I attended the Bath Rugby Fans' Forum the other night; I think the format is a great idea and it appears that further events are planned in future.
Hosted by Stuart Hooper, Brad Davis and Nick Blofeld, the event opened with an update on the Rec development, Farleigh house and the like, and then questions went to the floor.
Long story short, the audience appeared to be more concerned with accounting than playing; most questions were in Nick's areas of expertise than Brad's or Stuart's, which struck me as a wasted opportunity for 'fans'.
Indeed, for most of the evening Stuart and Brad seemed to be getting handed the microphone more out of awkward courtesy than because it was 'their remit'.
Rugby is a sport. Professional yes, but you cannot just reduce it to an endeavour in savvy expenditure.
Maybe I missed the point of the evening, I don't know. But anyway...
After events drew to a close, I managed to speak with Stuart Hooper for a few minutes, because I hadn't managed to ask my question. When things are going badly, can the guys tell the fans are still behind them?
For me, anyone who has seen - to name two - Gloucester or Exeter play at the Rec had no trouble finding where the away fans were sat.
Anyone who has been to the same away fixtures can vouch for the audible assault awaiting the Bath squad. Much is made of the fabled 16th Man, but can we - as fans - honestly say that Bath has one?
Yes, when Biggs gets the ball and slips into 6th, you can hear the crowd. When Perenise folds a runner in half, you can hear the crowd. When Abendanon makes 30 metres without a hair out of place, you can hear the crowd.
Whenever the ball is borne over the try line under the blue, black and white, you can hear the crowd.
But when things have ground to a halt, what then? Those god-awful, slow attritional rucks in the mud with both sides vying for success?
A few spirited cries of 'come on you Bath' get lost in the general clamour. It isn't the deafening wall of sound the Kingsholm faithful produce, as an example.
Bath's crowd needs a call. Something that the team can hear and know that the noise is for them and them alone. It's been said before, and I know things have been tried. The problem is, we don't have a hook - a la Chiefs or Saints - and a monosyllabic home city doesn't feel right off the tongue.
So let's get our collective heads together. Let's see if we can get organised for next season. Let's be part of the change we all want to see in the club's fortunes.
Let's be the 16th man. Let's make the psychological 'fortress Rec' that was spoken of at the start of the season.
Oh, and Stuart reckoned yes. But I still think there's room for improvement.
Abuse me on twitter - @roperpg
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