Quite a provocative title I know, and please allow me a couple of minutes to explain the reasoning behind the title. As some of you good readers may know, a while back (link here) I published a post regarding a couple of articles published on the Nottingham Evening Post’s website following the Panthers elimination from the challenge cup. As you may remember my main beef with that article was that the journalist (find journo’s name) said that with the Panthers out of the competition that left no ‘well supported’ clubs left. I then knocked up a post trying to explain why I felt that was a shocking and ignorant comment. No doubt many of you will have disagreed with it, some may agree with me but hey in the end who cares!
So have you a cup of tea and a biscuit ready? We shall begin…….
Today’s post stems from Mr Simms regular piece in the Powerplay magazine. Before we begin I must point out that this article has not just now convinced me of Mr Simms toolness. I have thought that he is a tool for many years now! There are other words I could use, but I want to keep this a family friendly blog, so Tool will have to suffice.
Those of you who read the magazine regularly will have noticed the comment but for those who don’t here it is:
‘Here is one for you. The top four. They are all nailed on now as being the top four. I don’t think the top four will be the final four in the playoff’s. I hope they are because that will make for a better finals weekend’
The operative bit being that last sentence, in my mind this is a prime example why the rest of the league despises this man and the top four. This coupled with the sentiments in the NEP a couple of months ago just re-enforce the view that those connected with the top 4 are ignorant. Ok so I guess you could argue that my beef really is with Shuff and the Panthers, I just think that with both teams, their long histories etc…they have an ingrained belief that they deserve to win everything.
As with my post regarding a ‘well supported’ team I would argue that having the top 4 at the finals in Nottingham would not produce a better finals weekend! Who remembers the Shuff games last year, they were hardly exciting! I include the final in that comment! Ok so last year we had the Giants/Shuff/Coventry and Cardiff (so 3 of the ‘big’ 4). I don’t, and im sure many other fans, remember that weekend as being a shining example of all that’s great about UK hockey. I remember that weekend for all us Phoenix fans having a laugh, chanting our own chants along with all the other teams fans who were not there! Who else loved all the mascots getting in fights at the stage end and being silly? It was a cracking weekend, but not because of what was on the ice!
I would even go so far as to say a finals weekend without the top 4 may produce better hockey! There has been comments on both the Cage Forum and Shuff forum, at times, saying this player is not putting effort in or that player needs to kick it up a gear. I get the feeling they expect to make the finals weekend and when there, expect to win! This does not get the best out of a player! But if you take any of the other 4 teams who will qualify, I can guarantee you those players will work their socks off, strain every sinew, give 120% to get to the finals weekend, and when there will give blood/sweat and tears for every second! In the end the top 4 will always win trophies, the other 6 won’t! So when the ‘other 4’ make the finals weekend they will give more for the win!
Its for this reason I think a finals weekend without the ‘top 4’ would produce better hockey, as It means more to those clubs.
Then there’s the usual argument that the ‘top 4’ clubs will bring more fans to the finals weekend, yes they do, and it is true that if their teams don’t make it not as many fans will come/ I do, however, genuinely believe any fans of the ‘top 4’ who don’t come can be replaced by fans of the other 6! Just look at this years event, both Manchester/Newcastle teams have been given far less tickets than the finals weekend in 2008. This is utter madness, Manchester sold out their allocation in a day, near as damn it! The Phoenix have had to go back to the league to get another block opened up!
Its this kind of attitude from EIHL towers that sickens me, what was wrong with the allocations used in 2008? Have Manchester/Newcastle suddenly lost hundreds of fans? Both clubs season ticket base could have sold out their allocations and then some! Add to this the Devils, they always bring a large support from Cardiff! I don’t claim to have, or know, the answer but a little fairness would be appreciated!
Anyway after all that I got a little diverted towards the end there! I hope you have read my little rant with an open mind! As with my post about the NEP articles your more than welcome to put my ravings down to ‘just another small club fan etc….’ but I honestly believe that the ‘other 6’ clubs in the league are not given the respect they deserve by some clubs, and those in power at EIHL towers!
Final word about Mr Simms, while I detest the man with my every being, I am big enough to know that there are few, in this sport, who work harder or do more things to promote hockey in this country! For this reason I respect the man, but he is still and ignorant tool!
Sorry if that got a bit rambling towards the end, but I hope it was an entetaining read!
p.s. On the topic of the Hockey Finals weekend, you must keep reading the blog and the others linked over on the right. There are things in the works between the various bloggers/fan sites to bring you the most comprehensive preview/game interviews and reviews never seen before in UK hockey!
The Angry Budgie aims to be part of it, and in the run up to finals weekend along with more information on the fan coverage ill put together my own weekend preview! So hope you enjoyed the read, and as ever, support your local club!