I don’t want to dwell too long on last night’s rugby union. My favoured club Gloucester appeared devoid of ideas and inspiration and lost heavily to a Wasps outfit that appeared mediocre and below par itself. It was, by a margin, the worst Wasps side I’ve seen at Kingsholm and they had the city on toast. Alas, I’m finding myself more and more adrift from the Gloucester club and am beginning to question why I continue to proffer it my support. Almost everything that I loved about the Kingsholm culture has either disappeared or been dramatically diluted as the years have passed. Back in the day I relished the genuinely witty and passionate crowd, heralded the committed, brave, steely (and defiantly local) characters on the park, and soaked up the history, the heritage, the uniqueness, the insouciant us-against-themness of the scene. What brings me to the terraces nowadays apart from force of habit? On Friday, the lack of imagination displayed by the players was overwhelming. I don’t doubt that several of the team were proud to wear the colours and demonstrated significant endeavour and enterprise but, alas, a tangible lack of game plan and a dubious selection of key players out of position stymied the city club’s attempts to win the fixture.
I envy the Saracens club from the south-east and I ne’er thought I’d type those words. They possess a coach with true vision, intelligence and an ability to think outside the box (our leader has an inability to think outside the box-kick) and has transformed an underachieving rabble into a real force in English rugby. The Gloucester club could really do with a Brendan Ventner; anyone with imagination or verve or creativity would be an improvement on the current regime, a team that dominated last season’s failure-dominated management structure but yet still, somehow, clings to power. I can see this proving a watershed season for my favoured team. Relegation is certainly possible and, I confess, an outcome that may not haunt this scribe too much. A season in the second tier did not seem to do Harlequin FC or Northampton any harm and this supporter would welcome the chance to rebuild the club’s infrastructure, shed the overpaid dross that permeates our squad, rediscover some of the values that drew me to Kingsholm in the first place, and allow a new and lively coaching panel (led by the ebullient Mark Mapletoft) to instil wit and excitement into our play. As things stand I care less and less with every defeat and I’m becoming worryingly laissez-faire about the present woes. I’m no recent arrival or fair weather fan and the organisation should note my increasing disappointment with and, sadly, lack of interest in a club I’ve supported for over thirty years.