supporters and journo’s of the ‘larger’ clubs realise that they have no divine right to each cup competition. Just because neither Shuff or Nottingham are through in the challenge cup does not mean the league will be without money. It just means Shuff and Nottingham will make a little less money than before. As Paul in the British Hockey Blog has said, and something I take exception to, why is it that with Shuff and Nottingham out the competition it means there are no 'well supported' clubs left? How do you define a well supported club? As mentioned before lets say 10% of Shuff's ave home attendance travel to away games, that would mean 400ish travelling fans. By that equation 150ish Phoenix fans would travel to away games. Does that mean the Phoenix are not a well supported club? Also if we define well supported clubs as those with a large fan base, I bet if you worked out the percentage of filled seats on an average game in the House of Tin or the NIC I bet that percentage is similar to that of the Phoenix in the Ice Dome. You could argue that some clubs fill a bigger percentage of their home ice than either Nottingham or Shuff (thinking about Coventry here)! Again it all comes back to your definition of a 'well supported' club, sadly I think its still a case of people connected to Shuff/Nottingham having opinions above their station! So with that I say get off your high horse for once!
Sorry for this rant, but reading those articles really has annoyed me, I don’t expect you to agree but at least have a think about my comments! If you can be bothered after all that id love to hear your thoughts too!