Values by Wandering
Everyone was relieved when the credits finally rolled at the culmination of last season. Similar to reaching the end of a traumatic biopic, it took a while for everyone who holds the club in esteem to absorb the problems that the Club faced. Had the trigger been pulled to spiral the Club towards the end game button? Well not quite, because our supporters are made of sterner stuff as the debate bubbled and frothed. It seemed in retrospect to re-energize the club’s fan base.
Increasingly as last season progressed, we witnessed the teams work ethic under Gavin’s leadership, their commitment and what the ‘values’ that existed at the club mean to everyone. All the supporters spoke of their ‘loyalty’ which confirmed the players integrity during the final 6 traumatic months of last season.
It became increasingly difficult for Gavin and Dean to implement their ‘philosophy’ as the players wages were cut, through no fault of the management or team.
After being reformed in 2010 and gaining 3 promotions, losing in three end of season play-off’s and winning the Southern League Cup the team were undoubtedly on an upward trajectory. We had an identifiable playing style, a manager universally backed by the fan base and a clear recruitment policy.
Some of the ‘values’ that have been associated with Gavin’s Martyrs were lost completely last season when the financial problems surfaced.
There is no stronger sense of brand identity than when your “stakeholders” identify your USP for you. ‘Progress through Stability’ eventually had mixed results of course, but generally speaking, the strategy had been easy to follow.
Finishing in a higher position each season became our “brand” for half a decade. An exciting team with shiny new facilities and a commitment to passing football that dreamed big and failed disastrously. Once the financial restrictions tightened, Gavin’s hands were tied behind his back.
The problems unearthed a few diamonds in the rough. We became an enigma, that required tactical astuteness to work with what we had.
The irony of course is that the Martyrs have actually become pretty good at dealing with adversity during this period, even in the absence of any clear ‘values.’ Even with the teams backs against the walls the supporters demonstrated their commitment to the cause by following the team on the road in significant numbers.
In isolation, the Club is entitled to say that the last few seasons have been far from a gritty life on the never, never. Regaining our Southern League status, promotion to the Premier Division and winning the Southern League Cup for the first time in over half a century. It’s far from terrible. These periods are remembered with such affection because there was a sense of a project or ‘values’ to feel attached to the Club.
For the Martyrs, the problems actually identified what needed to be done to find a footballing fidelity for the future. If we scratch below the surface, what the new Board now need to create is a set of core values, or a philosophy, for the fans to unite behind once again.