Stop the madness before there are no supporters left
I ONCE had a friend who was stuck in the middle of a custody battle. He never knew what the next day held. He didn’t want to have to choose a parent. He didn’t want to hear their bickering. He didn’t want them washing their dirty linen in public. He just wanted to be a child. Harry Kenny and his players are that lost, despairing and vulnerable child.
They never want to see another statement as long as they live. They don’t want to know about Wicklow County Council. They don’t want to know about property plays. They don’t want to be the laughing stock of their peers through no fault of their own. They want to play football. They’re footballers so they should be let be footballers just like my friend should have been let be a child.
Since this atrocious mess began, the club have lost three matches on the spin. They’ve plummeted from third spot down to fifth. They had European ambitions. Now they’re peering over their shoulder at the relegation zone, circling just 10 beneath them. It was going to be a historic season at the Carlisle Grounds. It had so much promise. It had so much optimism. It didn’t last. Where once the flames of hope burned bright for all the nation to see, that flame now lies extinguished by the tears of laughter at the Co. Wicklow club’s demise.
Harry Kenny was the charming hero that plucked the club from the depths of trouble, hauling them up the table and smashing record as he did so.
This season he was going to go where no manager had gone before.
Rewind a few months and Kenny’s biggest grievance was that his side was conceding too many goals despite their place in the top three.
On Friday, when asked to sum up how Bray’s collapse had impacted him, he paused for breath.
There were a few deliberate moments of silence before he answered. Never before have I experienced such a heavy silence. His eyes told me my answer before his mouth could. He was a broken man. He has had to witness his dream being turned into a nightmare before his very eyes and he has been powerless.
The club he built from perennial strugglers to serious contenders in an extremely short space of time was falling apart. His dream is on a life support machine and his finger is hovering over the off switch.
By all accounts, the accounts are in order and the club will sail through to the end of 2017. The players are now expected to refocus and concentrate on their final nine league games plus whatever the FAI Cup may bring. That will be easier said than done.
They are the real losers here. They’ve had their world turned upside down in the last few weeks and they’ve had to watch on in sheer disbelief as their employers became infamous. That does little for job security or motivation.
Bray Wanderers may speak of rivalling Barcelona and Manchester United but right now a more realistic faith is the one suffered by Kilkenny United, Kildare Town and Monaghan United. Bray Wanderers have to walk before they can run.
They have to stop the madness before they run out of supporters.
Some of the Bray Wanderers supporters at the Carlisle Grounds last Friday night. Photo: Barbara Flynn