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10 January 2018

Let's start by separating the style of this club statement from the content. Let's give credit where it's due. Let us acknowledge that, at the very least, it is not complete gibberish.

It's still a little way short of the standards you'd expect if a communications professional had been involved. The statement argues that Town's league position "isn't the complete disaster promoted by some", and promoted is clearly the wrong word; they probably meant to say portrayed. We're urged to "unite together", and your original/regular Diary can't think of any ways to unite other than together. But it's better than the usual Fenty drivel.

The usual Fenty drivel is still in evidence in another statement, on the permanent departure of Jamey Osborne, which says: "The Club has recovered the monies outlaid, but acknowledges it remains a disappointing conclusion, but it moves on in the realism of the situation". But the big statement has clearly been penned by one of the other directors. And it conveys its meaning without making you want to chew your own arms off. So a little handclap for that.

What about the content, then? Essentially the statement is saying two things. The first is "yes, you're right, the results could be better right now, but over the season so far they could have been much worse". The second is "we're not sacking the manager, so please stop with that and unite behind the players".

I can't argue against either of those things. I don't go into any season expecting and demanding promotion, so I'm not getting my knickers in a twist about being mid-table. And while I might want a new regime at the club, I recognise that nobody is going anywhere overnight, and the players aren't to blame for any of it, so I'll still clap them on and off the pitch, and I won't boo them.

The trouble here, though, is that the statement is highly selective. The problem is with the content that it excludes. It talks about Forest Green Rovers but not Lincoln City. It talks about the unnecessary squad players Slade inherited, but not the ones he himself signed and isn't using. It talks about the results and league position, but not the tactics and style of play.

Town fans are absolutely right to look down the road – and up the league table – at our county neighbours, and ask why GTFC could not have capitalised on promotion in the same way. They are perfectly entitled to ask why Slade deserves more of their good money to chuck after the bad that went on Sam Kelly and the other signings last summer that smacked of desperation. They are quite within their rights to point out to the directors that, while we are not in imminent danger of going back down, the style of football currently on offer at BP is utterly bereft of entertainment – and that looks unlikely to change any time soon, now that Slade has once again shown himself to be incapable of handling a creative player.

So the statement represents progress of a sort. At the very least, it's a step up from the ludicrous campaign against Matt Dean, and a director telling a fan to shut up at the fans' forum. Its plea to rally behind the players is one that can't be resisted, in the end. But it sidesteps the real issues that are being raised by supporters, and if the status quo remains then those aren't going away any time soon.

Osborne and Tom Bolarinwa, then, are both belatedly confirmed as having converted their loans to permanent transfers. Two more of Slade's seemingly unwanted players, Chris Clements and Harry Clifton, scored for the reserves yesterday in a 2-1 win over York City, with Clements in particular appearing to perform influentially on his return from loan at Barrow. Still, who needs midfielders anyway, eh? See you next time.