Pushing down on him, pushing down on him, no man ask for. (Actually, it’s on Big Phil, but we’ve got a new OC photo to use.)
Afternoon all. It’s a quiet and reflective day today. Tomorrow we face Nottingham Forest and yesterday I advised Mrs X to keep her score predictions to herself. She replied by telling me that she is already hammering me in Fantasy Football, I replied that it is a marathon not a sprint and she advised me in return that that hasn’t made a blind bit of difference in previous fantasy leagues. And she has a point. She always beats me.
The chairman has admitted that the pressure is on to win promotion at the first attempt. I caught the back end of the interview on BBC Manchester but as I was in a rush to join the back of the fifteen minute queue to get my ticket, I didn’t really pay much attention. Luckily, you can listen to the whole thing again on the BBC Sport website. Which is handy.
‘There`s 100 per cent pressure on us but it`s not outside pressure, it`s internal.‘ he said, which should keep the club doctor’s busy, now that Sean Davis has left. ‘We live, breathe and die this. It`s not just a job. And I`m a fan on top of that, so it hurts me as much as anyone when we lose or there`s a bad performance.‘ he continued, repeating what he said at the Fans Forum.
There is a lot of pressure on Big Phil, some may say that he has more on him than OC does. As someone asked last week, does he blame himself for our demise. Failing to get promoted would see us miss out on that inflation busting rise in TV revenue whilst making it more difficult to get promoted. No matter what he says about Eddie Davies owing Eddie Davies and the only way that Eddie Davies would get his money back is to borrow it off Eddie Davies (I’m still confused), a perennial Championship club with that sort of debt are going to have major problems. When it comes to looking at the books, fans (and some shareholders) see only one thing, and that is the big red mark under the word ‘DEFECIT’.
Owen Coyle, while seen by many as a saviour at the time, was Gartside’s choice and he will stand or fall on that more than he did in appointing Gary Megson or Sammy Lee. Phil may not be the resigning kind, but any chairman who has put any company into the position we are in, year on year, is eventually going to be given his cards. Phil Gartside needs promotion. Otherwise Phil Gartside may join the long list of Warburtons as former chairmen.
Of Owen himself, he has spoken of wanting the players to replicate Tuesday’s performance, which given the first seventy minutes, doesn’t really bode well. He speaks of how Mavies picked himself up on Tuesday after being ‘beside himself’ after Saturday’s performance. At least he was beside someone, because on Saturday he was usually behind them.
‘I made two changes the other night and the truth is, I could have made six or seven. The lads know that, and I have got quality players sitting on my bench or even out of the squad at the moment that are itching to play their part.‘ said South Lancashire’s most famous Scottish teetotaler. I don’t know who this quality is who aren’t in the squad, unless he’s talking about Stuart Holden, which is kind of cheating a bit. There are more obvious changes that he can make for tomorrow, Ricketts for Mears with Alonso coming in has been one mooted by commentators. This wouldn’t be a bad shout. Mears has made Zat Knight look good, which is never a good sign. This is a touch unfair on Knight, who played well enough on Tuesday. But it still doesn’t reflect well on Mears.
So, we come to the Fantasy League. And congratulations to Fantasy Stalwart and his Roderick’s XI, on top with over a hundred points. This puts Mr Stalwart just outside the top two thousand in the whole competition. But, as Mrs X will tell you, it’s a marathon, not a Snicker.
Finally, congratulations to Gretar Steinsson in joining up with the Kaiser Chiefs on their Turkish tour. Or something. I predict a riot.
Until tomorrow and a Forest preview.