THE ENVIRONMENT undoubtedly influences the imponderables. The environment can be described as the sensation and disposition of the fans, the city and the press surrounding the team. Real Murcia’s environment is usually a disaster. We are talking about a city that will change rapidly to a new club if they are successful. A city that named streets in honour of a negative and damaging journo. A local press that in some cases will report negatively about Real Murcia in clear discriminatory treatment when compared with other teams in the city. A fanbase (those that say “I’ll only go when we are in Primera”) who always find reasons not to support. Another fanbase (those that do bother to go) that observe in silence a wayward shot by a visitor, but who rise and splutter sunflower seeds and insults when the shot is by a home player. They don’t seem to realize the damage this can do to a player’s confidence. A city where being a Real fan is to be in the minority. Where youth teams have to endure shouts of “going down going down going down” in nearby villages or even in neighbourhoods of the city itself. A bad environment that leads to a very negative balance on the imponderables. Right now Real Murcia’s environment is very sick.
Turning such an environment around sounds like an almost impossible job. Everyone (those that make up the environment) always blame everyone else for the clubs historic mediocrity. It’s always the president. Always the players. And that’s true to an extent. Nobody is going to learn anything new about the modern player. But the presidents have never been able to use the environment in a positive way, and it is the president that should put everything into guiding the environment. In this respect we are almost dead. Some things are done, but it is at best intermittent.
· I don’t really care if the PRESIDENT of Real Murcia is from Madrid, Murcia or Uzbekistan. It isn’t that important. What is important is the way they run the club. Guiding the environment has many keys, and is a long and committed job. But the president, first and foremost, needs to act like one.
· Club appointments should be on basis of merit, not because of family ties. Responsibilities need to be delegated to professionals in each section. The CEO of the company needs to be able in every section, but only act when a decision is above the responsible persons remit. He has the last word. Assume responsibility and act when any appointed person fails to live up to expectations.
· There should be, starting with the president, an example of commitment. It just can’t be that Real Murcia is the enemy in Murcia, and that in youth and even infants football they only find enmity wherever they go. For me the president needs to turn up unannounced at such games. Get to know the parents. Shake lots of hands and learn about other clubs and develop relationships with them. Sow the seeds.
· That great care of relationships with political institutions, the press, players and fans. If you have to invite the press to whatever, then do so. If the players see a committed president, whose door is always open, that can’t be negative. The treatment of the fans must be improved. More dedication to create different zones with distinct pricing and also to take care of your future paying public. Make best use of Real’s most important asset; the faithful fans. There are capable people that are more than willing to collaborate freely. I am.
· Forget about your ego, the earnings for your business or for you image. All that will look after itself with success on the pitch.
· Protect the image of real Murcia and its crest. It seems we are not proud of it. Our new stadium is now falling into disrepair. Thing don’t get fixed (the now famous N, the cracked esplanade covered in weeds, the torn and threadbare flags). There are no details that make the stadium singularly Real Murcia’s – from the motorway, thousands of cars pass each day, whose occupants say “I wonder who plays there?”. We have the whole of the outside of the lateral free to shout proudly…..REAL MURCIA PLAY HERE!
I think these are some of the keys for a president that wants to take the club to relative stability. The current occupant offers very little of this. I’m sure that success is someway due to good practices. With current policy, we could fluke a good year, but constancy and resolve are what will give long term stability, and to step out of the relegation escalator. So that if we go down (it is always a possibility), it doesn’t have to be a drama, but just another part of football, and doesn’t have to see the townspeople abandoning the team and swearing never to come back.
This season’s result was quite easy to foresee. Back in August I wrote that, despite the owners claim that the team was ready to fight for a playoff place “Maybe it is a good idea not to have high expectations, despite Samper's claims. I can't see such a change in direction that will miraculously transform us from strugglers (look at the last 5 seasons) into promotion hopefuls”. The horrible “I told you so”. Sorry. We need change.
Real Murcia – Las Palmas, Nueva Condomina, Saturday 8th June, 6 p.m. Before the game there is a protest against the actual owner and president. I hope it is numerous and noisy. We need to learn from our mistakes. Both Mr Samper and everyone (including the fans). After that, don’t forget that the 3 points in play could be vital.