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Cod Almighty | Diary

Strong advice

15 September 2020

I've no idea what Phillip Day had to say in his exclusive interview on the club website 19 hours ago. It's not because I'm not interested in when our chair thinks fans - or at least those prepared to buy a season ticket - will be allowed in. Nor is it because I think he has nothing worth listening to: I won't always agree with him but he speaks in a measured, professional manner and is usually worth a listen. But the interview is delivered via iFollow and one thing he and I do agree on is that it is not fit for purpose. I have absolutely no intention of subscribing to it and I am not the only supporter who will be faced with a quandary come Saturday. Do I waste another £10 to view some sub standard pictures accompanied by Norman Collier commentating or do I just settle for Radio Hull?

My experiences so far this season would guide a rational man to the radio. For the Morecambe game, I checked in early, logged in to the WiFi, paid my £10 and settled down for the promised attacking football from the Mariners. What I got was a blank screen for the first 10 minutes of the game and then 80 minutes of intermittent buffering and such poor quality audio that I muted it. The coverage was about as good as the first and last 20 minutes of Town's performance.

Obviously I hadn't the slightest interest in the B team trophy game. So on to the League opener last Saturday. The day was already bleak. I had zero anticipation. There was no meet at Sheffield station. No discussion on the train down about last week's game, and likely formation for this week. No getting trapped on the escalator maze which is Birmingham New Street and no Peroni sipped by the Walsall Marina: if you haven't been I kid you not. With no fans I had only the solitude of my front room and iFollow to look forward to.

Again I settled in early, paid my £10 and waited. I got the email confirming payment then little else. Twitter told me I wasn't alone. Again, 10 minutes in and pictures suddenly arrived. They were again of exceptionally poor quality. The end of the ground Town were defending was simply pitch black. The near corner could not be viewed for the stand roof and a loudspeaker, even after they managed to sort the lighting out. The buffering and dalek quality commentating from West Midlands radio was worse than the previous week. This wasn't helped by the total bias of the commentary duo, who at half time treated all listeners to the fact Tom had gone for a piss and someone else had eaten their sandwiches. They were also apparently aware of complaints about the audio but it was OK their end.

Some helpful advice by our Supporters Liaison Officer and others on Twitter allowed me to switch to John Tonduer for the second half. I needn't have bothered. Just after Matt Green forced a save and a corner the pictures disappeared never to return. I sat looking at a frozen screen while I waited for an agent to be available for their online live chat support. After 25 minutes I gave in and switched the laptop off.

I emailed the company and asked for a refund. At 7.30 on Sunday morning they responded giving "strong advice" that I should use their online live chat for technical difficulties. I responded with equally "strong advice" that they attempt to use their own service, including the online chat which I'd waited 25 minutes on  without response. I got another email yesterday to say they were looking at my complaint, but as they had a high number of emails it may take longer than usual.

So do I waste another £10? If I do, at least Town get some of it, but the decision is a little harder because our next game is against the financial dopers of Salford City. Do they get a cut?

Quite why this club doesn't get as much grief as Forest Green Rovers I never understand. Having existed happily for their loyal band of a few hundred supporters for decades the club were bought by the so-called "class of 92". The club colours were changed to mirror their glamorous neighbours and with the help of questionable Far East cash they bought their place in the Football League. My opinion is not coloured by a hatred of all things Man United. I was brought up in a divorced household where my siblings' father's family hailed from Manchester and I was a regular attendee at Old Trafford up to 10 years ago. But if the class of 92 wished to invest in a club to gain league status there was a much better option in FC United of Manchester, the post-Glazer rebels close by. They couldn't of course have profited or gained control but at least their doping would have been in a better cause. I doubt however it would've been welcomed.

I will watch the game of course, and have three hopes. One: iFollow works. Two: a couple of proper games has improved our match fitness. Three: we win. But from what we have seen so far, perhaps it ought to be as we said on the Nunsthorpe in the 1980s, waiting for the man from the Ross Group with the job application forms: "no hope, Bob Hope and the man from Northray, and the latter doesn't exist."