The Roland Harris Column

Tuesday 16 April, 2002

What have the Richmond's ever done for us?

Summing up City off the pitch in 2001-2002 you got the feel that the fans are in real trouble of splitting in two over the issue of Geoffrey Richmond.

For Geoffrey Richmond and against Geoffrey Richmond.


If your in favour of Richmond, if you back him, you probably point to the time since he arrived and say "He took us up two divisions, he can do that for us again". You might say that he made a couple of bad decisions in the Premiership that got us relegated but counter balance that will the 100s of good decisions he has made that have delivered us Premiership football, for a while, and a fine 22,000 seater stadium.

You would also say that without GR's work at City we would be an also ran in football, stuck in the middle of second division as football went on around us. We have a seat at the table now, and that's down to GR.

You would also say that GR got City in the middle of the second and a tonne in debt and while we are above that mark, he is doing well.


If you are against GR you look at the City chairman and say "He has lost it". He did well getting us up to the Premiership but his style is too dictatorial and his methods to abrasive. He is a control freak, you might say, and pushes out ofthe good people just to get his way. You'd say he got rid of two great manager's in Paul Jewell and Jim Jefferies, and appointed yes men.

You'd say that Richmond should let the club spend more. You'd say that the stewarding on the kop is too harsh and that that is GR's fault. You'd point to this season and say that while you know that GR did not put in the bad displays himself, he has not provided the leadership he used to and that that shows on the field.

The truth

The truth is that some of both these opinions are true. GR did not go into the season providing the leadership he had, it did seem like he was backing off to give Jim Jefferies room, but it's also true to say that if City had done what the vocal minority that booed GR suggested and spent money on players thenwe would be in real trouble now the ITV Digital deal has gone belly up.

As it stands we are reasonable comfortable. Yes we will suffer from the deal going, but we are prepared in a way other clubs are not. I think that as club's shead shed loads of players to balance the books City are sitting pretty. We have a smaller squad and can sign up on frees lots of quality that is being released. GR is responsible for putting us in that position.

I am a confirmed GR supportter. I admit it. But when I'm supporting GR I often end up arguing for things that I don't really beleive, because aguring against them is anti-GR. This is where the split is happening. City fans are taking stands on issue they don't believe in just to back their cause pro or anti GR.

What we need to do is to decide what we want out of City. What we want the club to do, and back that. It's my opinion that if we as City fans were to draw up a wishlist for the club that GR would be on the way to doing it. We would want good football, young players, youth development, cheaper price initiatives... Most of these things are on track at VP thanks to GR.

But there will be other things that are not and on those things GR should be pulled up.

What we see now is GR being pulled up for any and everything that he can be by some, and championed for everything by the others but along the way people are forgetting what is good or bad for City.

It's time to stop arguing about GR and start arguing about City. What do we think the best way forward for City is? That should be the question that we mull over in the summer.

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