This letter will appear in next weeks Basingstoke Gazette from Manager Dan Brownlie;
I’ve been involved in the Football Club under a couple of different positions for two years now. I am buoyed by the idea, ambition and execution of getting Basingstoke back to where it belongs, and I am excited about the potential future of this great club. A club I am truly proud to manage and represent – and whilst it’s arguably unusual for management to involve themselves in off-field matters like this; like anything – I can’t moan about its result if I am unprepared to put at least my voice towards it.
Whilst the club are working tirelessly to take this club forward; across no-mans land is a fighter jet in the name of Rafi Razzak camping in the other direction.
Just by way of introduction – I see reason before I see doubt; and despite forceful narratives I will attempt to take each person with as open mind as possible. With that in mind, as I hadn’t been hugely immersed in the goings on of the Camrose fiasco – I along with Kevin White (Vice-Chairman) took the time to go and visit Rafi in his offices in a bid to get a greater understanding. Terry had previously attempted these conversations; but understandably he got quite heated with the ignorance.
In the same meeting I also met Malcolm McPhail who, to confirm in case you were in any doubt, he has absolutely no interest in the community he is destroying at the club and was purely interested in numbers. Their numbers.
Needless to say, the thinly veiled attempts at appearing interested in the club and its survival; the empty promises and his unwavering belief that what he was doing is completely ethical was quite startling but not surprising. I guess living by the adage of “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” also applied to his own self-belief. The historians amongst you will forgive me for not naming where that quote derives from, although… no. No, I’ll leave that there.
Humour me if you can, just for a moment… Let’s put aside the fact that over the course of the past ten years, The Camrose was left to rot. (Notably on one occasion, Martin Kuhl did team talk in complete darkness with only him lit up by the torch on my iphone – two weeks after the electric went in the changing rooms.)
Let’s put aside the fact he overturned a 100-year covenant put in place by Lord Camrose and his gift to the community.
Put aside the fact he now plans to sell the land protected land to line his own (already deep & cobwebbed) pockets.
Put aside the fact he evicted a club from its own home.
Put aside the fact he actioned the digging up of the Camrose pitch without planning application and in a bid to cover up the findings claimed he was reseeding it (for anyone that has been down there recently… not much grass coming through.)
Put aside the fact that he began selling items that were gifted by the community on eBay.
Let’s put aside the fact on numerous occasions that he has claimed to not let the club die.
Let’s also put aside his latest ‘I want to commemorate Lord Camrose with a grass monument’ statement whilst simultaneously destroying the very gift that Lord Camrose wanted to leave as his legacy.
Let’s put aside all of that – because – in his eyes, ‘he saved the club.’
Lord and saviour of Basingstoke Town Football Club. At a time when Basingstoke needed someone to rescue them, he stepped in of his own choosing. Something the club should be forever thankful for.
That is until, you in the future decide to try and kill it.
So, I apologise if my thanks have somewhat turned to complete distain, anger and frustration – something I know many fans much more immersed than me feel right now, arguably at an ever greater level.
It’s said that ‘nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity’. Sounds familiar when you think of the idea of claiming to rescue something whilst simultaneously attempting to slowly and painfully kill it as you watch from your swivel chair stroking a bald cat.
The thing about football, is that it’s much more than just football. It’s not one mans play-thing, it’s a community hub that provides escapism, a social identity, hope, friendship, belief, health in body and mind – the list is truly endless. No longer can he hide behind this sentiment of saviour as it’s not deserving upon him. Sadly, I think the sinking ship may have sailed too far for Mr Razzak to drop the anchor and attempt to turn it round on a path to dignity and right a wrong – if the continual refusal to even acknowledge his wrongdoing remains, I am hopeful the powers at council, government and Sport England can pull it back to shore.
History will be watching.
Basingstoke First Team Manager