Preston North End Fans’ Panel: John Smith has stopped believing in North End hierarchy
In the international break the press releases, radio interviews and podcast appearances galore of our company director made sure that the current situation at Deepdale remained the main topic of our football discussions.
There is no doubt that Mr Ridsdale is a good speaker as well as being experienced in the financial business world of running clubs, as illustrated by his past involvements with Leeds, Barnsley, Cardiff and Plymouth.
However, instead of trying to rouse some of the apathetic and disillusioned fans with a Churchillian, Dunkirk spirit-type of speech, he chose to use his media road show to air his own distorted views on the manager, recent team performances and “his” signings, insisting there was nothing wrong at the club and that any criticism from fans was unfair. In my opinion these statements have only further divided the growing rift between his supporters and some fans who have much different opinions on those subjects.
Before kick off his comments still provided the main pre-match talking points although our thoughts were also turned back to a magical game against Cardiff, when coincidentally Ridsdale was their chairman in April 2009 in which a 6-0 win had helped Alan Irvine’s side to what still is our last appearance in the play-offs at this level.
Those heady days now seem a world away from the current apathetic climate surrounding the club. After flying out of the traps we took the lead with less than two minutes on the clock and it looked like both the team and fans were going to get a much-needed lift.
Up until half-time we played some neat, controlled football and it never looked like we would lose the game.
However “as if by magic” like a bowler-hatted Mr Benn who had visited the magical costume shop, Cardiff stepped out after the interval as a completely different outfit full of adventure and soon turned the game around with what I considered to be two poorly defended set-piece goals. A
fter this we never looked like equalising with McAvoy’s substitutions being totally ineffective.
At the end of another miserable day we exited the stadium to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believing “ but to be honest under the current regime, I personally stopped believing a while ago.