Stop the mad­ness be­fore there are no sup­port­ers left

Bray People - - SPORT -

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

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