COLUMN: Rocks going down… and heading back ‘home’

Rocks boss Jack Pearce / Picture by Tim Hale
Rocks boss Jack Pearce / Picture by Tim Hale

As a football fan, we all want the team we support to do well and achieve titles and promotions, writes Dean Adams.

In terms of our own club’s ambition – where would you draw the line at its level of football in the pyramid?
Being a Pompey supporter, Championship football would leave me happy. There are many factors which back my opinion up but the biggest being that every home game is – all but a few tickets – a sell-out. Having near on 19,000 for every home game in League Two and now League One is a standard too low for the Blues.
So, what about Bognor Regis Town? Are they out of their depth at this level? Was it a bad summer of planning and were the club capable of maintaining a status as a National South club?
We all have opinions. Some heated at 5pm on a Saturday over a pint. But come Monday morning and a little more rational thinking – your opinion might be different.
I work at many football league and national league clubs and see and speak to a lot of people behind the scenes, from which I draw my opinion. This week I have worked at Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Oxford and Aldershot – and look how many up and downs and going out of business those clubs have sat through.
I am not going to beat around the bush. Bognor have had a disastrous season with four wins and 33 goals being the lowest in the league before the Chelmsford game today (Good Friday). The manager will say injuries have played a big part in this – and you can partly understand this.
But it was no secret that previous manager Jamie Howell was leaving at the season’s end and from an outside point of view it felt like the club had no forward plan of dealing with this and promotion. The Sami El-Abd situation of being appointed manager and then days later being removed from his position due to other commitments was nothing short of a Micky Flanagan ‘Out Out joke’.
A new manager should have been in for pre-season and building a squad capable of staying in the Conference South. It seems it’s been a season of fire-fighting and filling gaps in the squad – especially the front line.
This club is more than capable of holding its own in the National South with the right set-up, isn’t it? What do you believe is the club’s ‘right’ level?
A lot of supporters complain about the club’s lack of ambition – and many say to me it doesn’t have the structure of even our neighbours down the A27 at Havant. And they’d be right.
But hearing people moaning about Jack Pearce’s lack of ambition is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the man who has held the club together with success and many good times for the supporters.
Jack has run this club within its means – and rightly so. So many clubs push ahead with new found owners and get into debt and even going bust. Bognor can’t compete with the bigger clubs paying bigger wages in the area and will always lose players and lose out on players both financially and geographically. That has to be accepted unless somebody is willing to pump the right money into the club for the right reasons.
Without major backing, it seems a step into the Conference South is again one step too far. Having seen the early season football played at the Lane and the early league position, some of us got a little way ahead of the game thinking, “hang on, we can compete at this level and make a push for things”.
But sadly those dreams were short-lived and the club will be heading back into the Isthmian League at premier level.
And, just maybe, this is the club’s level and ‘home’.


DEAN ADAMS is a football reporter for Sky Sports and can be followed @deanoadams on twitter.