Response To Recent Comments In The Media

Since the departure of Alan Mathews last week, a number of falsehoods have been stated in the media which cast slurs upon Shelbourne FC and its supporters. These should be rejected in the strongest possible terms and this is again another situation where the board should come out publicly and be seen to be against the vilification of the team’s supporters. As a group, Reds Independent are concerned with this form of black propaganda and the elements within mainstream media that have facilitated this campaign of misinformation against our support since last Friday. The tarnishing of our fans reputation is unacceptable and something that cannot be allowed pass without challenge.

Claim 1: Alan Mathews was suffering intolerable abuse on the internet and social media and he would not continue to put his family through this.

Lets be clear about this – we would not condone any abuse towards the family of a manager. However, this is not even what has been claimed by Alan Mathews – in his carefully worded and self-serving propaganda campaign he has said that he himself was on the receiving end of “vile and poisonous abuse” but it would appear the only individual to have introduced his family to the debate is Mr. Mathews himself. It is quite apparent that this is being done so in order to portray our former manager as a victim and also to deflect attention away from his abject failings as a football manager.

Note, he does not say his family suffered abuse, just that he would no longer put them through having to see what supporters of the club that employed him really thought of him. If they only want to accept the praise and financial rewards, but don’t expect the catcalls when patience with the manager runs out after a prolonged series of abysmal games over 2 seasons, that is a personal decision for the Mathews family to make. If that was truly the case, one would have expected it would have been taken sooner. The sensitivities of Alan Mathews to a peaceful protest, designed to minimize financial disruption to the club, should not be used by either Alan Mathews himself or lazy journalists/bloggers to disparage Shelbourne’s supporters.

It is also at odds with what Mathews himself claimed in newspapers less than 2 weeks before his resignation.

You just have to be man enough to deal with it. I’m long enough in the game. People are entitled to their opinions…if they want to have a pop at me that is fine”

The veracity of the “intolerable abuse on the internet and social media” claim is just as perplexing. Made by Alan Cawley on his RTE blog, and alluded to by Pat Dolan on the MNS broadcast of Monday May 20th. Alan Cawley has been challenged to substantiate this claim and over 24 hours after publication has failed to defend or respond to this accusation.

A quick check of the hashtags on twitter, for example, that one would expect to find such abuse on, if it existed, shows nothing remotely matching this description.

This should be corrected by Mr. Cawley and RTE as a matter of urgency.

Even before Reds Independent issued a statement calling for Alan Mathews resignation many of the other claims made in the days since had already been addressed by the editorial in latest edition of Red Inc

Claim 2: This is personal

RED INC 51: The idea that the board would re-appoint Mathews after last season is unacceptable. The fact that they have re-appointed him for this term, with the necessity of a reduced budget after he failed so spectacularly last year using greater resources, defies belief. Before anyone says it, this isn’t personal…it’s a pure value for money argument. Here is a bloke who proved last year that he was incapable of producing either acceptable results or decent football on a relatively large budget. And now he’s expected to get more with less? It’s madness.

Claim 3: The fans have unrealistic expectations

RED INC 51: The supporters are well aware of the tough financial circumstances that continue to dog the club, and would be largely supportive of cutting back. What fans do not get is going with a manager who has demonstrated that he is not up to the job with decent funds and players at his disposal, where logic dictates he will struggle further with minimal means.

Further to this in a poll taken on on Mar 7th not a single respondent believed that Shels would finish in the top 4 this season, which was Alan Mathews own target pre-season. 83% believed that Shels would finish 9th or below! How much lower should expectations be?

Claim 4: Those who called for his head might be shocked that Jose Mourinho is not coming through the door to replace (Mathews).

RED INC 51: What we needed was a manager or coach with experience of working with young players, and top Junior league footballers. Somebody who has experience of working off a low budget, with a track record of getting the very best out of modestly talented footballers. Alan Mathews is not that man.

We look forward to putting this phase in the club’s history behind us and continuing to support the team, new manager and board.