WOTMT
Can Some One Get A Grip Please
Thoughts on recent events at SWFC

The first international break is always a decent point at which to take stock. After a very decent start at Reading and then an excellent, high tempo game against Barnsley quite a few of us thought we had turned into a new style Wednesday. But then we started to drift into those ingrained ways of low tempo football that goes nowhere very slowly, this culminated in the dreadful 2nd half against QPR. After that game Bully said “If our players want to be successful they need to be mentally stronger than what they showed today.” Bully has taken some stick from some fans regarding recent performances but for me the players have to bear so much responsibility. The culture and attitude in the squad since the 16/17 season, either not turning up at all or just playing pedestrian football, has failed other managers too, some more experienced than Bully. We can all remember games where at least one half of it has evidenced this type of stuff and others where it has had to be endured for 90 minutes. Too many players are living off past glories - there may be legitimate criticisms to make of Bully’s tactics etc but these players say one thing about how wonderful Bully is but then do something that lets him down totally. Bully may be prepared to take the job on, but he doesn’t deserve for his reputation with fans to be dragged down by the players.

There is a short-term challenge facing the club of appointing a manager who has the experience and authority to manage this group of players to a top ten finish. Any fans who have a top two finish in mind are deluding themselves if they think this group of players are capable of it. The squad have a chance of the play-offs, as do many other Championship teams, but to get there they need a leader who has no history with them and who is free to make some difficult calls regarding selection. The longer-term challenge is the re-structuring of the squad over the next two transfer windows that will require some big calls to be made on who is going to be released or moved on – some of those calls might be unpopular but nonetheless need making. Who is the right person for the job? The vast majority of fans would be happy with Chris Hughton but he appears to be waiting for what he sees as a better opportunity. Of the other out of work managers Tony Pulis, Gary Monk and Gary Rowett get many mentions. Pulis is not well liked but he has the toughness the job may need, Rowett has a reasonable record at Burton and Birmingham but not so well at Derby, I think Monk will be tough (read the chapter about him in Michael Calvin’s book Living On The Volcano) and he has a decent record. I know there have been rumours in the media about him and his agent but he has categorically denied these and threatened legal action in that regard. Pulis wouldn’t be popular appointment but I could live with any of those. As regards in work managers Alex Neil gets many mentions – he has the track record in the Championship, appears to be pretty tough and has worked on a tight budget at Preston. I could live with that appointment too. I worry about younger less experienced managers such as the Cowley brothers being eaten up by the club, the expectations and the squad culture/mentality.

DC has poured his time, energy, commitment and money into the club but he has received justified criticism regarding his running of the club and player recruitment processes. I thought we had taken a major step forward with the appointment of Steve Bruce; there may have been some ‘push’ factors as to why he left but DC couldn’t be responsible for the major ‘pull’ factors from Newcastle. SB walking away and leaving us in the lurch just wasn’t anticipated or expected. The Bully experiment hasn’t really worked and DC now faces a major decision on which direction to go next both for the short and long term. What is needed is a decision to be made in this transfer window, no ifs, not buts as the saying goes. A major leadership decision is now needed.

The other situation that feels as if it requires some leadership is that concerning the stadium. The situation is now getting a bit ridiculous. I fully accept that our club has people who want to insult, goad and fight away fans and it would be great of they didn’t but it’s part of the process of stewarding/policing football. That process appeared to go badly awry for the game against the Blunts but fans who cause no problems at all are now paying the price for SYP wanting to blame the club for it. Now, there may well be other actions the club could take to avoid the Prohibition Notice at the Leppings Lane end but we aren’t being told if that is the case – why don’t they tell us? Have we got the right senior staff in place to lead the club’s response to the challenge? I go to away games on a regular basis and at Preston, Reading, Derby and Boro to name four grounds both sets of fans come out of the ground at the end of the match at the same time and there is no bother at all. If this is the case at other grounds why can’t it be managed at Hillsborough? It just would be really nice if the club, SYP and the council could just level with us and then work together. Please stop blaming each other and just get a grip and fix it.

Onwards to Huddersfield!

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15.09.2019
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