Friday, June 05, 2009

5 Year Plan

The need for a 5YP is often mentioned following the rip-roaring success that was the last one. At least the club was successful and it achieved that success by blowing the 5YP to smithereens but that isn’t important right now.

I’d actually question whether we need a publicly-stated 5YP at all now. What would it say? It was easy to set out a series of objectives for the last one due to a number of factors. One of them was the relative strength of Argyle and our famed and oft-mentioned potential. We should never have been in the 4th Division at all to start with. We are not a small club ~ at least not in those terms we are not. Quite the reverse. We were a Big Fish in a small pond back then. It had taken a series of quite astonishingly bad decisions from Dan McCauley to get us there in the first instance and just a short period of sensible leadership would have bestowed, in all likelihood, fairly instant results.

I can’t remember what the original 5YP stated now but it went something like this (if I am wrong it doesn’t really matter):

Year 1: Stay up

Year 2: Get a Play-Off spot.

Year 3: Get promoted to Division 1.

Year 4: Stay Up

Year 5: Aim for a Ply-Off spot.

Most who read this won’t need to be reminded that we actually did this:

Year 1: Stay up

Year 2: Promoted as Champions to Division 1

Year 3: Consolidate in mid-table

Year 4: Promoted as Champions to Coca-Cola Championship

Year 5: Stay Up

This led us to where we still are today. “What we need is another 5YP like the first one” is the mantra that comes from many but I do not agree at all. From where we are what would anybody expect it to say? If it sets out a timescale for getting a Play-Off or Promotion spot then looks all Billy Big Bollocks and completely ignores the fact that there are no “easy” fixtures for us anymore. We are not a Big Fish anymore; we are one of the Littlest Fish now. It is not going to be impossible for us to progress but it is going to be extremely hard and there is nothing in our 100+ years of history as a club to suggest that we will. If we went into print and laid out objectives and a timescale and then failed to achieve them then the criticism would cascade from all directions.

For now we can set an easy objective against which to monitor our on-field  performance: we should try to beat the league position of the previous year. It’s not glamourous or exciting and the longer we manage to do that then the harder it becomes for us to continue doing it but it is realistic and achievable.

Off the pitch it is a different thing altogether. Quite simply we must find ways to raise the club’s turnover; I don’t think we can charge much more than we do now so that means we need to either get more bums on seats or find other revenue streams.

One thing is certain in my mind though and that is that a 5YP will actually achieve nothing. Anybody can write anything down on a piece of paper. It is what actually transpires that will dictate what the future holds for us as a club.


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