Date: 22nd October 2015 at 10:33am
Written by:

Last September, I made some remarks about the incumbent manager, Dougie Freedman. To say the least, those remarks were disparaging! But, it wouldn’t do any harm to repeat them here again, a year later. It makes interesting reading.

I wrote:

“As we are at the moment, we are going down. No question! Even at this early stage, the team has lost all confidence, either in themselves or the coaching staff – or both. The system hasn’t worked. No one is happy with it! Performances on the field have been nothing short of abysmal, both in the Championship and the Capital Cup!


“The depression at the Macron is palpable. Fan and player enjoyment is at rock bottom and expectation not much better! This is our 21st century nadir and it must not continue!

Fast forward and here we are seemingly stuck in a football time-warp. Despite Lennon`s best efforts – and I think they are without doubt considerable – we appear to be not a jot further forward in producing even a semblance of a team, capable of testing the best in the division. Or maybe I should say, just maintaining its position in this division!

If we ignore the hype expressed by Lennon and recent opposition managers, suggesting that we are in a truly false position at the bottom, the bare-bones of the situation reflect the reality. The fact is that if matters at the club do not radically alter, then League One beckons. And that is a very depressing scenario indeed!

So, what needs to change!

Gartside has to find some money for a new striker ( how I wish he’d coughed up for Le Fondre in the summer!) That is a must! It cannot be ignored any longer. Never mind can we afford it! The simple answer is we can’t afford not to! Free signings of inferior strikers from other average league clubs, simply won’t do!….Look where it has got us thus far! What a difference Juke and Le Fondre made previously to the team. They helped turn things around and instilled a bit of confidence going forward.

And wherever possible, a settled back four has to be a priority. Lennon must bite the bullet and plump for his best defenders. That is if he can identify them! None of us like square pegs in round holes, by the way! And while we are on this topic, is it just a coincidence that our poor showing at the back recently, has tended to happen after the defence coach has returned home!

Let’s face it, the least goals scored and most conceded in this league speaks volumes!

Much as I admire our manager and agree with most of his tactics and public utterances, I am bewildered at times by the teams he puts out. Even if we live our lives by walking in other people’s shoes, it’s still a problem understanding his thinking!

For the sake of argument, does Lenny peer through a different lens to the rest of us, when he selects his team? And does he look through ‘rose-coloured’, when viewing certain players? Or is there something going on in the background that we don`t know about?

Why do I ask that!

Well, why pick Spearing for the first game against Derby, only for him to have ‘a blinder’, and never get picked again!…That is until the Burnley match, when he again starred! It just doesn`t add up. And particularly after all the lamentations we heard after he got injured in that game. You’d have thought he was absolutely indispensible now to the team and its success instead of him continually warming the bench!

Again, how could Vela play nearly every game last year in an unfamiliar position very successfully, and take over in mid-field at times with credit and yet not make one team-sheet this season! After all the positive remarks about him by the manager it’s hard to fathom, indeed! And particularly when Danns or Pratley were off their games or needed a rest.

Surely, against Birmingham, if anyone was going to be played out of position at right-back, isn`t there an argument that it should have been him rather than Derek!

Conversely, are rumours of unprofessional behaviour totally unfounded? Who knows!

Should Clayton be picked ahead of the likes of Heskey? Surely, the latter is someone who only comes on for the last fifteen minutes of a match. He can’t be expected to play properly for eighty minutes! Or does this indicate the depths that we have plumbed, that Lennon feels Heskey has to be a first-pick on certain occasions!

Indeed, why whet all our appetites with Clayton’s imminent return to full fitness and then leave him kicking his heels on the bench?…..Or is the manager just being careful and gentle with him after his horrendous injury?…..Probably!

Having said all that, I do feel for Lennon! His job is almost impossible (but well-paid)! He can rant and rave as much as he wants, but he can’t make Wheater or Dervite go any faster; Feeney cross a ball consistently or shoot straight, or help the ‘goal-machine’ to actually score!
In our hearts, we know he is trying to find the right formula, hoping that certain players will up the ante. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen in many cases (despite all the coaching). That’s why a number of our players are free transfers – allowed to leave other clubs! Seen basically as not being good enough at this level!

Maybe, in the event of funds not being made available (very likely), Lennon should throw away his spectacles and start looking afresh at one or two youngsters. He may just unearth another nugget like Clough. You never know until you try!

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