The Brunton Roar combined with impressive away followings are widely acknowledged and recognised around the game, and manager Keith Millen spoke to this about the importance of having the backing of the club’s fan base as he looks to kick off a positive journey.
“I’ve been to a lot of clubs where the relationship with the fans is so important,” he said. “Bristol is a really intense place, the fans there, Crystal Palace exactly the same – places where the power of the club is the fans.
“I need to buy into this area, I’m more than happy to go and meet supporters, the more they know what we’re tyring to do the better. The worst thing is they try and second guess, what are we doing here.
“The more information they’ve got – this is what we’re going to try and achieve – support it. The more they know and understand, the more supportive they’ll be.
“All I can ask from them is that they support the team. The only way this club is going to be successful is if we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, and I said that to the board.
“I can control the playing side of it and hopefully put a team out there that the fans are proud of. I know what fans can be like, Crystal Palace is a fantastic place to play football and it’s intimidating for the opposition, and our fans play a huge part in creating that here for us.
“The minimum that a supporter should see is a team giving everything for the badge. If the results pick up soon that will give them more to cheer about and we can all drive the club in the right direction to be successful.”
So what will it be like the first time he hears ‘Keith Millen’s Blue and White Army’ drifting across from the stands and terraces?
“That would be something special,” he confirmed. “I’ve had a few things sung about me, not always good, so when you get that recognition from the fans, it makes you feel good. You can’t help but feel good.
“All the work you do, really it’s for the fans. If they show that appreciation, then there isn’t a better feeling. I really want to be able to go and clap the fans before the game, after the game, because we’ve performed well.
“You can perform well and not win, you can’t guarantee winning, things happen in games, but if they can clap us after the game, and say yeah, we’re proud of that team, there’s no better feeling for me.
“If there are grumbles away from football, that side of the club is what people are there to deal with. I manage the football side of it. What I’ve seen so far, what’s above me, isn’t affecting what I’m doing with the players.
“If it’s affecting the fans, all I can say to the fans is, can you try and trust and believe in the football side of it, and hopefully the football club will sort out what they need to sort out.
“One thing I do know is that everyone I’ve spoken to is very supportive and all want the same thing. If you’ve got that, you’ve got a chance.”
“As for when we’re at home, I’ve played here before and I know it can be difficult,” he concluded. “I was trying to remember when I played here [1997 with Watford] but I remember thinking it was a long way and the last thing I wanted to do after that journey was get off the coach and run around for 90 minutes.
“That’s something that can work to our advantage, we need to look at starting games fast. We also need to make sure that our preparation when we travel is as good as it can be, which I’ve already looked at.
“It’s all about trying to prepare the players to perform. The travelling is a factor but it’s the same for teams coming here and us travelling away. I don’t think it’s a big thing, as long as you prepare properly, which the club already seem to be doing.
“But we do want to make Brunton Park somewhere teams don’t enjoy coming.”