Dear Jason Stockwood

Cod Almighty | Article

by Alistair Wilkinson

18 May 2024

Town fans. We're a weird and wild bunch, full of wit and also full of, well, it's not yet 9 o'clock so we can't use that sort of language. After listening last week to Town's two owners, the Dynamic Duo of DN35, Al Wilkinson was overcome with an urge to inject some balance into the world, to place some positivity into the bucket.  

So he wrote a letter of thanks - not for the football but praising the club's improved communications and for how we are being treated. As adults. 

Al speaks for the silent majority. Hear-hear.

Dear Jason

During your, Andrew's and David's excellent interview on the DN35 Podcast I was moved to hear you speak about the way people have interacted with you and others from the club on social media and how you felt let down by some of the comments made. Ever since you guys took over, the way you have communicated with us has been more than just a breath a fresh air; there is an openness to the way you speak and write, in whatever forum, that makes me and the vast majority of Town supporters feel very lucky to have you at the top of the club and I wanted to send my thanks to you and the whole team.

Your continued efforts to communicate with us as clearly and openly as possible are very much appreciated and when you, quite rightly, point out that sometimes the noisiest feedback you receive is also the most offensive, we must all take this on board and try to make the more positive and the more constructive messages louder.

To that end, I wanted to remind you of a moment on what was then Twitter back when you first took over. I wrote a poem in celebration of new beginnings and Cod Almighty shared it. Not only did you take the time to read it, you very kindly compared it with Ted Hughes' The Thoughtful Fox, a comparison that was at once thrilling (certainly my high point on social media!) and terrifying as my own verse was compared with that of a genius. Your taking the time and, above all, the thought to make that reply was more than just pleasing or satisfying for me on a personal level, it was the sign of a considerate person.

Perhaps there are too few considerate people in the world, certainly that seems the case in people of positions of power and influence, but to have such a cognizant individual at the heart of our club can at times (and I mean this literally) be  wonderful. You seem a person, an individual, a member of a collective, who not only has the healthy future of the club in his heart but also wants to be part of a mutual journey. It is this level of connection, which was missing for many years at our club, and the personal comments and the awareness of the efforts of fans that I want to thank you for.

And on a personal note (I'm a secondary school English teacher), it's thrilling to think that someone so thoughtful, so well read, so philosophical is making decisions about the future of the club, so, please do ignore anyone who tells you that Aristotle, Confucius, Nietzsche and Kant as a back four wouldn't get you three points on a Saturday. (And if things don't work as we'd like, then big John Locke can be drafted in for a back five!)

But back to that thank you: I've written another poem, this time based on Hughes' excellent work on the writer's often difficult relationship with inspiration. In mine, you are the fox, or if not you, then the spirit of openness that exists at the club now; the new consciousness and the new conscience that you're all trying to instill in the club and the community around it. It is my effort to show that we're all responsible for the way we communicate and that sometimes we need a reminder that we're all pulling in the same direction, a reminder that guidance is needed to find that direction, a reminder that human beings shouldn't be abused simply for being the ones brave enough to stand up and be counted, and a reminder that you guys are there for us and we need to be there for you.

Fox X

Saturday night: a winter forest of tweets.
Another, a leader, is aware
Of the bare and bitter black branches
Filling the screen that shows no care.

Through the screen we see no star:
Again, that awareness,
Open and distant and close enough to hold;
A warmth is closing on the cold:

Into the frost-hardened silence,
The fox comes, feels the frozen bark
Against its furred flanks, heightens its sense,
Comes closer, still in the dark, careful and tense,

His footsteps light and clear on the steel ground;
Leaves, moonlit with veins of scorched ice, pushed aside.
He's still in shadow and willing to be found,
Careful and bold, sharing his pride

Across green, green grass that grows in the sun.
It's a green that fades this winter night
Till he comes, brilliance and concentration,
Here to heal, to support, not to fight,

Till, sudden and expected, with a fox's sharp teeth,
He enters our consciousness, our conscience.
Open and distant and close enough to hold,
A warmth fills the screen, closes around the cold.

Thanks again and warmest regards.

Alistair Wilkinson