End of Road:Change Please!
After the Norwich defeat where to next?

For the first 30 minutes Norwich looked as edgy and un-confident as a side who hadn’t won for 3 months can look, but a few balls in behind our back four and chances created lifted their confidence. They were the best side for the last hour of the game and deservedly came out winners against our not very gladiatorial performance. So the poor run and dismal football continued – Stuart Gray type results, football and league position whilst spending so much more money than he ever did to achieve it. Only those Wednesdayites who have their blue and white bobble caps pulled well down over their eyes and ears still think that Carlos is the man to take us forward.

For me though this is far more than just about Carlos now. Had we made a successful managerial change in the summer, when we should have done, it might have been. But another wasted round of recruitment in the summer, more of CC’s one dimensional football and other stuff has exposed much more fundamental flaws in the running of our football club. For me:

  • Recruitment is poor with the squad not being really strengthened since May 2016
  • The squad is too big, too old and not motivated to achieve – simply not hungry enough
  • The wage bill is too high for the reasonable level of income our club can expect
  • Fitness levels are low – I am told pre-season is all ball work and not fitness work that lasts a season
  • Too many players are injured for too long, despite sacking the medical team last summer
  • Playing style has been worked out by opponents and we are too slow and easy to play against, apart from the odd game when we get the tempo right
  • There is a lack of drive, purpose and energy on the pitch
  • The recruitment and the playing style don’t seem to connect up – too many square pegs who don’t fit into Carlos’s rigid round holes

The wages bill and FFP means we are up against the wall money wise and this has driven high ticket prices relative to other Championship clubs, the bonkers Club 1867 initiative and local businesses becoming alienated from the club. For example Westfield Health were priced out of sponsoring the disabled area at S6 yet they sponsor a whole stand at S2. Add to this the kit cock-ups, the flat anniversary year and communication that simply defends the club’s position rather than engaging fans in decisions, and of course the abysmal Steel City derby game. All this means that Dejphon Chansiri has to take responsibility for what has happened more than just Carlos.

We are told by some fans that some Wednesdayites have unrealistic expectations of what the club can achieve, or that it used to be worse in the past, so be careful what you wish for. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that after spending so much money on the team to hope that we can play with drive and purpose, have a few shots on goal, or that players show pride in the shirt, or that we close down the opposition, or we chase a few lost causes every now and again. I also say that poor chairmen come in many guises and you don’t just have to call fans ‘cretins’ or sue them to be regarded as poor – wasting money and making fans fund it isn’t good either. It appears to me that DC is a football ingénue who listens to too many people who might have a conflict of interest. I am told he is a great businessman so he knows how to make good business decisions – what evidence is there for this actually? He bought the club in the first place because his son wanted him to not out of interest in football.

Where to from here then? We aren’t going up this season, Carlos’s work here is done, money is tight, and FFP is biting, which means we need a different model that is more sustainable and consistent with the levels of income that we can reasonably and fairly expect to achieve from ticket prices, the club shop, commercial income and TV money. For me that means no price increases as a minimum (with an intent to try to reduce them) and reducing football costs down to those levels. That will take 2 or 3 transfer windows to achieve by moving on players we can’t afford and/or don’t need and replacing with ones we can. It will need either an experienced manager who has full authority and freedom to do what’s needed without meddling from advisers and hangers-on, or a Director of Football/Head of Football Operations/Football Executive with similar authority who works with a Head Coach who is able to focus on team organisation etc. Making either change now will give scope to them to review the squad before the January window opens so that a start can be made and then followed through in summer and January 2019.

 If DC is not prepared to make such a change to the way the club operates he should look to sell the club to someone who will and make a temporary Head Coach appointment until a new owner comes in. Apathy and dis-engagement are the words I hear used by so many Wednesdayites at the moment to describe how they feel – fans need to see some change and need some hope for the future, otherwise a good number will vote with their feet. There’s an old saying that goes “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. Change and improvement is needed.  For me the change that is needed is fundamental. Let’s just get on with it.

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