Give it until Christmas, say some. Do it now, say others. Give it ten games, say some more. I’m getting a headache.
‘Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.‘
I think I used this line from Wall Street sometime last season, making reference to our predicament and the pressure on the manager to keep us out of the Championship. He failed. Now, he finds himself with an even larger problem and, despite an abyss being an immeasurable depth, an even bigger hole to be staring into.
Let’s start with the positives from Saturday. Chris Eagles scored his third goal. Jay Spearing was, by all accounts, head and shoulders above everyone else. Ali Al-Habsi pulled off one of the saves of the season. West Ham tore Fulham a new one with five former Bolton players in the team. We played 4-5-1.
Now, the negatives. A defence still seemingly introduced to each other the day of the game. Tim Ream retained after having a mare at Crawley. Zat Knight. Tyrone Mears playing ahead of Joe Riley. Eagles and/or LCY playing out of position when this division cries out, sometimes, for Martin Petrov. SKD playing at the head of the 4-5-1 when he is more suited to 4-4-2 and then getting subbed off as he wasn’t playing well. No pressing, other than Spearing who can’t do it on his own. The manager talking about keeping clean sheets and stop letting in soft goals, although that has been half the problem since the beginning of last season. The manager saying we started the game reasonably well. The manager saying Hull have got some very good players. The manager saying we have to accept and take responsibility. The utter, utter numpties, who had obviously not been to the game, leaving a ‘Coyle Out’ banner outside T’Reebok.
Watching the Arsenal game yesterday, it was obvious just what a good defensive coach can bring as Steve Bould appears to have taken their defence and given them a defensive 101 course. What we would give for that. The first goal was so simple as to be embarrassing, a simple cross that evaded the two central defenders, both marking the same man it would appear, which gave Aluko an easy finish. The second left Abdi Faye with only Bogdan to beat to the ball from a corner, Zat Knight appearing to have his back to the play when the ball went in, rather than actually marking a player that all Bolton fans know can head the ball. Bogdan himself could have done better. The third saw Jay Simpson muscle Tim Ream off the ball, after it had been played over Sam Ricketts head, who then ambled back in a seeming impression of Martin Petrov. Simpson then bamboozled Knight by doing not much before crossing for Quinn to score. The word ‘shambles’ doesn’t come close.
What SKD was doing on his own up front is anyone’s guess. He is a flicker-onner not a holder upper and whatever pace he may have had has long gone. He was utterly wasted in that role, when the younger and quicker Sordell or Afobe should have been preferred. A tactically naive move from a manager who seems to want to placate the captain and longest serving players as well as those who feel that SKD can do no wrong. This is a battle, not a love in. If you play 4-5-1, then play the strongest players in that formation. I bet you don’t see Big Sam using that with Carroll.
The voices for the removal of OC are growing stronger and, as the weeks go by, it gets harder and harder to defend him. His capture of Spearing seems to have paid of, but he Liverpool player cannot do it by himself. Watching Match of the Day and the save that Al-Habsi pulled off had me shouting at the screen. No disrespect to Bogdan, but Al-Habsi is currently head and shoulders above him.
Strange that Phil Gartside would take to Twitter for the first time since before opening day to say…..:
‘Absolutely gutted for our fantastic support. You deserve much better. So far not good enough.’
….before quantifying this by retweeting a fans perspective that OC should be given until Christmas. On the basis of what I heard on Saturday (on the radio), Christmas may just be coming early this year.
Oh, and before I go. I know I take the proverbial out of most away towns, but I happen to quite like Hull City. They did, after all, give old brown skin a job. But never have I had quite the most graceless email from a victorious fan as I got from an, apparent, Hull City supporter overnight in response to the match stats. Titled ‘Nice bull**** stats’ it reads:
‘Just looking at your made up stats for Hull City vs Bolton. It’s laughable that you think Bolton had more shots than Hull City, but the fact that you missed that Davies was booked for a foul on Simpson speaks volumes. I know you probably have to ‘big up’ your team for your followers, but telling absolute lies does nobody any favours.’
I can’t find anywhere on the web that either Davies was booked, but knowing SKD I may be wrong. However, we all pay our licence fee and I’m more inclined to believe the BBC, where the stats have always come from. So, Mr Paul Jewitt, as I said in my reply to you this morning, maybe you should complain to them. And leave the invective in Humberside.