Sam Johnston sets the record straight to PNE fans. We don’t hate your club, we just hate your berk of a manager…
I’m going to make this as short, simple and as sharp as I can. This is not a subject that I want to linger on or spend too much time worrying about but I feel I need to say something. This, off the back of news that a Football League chairman has made a formal complaint to the FA about the comments of an opposing manager, seems apt.
Over the last few days I’ve been called misinformed, bitter and even inbred by people who claim to have a much more credited opinion of a gentleman who we all know and love. Some of these people, like me, were in attendance on Tuesday night to witness another episode in the long running psychodrama that is Graham Westley. This was not the first time I’ve experienced his touchline and on field pantomime nor will it be the last.
In the haze of conversations which followed Tuesday night’s JPT game some people may have misunderstood my stance. In that I was commenting about a man, not a club. The man in question could have had any club badge embossed on his chest and it would not have made any difference.
The club badge he wears at the moment makes the issues tricky; it’s difficult to have a sensible conversation about Preston North End without it descending into name calling – but that misses the point entirely.
Whilst adorned with the badge of another club, namely Stevenage Borough, Westley a name as a top quality wind up merchant. As a Carlisle fan I bore witness to this on a couple of occasions in The Conference as his players feigned injury and wanted to sort their socks out ten yards from the touch line as they were being subbed – take a bow Anthony Elding.
Fast forward six years and a few divisions and the Stevenage of League One were no different. Now his new team are doing the same infuriating things.
On the two occasions Carlisle have entertained Preston at Brunton Park under his stewardship the running theme has been one of pure gamesmanship. Whether that be extended pre match warming up, “serious” head injuries (of which there were three on Tuesday whilst Carlisle were attacking) or just generally pushing the limits of what is allowed, Preston have been rank with it.
Just to muddy the waters for us Carlisle supporting Westley loathers he, as mentioned, manages Preston. This poses its own set of dilemmas. How to sustain a through dislike for a man whilst not coming across as a “misinformed, bitter and inbred” fan from a “little town” who is looking to ignite some sort of childish rivalry?
The two issues, hate of Westley and inherent dislike of PNE are, by proxy, interwoven and it is very had to split the finest of hairs. Unfortunately, as my previous encounters have proven it is very hard to do.
I can’t say I have undertaken an entirely holistic survey of Lancashire based football fans, nor do I want to, but the ones who I have encountered have not been overly susceptible to by views on Graham Westley’s unique management style nor have they been polite in telling me how wrong I am.
But I must say for the record – I don’t care that it’s Preston and I’m not interested in any kind of rivalry. I would be having the same grumbles if Westley was the manager of Margate.
All I care about is that absolute idiot that calls himself a professional in charge of a club with such a proud and successful history which is now being smudged by this man’s pathetic ideas of victory.
For a club whose fans seem hell bent on suggesting there’s little or no rivalry between our two great clubs, Preston supporters seem far too touchy for words on the subject of their ‘Mr. Motivator’. Perhaps they’re a little more ashamed of what goes on under their nose than they’re happy to admit.
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