Monthly Archives: October 2003

How a siege mentality drives customers away

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Over the year’s we’ve been big critics of the club and the way it almost seems to set out to deliberately alienate fans. Full credit to Dai Young for answering points raised by fans – this is a first – but once more, even when trying to take one step forward, the club has succeeded in taking two steps backwards.

Cardiff supporters are rightfully justified in feeling indignant about some dreadful performances by Cardiff under Dai Young’s leadership. Who can forget the humiliation at home to Northampton last season, the slaughter in Biarritz? Fans pay good money to follow and support the team and feel let down when substandard performances humiliate their efforts to be real fans.

So let’s look at Dai’s points.

  • “I don’t have to justify myself to anyone.” Criticism of Dai is not done by true Cardiff supporters.

Here begins the first lesson. Never ever openly criticise your customers. They “buy” your product, and pay your wages. You may think they are imbeciles and that you know far more about everything and anything than they do, but never EVER show an arrogant streak. Comments like, “I am answerable to the supporters”, “I fully understand the fans frustrations”, “We have to improve – and improve quickly” will find a more sympathetic ear.

  • “Critics of Cardiff have no sense of reality.”

Clearly Dai’s sense of reality is different from those who complain about Cardiff’s performances this season (and last). Cardiff fans believe defeating the worst team in the Celtic League, a team that conceded over 100 points in their previous two Celtic League games is a realistic expectation. Dai does not. What does that say about how low Dai is aiming this season?

  • “Putting Cardiff “on top” will not happen overnight.

We’ve seen a constant slide in Cardiff’s performances over the last four seasons. From European Quarter Finalists (hey! We even made the final, once!), to European no-hopers in the space of three to four seasons. What on earth makes Dai think that the fans are expecting to be “on top”? A win away to the worst team in the Celtic League would do fine for starters, and to arrest the constant decline would be nice. “On top”? That’ll be the day!

  • “When the full squad is available, things will turn around. I will not blame the players.

When the full squad is available, snow will fall in the Sahara. All squads have injuries. Well conditioned squads have fewer injuries. Draw your own conclusions. As for not blaming the players, well, a good coach would never say we lost because the players are rubbish. But, a smarter coach would say, “Our performances have been sub standard. The players know that if they do not improve, we will face severe problems this season.”

  • “Hardly any of the signings have played yet.

This is an interesting one. Fester has played and his crass behaviour let himself, the club and the supporters down. Gareth Williams hasn’t played because he was injured. Wasn’t this checked before he signed? Andy Moore took one games to get injured – conditioning? Why was Shanklin signed given the weakness elsewhere in the squad and the obvious fact he’ll barely play for Cardiff this season? Crompton – likewise – is another sick note specialist. Dan Baugh was offered a new two year contract. Why? Isn’t it obvious he’s past his best? Likewise for Matt Allen – both good soldiers for the club, but injured and lacking the impact of old.

  • “Last season, I didn’t see it (losing away from home) as a particular problem.

I really can’t follow this comment at all. Three words for your Dai – Northampton, Ulster and Biarritz. There, now please explain again why you can’t see this as a particular problem.

  • “True fans should take time to see what is happening at Cardiff.

How much time, Dai? Given the decline over the last four seasons, and this being your second year at Cardiff, how much time do you need to beat the worst club in the Celtic League?

  • “When the World Cup is over, we will be more than a match for anyone.

What at? Rugby? Come on Dai. Wake up! Every other team in the League will be strengthened. The vast majority have far more players at the World Cup than Cardiff!

 

I’m in a minority in that I’m prepared to give Dai the benefit of the doubt. Blaming him for the ills at the club severely misses the point. The comments made in the press show how poor the club is at speaking with supporters, and how incapable they are of attracting new ones. The lack of dialogue between fans and the club has worsened. As I’ve said before, familiar faces are no longer there on the terraces.

It’s about time the club came clean and stated it’s aspirations for this season, otherwise fans will become even more disenchanted with substandard performances against pretty dire opposition.

Good luck against Edinburgh, Dai! You going to need it!

 

Dai’s Comments

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“I don’t think I have to justify myself to anyone. I have been selected to do this job by Cardiff and by the Welsh Rugby Union. Such criticism is disappointing from people who call themselves Cardiff supporters. There is no sense of reality in terms of the expectations put on Cardiff these days.”

“I can understand their frustration, but we have only played three games. I know our supporters want us to be at the top and we are working extremely hard to do that. But it will not happen overnight. However, I am convinced that we will turn it around once we get the full compliment of our squad back.”

“I will not blame the players, I cannot question their attitude or their commitment. I find it remarkable people are saying we have not signed very well when hardly any of our signings have played yet.”

“So where is the evidence? Gareth Williams and Tom Shanklin have been with Wales and Gareth is now injured. Jonny Vaughton has played a friendly and is now injured, as are Andy Moore and Darren Crompton and Craig Quinnell is suspended.”

“As far as the away form goes I accept that in the two defeats we have had this year we were poor and extremely disappointed with ourselves.”

“But last season I didn’t see it as a particular problem and I am convinced we will turn things around.”

“I feel frustrated more than under pressure, but you don’t take this job if you cannot cope with pressure.”

“I have confidence in myself, the people I have got around me and the players. Although things have been disappointing and frustrating it is up to me and the players to prove the critics wrong.”

“We still had enough quality on the field to have won both those games. All I can say to the fans, the true fans, is to take the time to see what is happening at Cardiff to get a full picture.”

“Most of the pundits I have listened to think we have a poor squad. That’s their opinion but I disagree with it. I don’t know how they can say that when we haven’t had most of our signings on the field.”

“I believe, when we do get everybody fit and others back from the World Cup, we will be more than a match for anybody.”

Special thanks to the bois at the Western Mail for lifting ideas liberally from this site and getting Dai Young (CRFC) to answers questions raised here. (1) (2)

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