As a man once said when he found himself a few thousand miles above the Cork coastline, that’s one small step for Richie Holland, one giant leap for Cork City FC. Its amazing how one small act of defiance can boil so much piss in Tallaght that its Shamrock who now come out of the whole thing as the ones looking needy and infantile.
Some times clubs listen to fan bases some times they don’t, luckily for Stephen Bradley, Shams didn’t when every one of their fans demanded his head, so 3.5 league titles later he feels entitled to piss and moan about a lack of respect while point blank refusing to use Richie Hollands name when talking to the press, “The manager” “Their manager” “The Cork manager”, that to me was a pointed act of petulance, one that deserves far more criticism then it will ever get. We all know that making a conscious decision to refuse to acknowledge someone by name is one of the most disrespectful things anyone can do. But Shamrock in recent years have become a club who demand that respect and its associated nuances should always flow into Tallaght while it never really flows out.
Richie Holland in his press conference last week laid out an us against the world mentality, this isn’t something new and untried, it’s a staple diet of successful Cork City sides, it was obvious from that press conference that there could not be a guard of honour, if there was then Richie’s words would have meant nothing and he dosent strike me as a liar or a guy who says something without substance lying behind his statement. Pat Dolan gave us the Rebel Army idea, its us fighting the FAI, the Dubs, the biased media and anyone else we decide we are going to take on. Rico gave us “Ridden Rock Solid” and enough anti FAI interviews to have started an all-out war. JC delivered us a double while installing a mentality that not alone was everyone in the country against his team but so was half of Cork. The common thread? It worked for all of them.
Richie has come in, recognised the massive deficiencies in his squad and realised that at this moment in time, he cant add quality but he can try add a mindset, a way of thinking that yes is borrowed from the past but might just make us harder to beat, a little more resilient, a little more die in our boots for the cause then we have been. People who think last night was about disrespecting Shamrock are incorrect, it was about building a mindset, not just for one game or one playoff final, but for the length of Richie’s tenancy as boss, however long that may be. It started against Derry and its ramifications from that game were seen last night, not in the guard of honour nonsense but in the use of substitutions. Jaze Kabia showed on Friday night that failure to buy into Richie’s mindset will have consequences, you want to pull out of tackles, you want to roll over and give up goals, that’s your choice, but he didn’t see the field last night and I refuse to believe that the two are unconnected. Your either fighting for the cause or you’re not, but if you’re not then you are not getting minutes under Richie. Actions or lack there of now have consequences.
Some people say, well what’s the point in standing up now when we have rolled over for teams all season and had our bellies tickled? The simple answer is, there is a new man in charge and he has decided enough is enough. If you have had your belly tickled 20 times already, should you allow number 21 to happen or do you draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough, no matter how late in the season you draw that line? You must start somewhere and that’s what Richie did when he took over, he set about trying to change the mindset. We don’t know If it will work but in a world of marginal gains, surely it is better than not trying at all? The reaction to last night shows it has worked, thanks in no small margin to Stephen Bradleys petulance but you take the small wins no matter how they come. The next step is to grab the big win but its surely easier to do that when a team, a fanbase and a club are all now united behind their manager?
We boiled their piss with one small act of defiance, imagine what we will do when we get our shit together and become a force again?
Finally, Richie’s leadership was called into question last night, described as “weak” by a man who the second Shelbourne hit fourth this season, started pissing and moaning that Damien Duff may have a bigger budget then him next season.
Richie saw what needed to be done to unite a fan base and team that have inevitably drifted apart as the season has gone on, he borrowed from what worked in the past, put his own spin on it and then took the flak for it. No one is talking about the players or their performance, no one is talking about recruitment, no one is talking about relegation or worse case scenarios, fans are this morning filled with a sense of pride in the badge and a belief that, the Dubs, the FAI, RTE and the rest of the biased media, the whole country, can piss and moan all they want, we simply don’t care.
A club divided all season is now united behind a cause, it takes strong leadership to achieve something so simple when the divides that existed were growing by the week.
He is Richie Holland and some people need to put respect on his name.