“The Bogend Forum for Tooting and Mitcham Utd FC fans”

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18/4/2023 2:20 pm  #1

New Blog.... This is the end.

Well, the mighty Toots finally confirmed their relegation during the Easter period. Little sign of any type of fight back or intervention from the Football Gods who obliviously decided they had finally had enough of us and banished TMUFC to whatever step five league we get placed in. Such a sad end for the supporters and volunteers who have helped so much this season. 91 years of History and Tradition now gone. I believe the club had one of the longest runs in the Isthmian League and now the supporters can look forward to going to grounds were most of the crowds will be in double figures. The huge effect on match day income and sponsorship will mean less money coming into to fund the team. Imagine being involved with arranging sponsorship from local businesses after the last two seasons we have had. Now try and imagine being the poor sod who has to run the Official Twitter page and other social media platforms. Tooting and Mitcham are often mentioned as being “Sleeping Giants” in the world of Non-League Football. One that can be better described as being in a coma after sniffing glue and doing LSD for a couple of decades. It could be rightly said the club has been in decline for many years but the drop down into Step 5 of the Footballing Pyramid is a new low for the club.
My last game of this season was the home defeat to Leatherhead. Once big rivals and games to look forward to when the fixtures come out. They had an awful start to the season, but they made changes and bought new people in early enough to make a difference and finished just outside the play off places.  Leatherhead supporters making up most of the crowd at Fortress Imperial as much of our support have given up on this campaign and stayed away. I personally have missed more games this season than in the past 12 since I first started coming regularly. I had far too many weekends ruined by results and bad performances to put myself and Mrs H through much more. She is the one who has to put up with mine and Ants miserable faces and deserved a break.
 I said way back in October last year that the club had major problems. Concerns were raised by the Supporters Club in the form of an open letter put out in November. I know people involved with the Members Club spoke up and of course not forgetting the fans who watch games from the stands and terraces who also voiced their opinions. Emails were sent and supporters spoke to those in charge in person and by phone.  All seemingly to be ignored by those who could have changed things earlier on in the same way Leatherhead did.
Official and unofficial social media accounts and WhatsApp groups are full of in fighting. Many rightly questioning the direction or more to the point, lack of direction the club is taking. The police were at the ground for the Leatherhead game. I take it, thinking there would be protests and possible crowd trouble but apart from two banners and the Bog End Choir vocally calling for change the afternoon was peaceful…. Which is more than could be said for the social media side of things as Ex Players, Supporters, Academy Pupils and Club Officials fought keyboard battles with each other. A number of Ex-Players are in contact with our supporters and are often speak with them. In other words, many of us in the stands and on the terraces possibly know far more than the Club thinks we do.
I have had a number of conversations with various people telling me that “We” (The Supporters) need to work together with those in charge and that “We” (The Supporters) need to get more involved and that “We” (The Supporters) voices are important and are valued. If this is the case…. Why were “We” (The Supporters) totally ignored, and our views disregarded. I also know a number of fans who have stated they have had enough and will not bother going to games until there is a radical shake up behind the scenes. We’ve lost enough fans as it is over the last few years. To lose even more when things could have been avoided if action had been taken will have a huge effect on match days. TMUFC seem to take their supporters loyalty for granted as if fans will turn up on matter what. I think they are in for a shock next season and of course only have themselves to blame.
If we go into next seasons campaign with the same naivety, stupidity, and total contempt for everything and everybody at Fortress Imperial, we will be in for a very hard time ahead. Of course, the aim will be to come straight back up, but don’t be like many I’ve spoken to, daft enough to think that we will have an easy ride in Step Five. The Combined Counties have some very strong sides who will take a great deal of pleasure and local pride in putting one over on a club like Tooting and Mitcham.  I’ve seen a few Raynes Park Vale games and it looks as if they will swap places with us to become the big Non-League club in Merton. Their opposition in the games I’ve watched have looked more than capable of handling games in Step 4 and more than capable of giving us problems. Lots of very physical sides and frankly dreadful match officials. Plus look at resent cup fixtures against teams below us in the Footballing pyramid and check out the results…. Not good is it. Something to think about when we’re walking along side the busy A3 as lorries and fast cars go hurtling past to go and watch as play at Colliers Wood ground or walking through the dark dangerous cemetery as we make our way to see games at AFC Croydon’s ground, or waiting at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere waiting for a strange, coloured bus to drop us off 3 miles away from somewhere that makes South Parks ground look like Wembley Stadium.
What has happened has happened. You can’t change history, although, it is possible to re write it years after the event. But I doubt if anyone will be able to put a spin the 2022 – 23 season into anything other than a total balls up. You can however learn from history. This is the lesson those in charge will need to take onboard if they want the club to regroup, rebuild and grow. We deserved to go down, no ifs or buts. A handful of good games far outweighed by some frankly embarrassing matches. I’ve said many times that our last relegation from the Isthmian Premiership down into the South-Central galvanised fans into helping out and we were able to turn things around off the pitch and make the most of a bad situation possibly turned out to be a good thing. But many of the fans who jumped in and volunteered back then have gone. Social Media accounts started up, now gone. Interest in the team locally now gone. Interest from local news groups gone. All of it was avoidable.
The paragraph below is taken from a previous blog….
“There are people at the club who must now look at themselves in the mirror and look at their own role in this car crash of a season. Do they fully understand the part they themselves have played in the club’s demise. Is their lack of self-awareness of the dreadful situation that was allowed to take place on their watch gone straight over their heads. Supporters’ concerns raised earlier on dismissed as if their views were not important. People spoken to as if they were employees not fans. If we were shareholders in a company going through such a dreadful spell, would they still be in a job”.
In truth, this is my third taste of relegation since following Tooting. The first season I started taking Anthony to games was when he was six years old, and they dropped down into the Isthmian South League back in the dark days of 2012. I remember walking out of the ground on many occasions with him in floods of tears and trying to explain about the highs and lows of supporting any football team. After bad performances on the pitch, we would walk up towards either the tram stop or up to the Cricket Green to catch a bus, stopping of in one of the local shops to by a Twix bar which we would share as we continued our journey home. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Now I not saying that has anything to do with Tooting and Mitcham’s home form over the last few seasons but, it is rather a coincidence.
Up The Terrors !!!!!!!


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