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THE SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN
TREVOR Whichello has done us all a favour.
Eight days ago his was a name unknown by the vast majority of Swindon Town fans but, inspired by Paolo Di Canio’s unusual and hugely impressive pledge to put his own money into the Robins in pursuit of success, the Devizes-based 40-year-old managed to raise the profile of a part of the club most of us had forgotten.
In doing so, Whichello not only sparked donation and discussion amongst Swindon’s online community, he brought back to the surface a very real issue of which we’ve skirted round the edges for a long time.
Sustainability. It’s a boring word, overused by cynics and pessimists – myself included - but it is particularly relevant in the business of football and in the world of today.
I’m not about to doom-monger, as that would be purely speculative and totally unnecessary, but one day in the future Swindon Town will not be able to rely on the generosity of Andrew Black or another like him.
One day the club will need to be passed on, and the only element of STFC that will remain will be the core of fans who inherited the dubious privilege of having Robins blood running through their veins.
Therefore, it is right that the fans –propelled into action by one man – should take stock of what may need to be done in the future. Trevor should be applauded for bringing that back into the public eye, allowing it to linger in the back of our minds once more.
Many jumped on his Twitter campaign and supported what he was trying to achieve, but bizarrely Whichello also had to deal with ill-feeling directed towards his honest intentions.
There is absolutely no need for proactive supporters to be harassed or mocked on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter.
In a week the hashtag #dicaniofund helped generate over £500 towards the Red Army Fund. That’s £500 to help the club, should it be required, sometime in the future. How on earth does that deserve ridicule?
Likewise, if a fan chooses not to donate then that is not a damning indictment of their lack of passion for the club.
It seems in football today, dragged along as it is by the hearsay and opinion floating around in cyberspace, our tolerance of one another is at an all-time low.
You can be branded a heretic on the basis of one honest comment and alienated because of it. Too often is criticism misinterpreted as agenda, you can no longer provoke debate without triggering vitriol and now philanthropic gestures are twisted to appear self-indulgent.
Ultimately, we all want two things. We want our club to survive and we want our club to succeed. We can disagree about the ways in which that should be achieved, but why not spare time for reasoned debate?
Maybe that’s idealism at its most wishful.