Oct 28 2009 Terrace Talk with Jim Milton, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
THE misery just goes on and on for Airdrie fans.
Saturday’s defeat at Palmerston was the fifth in a row for the Diamonds with Diarmuid O’Carrol’s late consolation against Raith the only goal scored during this abysmal run. Frightening statistics, and they get worse…
Four points from a possible 33; no win, including friendlies, since last season’s play-off semi-final against Peterhead which was 15 games ago if you exclude the friendlies. Our top scorer is way out in front with two goals. So where does Kenny Black go from here?
Nowhere has he received more backing than in this column but even here it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend a record that hesitates to add three consecutive play-off defeats to the above.
Please believe me, this is not the beginning of a witch-hunt against Kenny Black. There would be no-one more delighted than myself if he, as he repeatedly insists he is capable of doing, manages to turn it around. But, hand on hearts, how many of us share that belief?
The visit of second-bottom Ayr on Saturday is rightly hailed as a ‘must win’ for Airdrie, but even if we did sneak a narrow victory, could that develop into some kind of meaningful run that would see us, at the very least, pull ourselves back into the basement pack?
Again, Kenny’s previous record in stringing a handful of results together would suggest otherwise as, in the close to three years he has been in charge, he has only on a couple of occasions, certainly in Division One, managed three consecutive wins.
A fortnight ago, I argued that Kenny still had the backing of a fair proportion of the fans. I still believe this to be the case although numbers calling for his head, especially on fans’ forums and the like, appear to be swelling daily.
It’s difficult to gauge though. Back in the dark days of Jackie Stewart and Bill Munro, dissenters were easy to spot as they lay in wait at the old Broomfield pavilion to vent their anger at the beleaguered manager as he made his way back to the dressing room.
Today, fans have the tendency to vote with their feet. Witness the drop in attendance of around 200 between the visits of Inverness on September 19 and Ross County, a side carrying a comparable away support, four weeks later.
Sure 200’s not a lot, but when you can only attract 750 for another ‘must win’ game then this decline takes on a new significance.
How long before Albion Rovers are boasting bigger gates than their Lanarkshire neighbours?
Speculation abounds as to the length of Kenny’s current contract with some asking if the club could even afford to pay him off even if they wanted to.
Sadly, until this information enters the public domain we can only guess.
Kenny has said he won’t quit, and who can blame him in today’s economic climate, so Jim Ballantyne has some serious decisions to make over the coming weeks.
Surely he deserves our support rather than criticism. Likewise Black.
A change of manager may well be just what the club needs – more and more fans would appear to think so – but for all we know he could be here for a while yet.
Certainly the dispirited nature prevalent throughout the side at present isn’t helped by the players having their every error scrutinised and berated Saturday after Saturday.
Could some positive vibes from the stand not have a similar effect on the pitch? Worth a try?