Updated: Jun 11
As the last chords of ‘No Fun’ rang out at The Sex Pistols show at Winterland in San Francisco, a defeated and disconnected Johnny Rotten flatly uttered the immortal phrase ‘Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?’ into the microphone just before leaving the stage. The band broke up and the punk dream (along with the bass guitarist) died not long after.
As a Watford fan it’s easy to empathise enormously with Mr Rotten’s final prophetic words, especially in the light of all that’s happened over the past few seasons. Watford fans do feel cheated. Cheated in particular this season by a squad that doesn’t appear to want to be competitive in matches; cheated by a board in charge at Watford that appears to be trapped by a siege mentality; and cheated by a comms team underneath the top hierarchy that insists on not reading the room before pressing ‘send’.
This has all contrived to create a schism between the club and the fans. A lot of this ill feeling could be alleviated by simply opening up a dialogue. This then brings us round to the new Supporters Committee. We discussed on a recent podcast the background to our involvement in being in the room at the inaugural meeting, but for those that haven’t listened to it yet the bullet points are:
We approached the club with the idea to do a fans forum/host a podcast where anyone could ask Scott Duxbury questions
We were told that such ideas were unlikely but we asked if would be interested in being part of smaller focus groups - to which we obviously said yes
There was a lot of silence for a while
An email inviting DNSYE to a (read these words carefully, please) SUPPORTERS CONSULTATION CONSTRUCT hit the inbox
You are probably aware of what has followed on from there. More bad feeling, a terrible handling of the communication regarding the first meeting and ultimately an even bigger divide. For the record, DNSYE still don’t see why the club won’t hold fans forums, and as yet haven’t been given a suitable reason why there won’t be any going forward. These meetings may seem old fashioned but they gave everyone a chance to have a voice, regardless of how long they had supported the club. This seems like a fair and ‘family oriented’ way of doing things. DNSYE will always advocate the best way for fans to interact directly with the football club is via such occasions. However, we now have this bizarre compromise; a ‘Supporters Committee’ that either by accident or design doesn’t satisfy any of the stakeholders. Anyone outside this committee rightly feels excluded and those inside it feel as if the 320 from Berry Lane has driven over them after being pushed in its path by the official comms team. So what happens now? Well, despite requests from a few quarters DNSYE has absolutely no desire to detach from this committee. It’s impossible to be a voice for the fans if you’re not at the meetings isn’t it? Obviously this requires a level of trust on behalf of our listeners that we will a) report back what is said at these meetings accurately b) that DNSYE remains objective and critical of the club as and when necessary and c) we bring what we believe to be the burning issues to the meetings. All of which we plan to do. We know it’s not ideal, but it’s where we are. Trying to make the best of a bad situation is after all a very Watford way of doing things. DNSYE will continue to keep an open dialogue with fans of Watford FC via the podcast and social media channels to ensure that the hot topics are brought up at future meetings. We are in your corner, here - we’re fans too. Fans incidentally that have never considered themselves to be any different or of a higher standing than any other. We sit in seats purchased by hard earned money and report back our feelings via a podcast that has actively included fans from day one; whether it’s by asking them to provide questions for guests via ‘punters questions’, recording podcasts with other fans or opening up live Twitter Spaces where anyone can have their say about the club to a live audience (that last point sounds a bit like an old fashioned fans forum doesn't it?).
Don’t worry, we share the same concerns as you do and will continue to plough on despite the turmoil this committee has caused. Never mind the bollocks, here’s DNYSE