Fleet Life with Ed Miller: Current gloom does our season little justice
PUBLISHED: 18:06 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 23 August 2010
THERE we are then… another forlorn, empty season-ticket book lies discarded at my feet, along with the ever-bigger pile of thinning, greying hair that falls – or is torn – out with each passing year of following the Fleet. So, firstly, the inevitable po
THERE we are then... another forlorn, empty season-ticket book lies discarded at my feet, along with the ever-bigger pile of thinning, greying hair that falls - or is torn - out with each passing year of following the Fleet.
So, firstly, the inevitable post-mortem of the campaign just gone.
It was a disappointment to drop out of playoff contention, given the hopes for using the Trophy victory and increased player budget as a springboard for better things.
The Christmas period was especially bleak and the relegation scare something of a wake-up call, while the last two months was most unwelcome and had everyone wishing for the season to end.
That said, there were some great moments in between; the performance at Crewe - not to mention finally reaching the FA Cup first round again; the thrashing of Stevenage in the league; the beating of Wrexham in the Trophy quarter-final and the mini-revival of the semi-final, first leg were just some of the highlights.
And while the escape from relegation was not pretty, it was a brave, professional and monumental effort.
Indeed, were it not for the weather and the fixture backlog, it is doubtful whether a relegation battle would ever have come to light, and the final fortnight put the Fleet back at a more realistic, mid-table level.
That is not something we can dwell on for very long though, given what appears to be an imprecise future at Stonebridge Road. Noises from the club and MyFootballClub (MyFC) point to a miserly budget of approaching £4,000 a week, unless that can be forced back to 2006/07 levels by various ongoing, money-making schemes.
Early purchases of season and mini-tickets are encouraged to give the Fleet an extra cash injection ahead of fixing a budget for next term.
However, it is an inexact science and one that must be frustrating for Liam Daish and any players he is hoping to tie down - if, indeed, he is of a mind to be tied down himself at the time of writing.
The playing personnel's lap of honour on Sunday was a moment that we may replay in our heads in the coming months if that squad starts to unravel as the players look for more certain employment elsewhere.
This club must start living within its means yet, if necessary funds cannot be found to exist at Blue Square Premier level, then we are in for a very tough and austere season.
It's a bit of a downer on which to end, but let's just hope that what we, as fans, and MyFC, as owners, can do is enough to see us through 2009/10.
It cannot just be about squeezing more money out of everyone until the pips squeak, although I cannot think of another short-term solution - short of Canvey-style voluntary demotion, which would be a shame given the hard work gone into getting us to this peak.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Gravesend Reporter. Click the link in the orange box below for details.