Copyright 2008 John Clements.
I you ask a casual question that no one usually thinks about. An innocent question such
as : - Which of your local clubs is the best run? You will be met with comparative silence for in truth most local clubs are not well run and most fanciers are in denial about the situation. Most fanciers know they are in denial about the whole sorry business but most fanciers are in denial about being in denial.
Generally, local fanciers do not have the inclination for organisation and never attempt it. Nevertheless they want to do well with their pigeons and want to continue being a top prize member in the club although very few would actually take charge of accounting and running things. Few have any idea of what goes on behind the scenes, what it takes in expenses and presentation that makes for a happy local club. Certainly, when clubs run badly, as most are, it makes for club unhappiness but unfortunately we are in a world here in the UK where the individual need to win is seen to be superior to collective need of club well being.
This club scenario has its effect on the National and Specialist club scene as well. It is part of the reason why UK national and specialist cubs are so inferior to their counter parts on the Continent. On the Continent they have many well local clubs that are extremely well managed and have been managed well for years. Many of these local clubs are quite big, but they manage without falling out between themselves and what is more they manage to keep their secretaries in post for ages without exploiting them or conversely being exploited.
Against a background of successful well run local continental clubs, Belgian officials find their way upwards to be part of their provincial management and eventually part of the National and International management. With each step up the ladder they bring with them a standard of administration they are used to and familiar with that adds to the overall efficiency, security and standing their present BIG International organisations.
We in the UK have none of this - It is highly likely that members of committees serving our own national and specialist clubs come from a management background of failed local clubs and Federations where numerous secretaries have run off with the money or generally things not being run well. Officials of this type are not disposed to criticism of any kind. They hate criticism and fight against in a vain attempt to save personal reputations while the club itself is often left to flounder drowning in its own shortcomings.
This failed local background goes right to the top of the pigeon structure in the UK. It contaminates everything it touches buy virtue of putting competitive regional and club advantage above the well-being of the club as a whole. There are some within our ranks who would just as well see their local club fail than give up what they perceive to be competitive, financial, or status advantage. This disregard for being ‘well run’ allows all sorts of grubby secretive and inefficient practices to flourish so no amount of cosmetic titivation can disguise the hard and brutal reality of how bad the situation really is. - Often cosmetic solutions are applied in an attempt to disguise the facts and make apathy feel comfortable with itself but cosmetic solutions can never hope to do anything more than paper over undeniable shortcomings of a weak and inefficient basic structure within the sport.