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Informative Sky Commentary


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1 hour ago, Psychopomp said:

Considering our injury crisis, we still had our record signing , a centre back (as well!) out there, a £20m centre back on loan , a £2.5 M goalkeeper, a 3.5 m and 2.5 M centre midfield and our second highest signing up front. Not forgetting a 5.5 M forward (or is he now a winger) on the bench.  Yes we are missing DaSilva , Weimann too for his running around, and the hot and cold Jamie P for some cameo appearances. . We don't know if Williams is a loss as he has never played, a bit similar to Walsh at this level. The team is unbalanced, Vyner and Adelakun hardly your first choice in midfield. But it is not a complete rag team. Forget the game today anyway, Norwich are miles off for us (another team we have failed to emulate mind you) , it is the lack of coherence that is shocking. Anyway, relegation should not happen, but if anyone offers a couple of million for Fam , or some token fees for the others out of contract, then a late dash for relegation could yet be possible. Not quite the plan we were told, yes we were told this, not invented, not a fans dream, but the club told us they wanted some fresh ideas to "kick on" for the Prem. 

The club look as confused and rudderless as in all the other awful moments of the past 20 years, and a shameful far cry from the beating heart and passion we had as we won the L1 title and that fleeting glimpse of high octane football during the league cup run. It seems we are completely unable to stop ourselves repeating old errors or able to understand really what made the better moments successful. Holden is not to blame, he should never have been put in a job he is so inadequately prepared for, but do we always have to keep repeating to same old nonsense. The warning signs are there for a very very big problem coming soon. We have seen all this before. 

Excellent post , content and well written 

🌟 

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2 hours ago, Davefevs said:

Not saying it’s easy.  But you build that succession planning so as a player leaves, you’ve already got that player ready, and hopefully ready to make you better.

When Brentford, just as a for instance, sold Watkins they bought a replacement who slotted straight into their way of playing and the Brentford machine rolled on as if nothing had happened.

When we've sold players similarly integral to our way of playing, we've replaced them with ones who can't play the same way, meaning we've got to develop a completely new way of playing to accommodate them. So each season we start from scratch with a new team, new style, and little continuity from year to year. 

When Reid left, his replacement needed to be a mobile forward who would complement Diedhiou, could lead the press, and get plenty of goals. We got Weimann.

When Webster left, above all his replacement needed to be a ball playing centre half. We got Kalas.

No joined up thinking in this recruitment at all. 

Edited by Merrick's Marvels
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2 hours ago, Harry said:

He’s not 100% to blame, I’ll agree. I’ve always said that. But I’ve maintained for 5 years now, who’s in charge of the ins and outs. As Fevs has mentioned before, he’d have had more respect for LJ if he’d been more outspoken about it. Dean is either not so keen to toe the line, or is just not very good at the propaganda.

Phew, saved me typing it again 🤣

As someone who resigned from a job after 28 years, giving up the chance of a 2 year pay-off, on a point of principal, and with far less financial security than LJ I cannot understand how someone could tow a line for that long.

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2 hours ago, Lew-T said:

It does feel like history is repeat itself. Johnson sacked, inexperienced coaching staff appointed, experienced old pros on big wages, football on the decline...

 

In 2011, a smug waste of space  CEO appointed a manager who proved to be out of his depth. The manager assembled a team with a decent keeper, expensive forwards and a non-existent midfield. Thankfully, our current defence will never be as bad McInnes' but the other similarities are uncanny.  History repeating? 

Edited by Merrick's Marvels
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1 hour ago, Merrick's Marvels said:

When Brentford, just as a for instance, sold Watkins they bought a replacement who slotted straight into their way of playing and the Brentford machine rolled on as if nothing had happened.

When we've sold players similarly integral to our way of playing, we've replaced them with ones who can't play the same way, meaning we've got to develop a completely new way of playing to accommodate them. So each season we start from scratch with a new team, new style, and little continuity from year to year. 

When Reid left, his replacement needed to be a mobile forward who would complement Diedhiou, could lead the press, and get plenty of goals. We got Weimann.

When Webster left, above all his replacement needed to be a ball playing centre half. We got Kalas.

No joined up thinking in this recruitment at all. 

Indeed.

I have read that they plan 2-3 windows ahead for example- can we say the same about us?

If we don't, then I hope we took stock and started this January! However I'm hoping we do and if we do, we get better at it.

In theory, different utilisation of some players could have helped to fill some of the gaps- to some extent. Webster e.g. was a bit of a last minute sale- Kalas at Fulham was actually pretty strong in pass completion at least, could we have given him a bit more license? Benkovic is not bad technically- did we get the best out of him?

Signing an aging Williams and looking to play a medium to high line- well it's a flawed approach! Baker is not an optimum choice if a side wants to play a medium let alone a high line either, but at least is younger than Williams was.

Reid and Diedhiou is a good point, but our best football came with Paterson behind Reid- could we have perhaps looked to play Paterson behind Weimann to try and recreate something a bit different but with similar principles?

My blueprint going into 2018/19, factoring in absentees and sales to try and get back to the principles behind the 2017/18 golden form might have been something like:                                                                

                                      Maenpaa

                     Wright Kalas Webster Kelly

                     Brownhill Pack Walsh DaSilva

                                     Paterson

                                     Weimann

Fielding and Smith of course had long term injuries. Why Wright at RB? Not so much individually, more as part of the unit we saw when we had peak form that year- Kalas and Webster replace Flint and Baker- technical upgrade, Kelly for Magnússon- upgrade, Weimann is given license to play the Reid role and DaSilva maybe we could try and get more out of him? 

Palmer does not fit this setup!

Gets trickier moving into 2019/20 on some levels- Kelly going, we have nobody who can comfortably play LB but tuck in- Magnússon did a job for a time, Kelly did it with a higher ceiling and better. Kalas and Baker can replace Flint and Baker but Wright at narrow RB/RCB in this side, the balance changes. Who do we sign to replace- or do we go to a more orthodox 4-3-3?

Once more, Palmer does not fit this setup...     

Not saying Diedhiou is without his uses but I've never felt we hit the optimum style with him in the side. He is one I'd have looked to traded out for a more mobile/technical forward personally.

Edited by Mr Popodopolous
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4 hours ago, Davefevs said:

Covid finances have helped surface that the family silver has been sold off against a horrendous increase in costs.  Unsustainable....The exact opposite of the strategy.

I'm not sure I agree with your other point re Holden (even as a firewall for Mark Ashton it would be too obvious and too late to repeat that stunt) however I agree with you on unsustainable - specifically because we are not acquiring or producing sufficient talent to sustain the economics the club currently operates too.

As you've illustrated more than anyone on here and your "family silver" jibe above absolutely nails, is where we have balanced the books, it was through sales of assets that pre-existed the people with the responsibility to sustain this strategy - and there is diminishing proof of their ability to produce much less sustain it.

Two causes for optimism:

  1. arguably the Academy has always had a large input to this model (JB, BR, LK) regardless of MA and so there is precedent to generate more silver - though net £20m annual profit is extreme short of getting to the PL & having Southampton's pedigree, we really need to flip academy profit into transfer profit and that is where MA has failed and is dining off prior assets - but the source mechanics are still there
  2. maybe we've acknowledged the unsustainability and we're suspending the strategy as flawed for now and trying to re-base our economics to Barnsley/Preston/Millwall levels, acknowledging that 2 of 3 have generally been in and around us for all the money we've been throwing about (Barnsley this year). If this is the case I expect the cost cutting to outlive Covid, but it needs a clean break from MA to be serious.
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7 hours ago, Finley_Smith10 said:

Never going to happen. Ashton definitely has all the power in this one. Why do you think he’s appointed all of his close companions on the board 

I agree. I think Ashton will leave when he himself decides he wants/needs to go. Whether he can wheedle his way into another club or go full time at the FA or something. Ashton will look after Ashton. He won’t leave with his tail between his legs but mutually agreed he is going for better opportunity ( promotion) elsewhere.

Many industries promote upwards if a person isn’t doing well and they want rid of them.

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2 hours ago, Olé said:

I'm not sure I agree with your other point re Holden (even as a firewall for Mark Ashton it would be too obvious and too late to repeat that stunt) however I agree with you on unsustainable - specifically because we are not acquiring or producing sufficient talent to sustain the economics the club currently operates too.

As you've illustrated more than anyone on here and your "family silver" jibe above absolutely nails, is where we have balanced the books, it was through sales of assets that pre-existed the people with the responsibility to sustain this strategy - and there is diminishing proof of their ability to produce much less sustain it.

Two causes for optimism:

  1. arguably the Academy has always had a large input to this model (JB, BR, LK) regardless of MA and so there is precedent to generate more silver - though net £20m annual profit is extreme short of getting to the PL & having Southampton's pedigree, we really need to flip academy profit into transfer profit and that is where MA has failed and is dining off prior assets - but the source mechanics are still there
  2. maybe we've acknowledged the unsustainability and we're suspending the strategy as flawed for now and trying to re-base our economics to Barnsley/Preston/Millwall levels, acknowledging that 2 of 3 have generally been in and around us for all the money we've been throwing about (Barnsley this year). If this is the case I expect the cost cutting to outlive Covid, but it needs a clean break from MA to be serious.

Given producing new talent via the Academy is so crucial to our sustainability, it makes it all the more puzzling that despite a mega injury crisis NONE of our youngsters is actually being given any real game time by Holden!   Sam Bell for instance, the odd 5 minute sub appearance, Opi Edwards hardly a look in, and so on. This despite often lack lustre performances from the senior players not injured! 

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8 hours ago, Finley_Smith10 said:

Do you honestly think we will go down to league one in years to come?

Appreciate this was directed to someone else, but yes this is my concern, we have been on a very slow decline for the last 3 years and I don’t see it stopping.

This looks all too familiar to the millen and then mcinnes era.

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10 hours ago, Davefevs said:

The people “running” this club have finally shown themselves to be a busted flush.

The owner has failed to see the warning signs.

I think Holden is fighting for his job / head-coach career...and although he’s made mistakes of late, he’s been let down by those above him.

The financial signs have been there for 2 seasons.  They were hamstringing the club, now that hamstring is torn...the irony!

I see very similar signs to 8 or so years ago.  I don’t think Holden is to blame, that’s not to say he doesn’t have faults, but there’s a bigger picture here.

The purse-strings are closing as some real estate projects have to be finished before the sale of B.S. and Land / buildings can be completed.

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8 hours ago, Sheltons Army said:

Good recruitment needs to be matched to a playing plan and ethos Max (Brentford , Swansea , Burnley etc etc)

Yep, and for that the most important area of recruitment needs to be the head coach. When was the last time Brentford even sacked a manager? Every single manager fits in entirely with the clubs ethos and has been carefully selected based on this. 

8 hours ago, Sheltons Army said:

We havnt had a set method of playing and ethos since the Ashton / Johnson show commenced , so even if we had a decent recruitment team , we are unlikely to join the dots

I disagree, in the 2017/2018 season under LJ, we saw some of the best football since the promotion season. All while using young exciting players such as Brownhill, Reid and Bryan. Similar when we had players such as Webster and Kelly the season after who could really excite. It is hard to put a marker on exactly when it started to happen. But a change should have been made when LJ started to seriously compromise on his own principles installed until then, and when the style of play changed completely. 

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9 hours ago, Lew-T said:

It does feel like history is repeat itself. Johnson sacked, inexperienced coaching staff appointed, experienced old pros on big wages, football on the decline...

 

The same mistakes made over time & again....insanity???

I'd say it would be wrong of me to question the 'intelligence of a highly successful businesses man...

But does he 'understand' football..

It smells more like he's genuinely lost interest in,,grown tired of BCFC - not an impossibility - & taken his eye off of the ball..

Edited by Son of Fred
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8 minutes ago, marcofisher said:

Yep, and for that the most important area of recruitment needs to be the head coach. When was the last time Brentford even sacked a manager? Every single manager fits in entirely with the clubs ethos and has been carefully selected based on this. 

I disagree, in the 2017/2018 season under LJ, we saw some of the best football since the promotion season. All while using young exciting players such as Brownhill, Reid and Bryan. Similar when we had players such as Webster and Kelly the season after who could really excite. It is hard to put a marker on exactly when it started to happen. But a change should have been made when LJ started to seriously compromise on his own principles installed until then, and when the style of play changed completely. 

I can see what you’re saying Marco but the few months around the cup run came together largely out of necessity because we had injuries (Famara Incl). In fairness although we were forced into ‘playing’ with Reid and Pato up top , and a consistent 11, there was also some good work done at that time - The problem is that as soon as Johnson had options it all unravelled 

Did we build on that approach , pressing with good retention of the ball , and movement ourselves - No

Did we take that into the following season where you reasonably say we wernt bad with a Webster etc - no


Going back to my overall point - At what point during LJs tenure could you identify and explain LJs consistent method of play and approach , and for how long

We pressed , we dropped off and counter attacked , we went direct at times , widemen at times but none at others , with just about every formation tried and used , often changing , and changing back throughout his reign

His method of play and philosophy should have Been identifiable early on , and then through his tenure - It wasn’t unless I missed it - ‘Busy f****** bees’ was as close as anyone extracted out of him when he was asked

So how were we likely to successfully recruit (Even if we had very good personnel on the recruiting side - which I don’t think we did ) .... to what ethos or formation 


 

Mind you

That still doesn’t excuse a lot of the performances over the last few years

Old Dog Warnock , for example can still go into a underperforming Club / Squad and get results from the set of underperforming or failing players he inherits 

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8 hours ago, Merrick's Marvels said:

When Brentford, just as a for instance, sold Watkins they bought a replacement who slotted straight into their way of playing and the Brentford machine rolled on as if nothing had happened.

When we've sold players similarly integral to our way of playing, we've replaced them with ones who can't play the same way, meaning we've got to develop a completely new way of playing to accommodate them. So each season we start from scratch with a new team, new style, and little continuity from year to year. 

When Reid left, his replacement needed to be a mobile forward who would complement Diedhiou, could lead the press, and get plenty of goals. We got Weimann.

When Webster left, above all his replacement needed to be a ball playing centre half. We got Kalas.

No joined up thinking in this recruitment at all. 

In some respects Brentford’s succession planning was a tiny bit out.  When I did my review of Lg1 scorers over pre-season, there were a few that jumped out.  Toney - obvious.  Walker - went to Cov.  Granduillet - probably too old to risk.  The other was Forss....didn’t take me long to rule him out as an option....he was on loan from Brentford.  He is probably 1/2 a season behind where they needed him.  But when Toney goes, he will be the replacement, if they’re still in the Championship.

Forss from Finland, picked up from West Brom, and into Brentford’s B (Bee!) team.

Thats succession planning.

5 hours ago, Olé said:

I'm not sure I agree with your other point re Holden (even as a firewall for Mark Ashton it would be too obvious and too late to repeat that stunt) however I agree with you on unsustainable - specifically because we are not acquiring or producing sufficient talent to sustain the economics the club currently operates too.

As you've illustrated more than anyone on here and your "family silver" jibe above absolutely nails, is where we have balanced the books, it was through sales of assets that pre-existed the people with the responsibility to sustain this strategy - and there is diminishing proof of their ability to produce much less sustain it.

Two causes for optimism:

  1. arguably the Academy has always had a large input to this model (JB, BR, LK) regardless of MA and so there is precedent to generate more silver - though net £20m annual profit is extreme short of getting to the PL & having Southampton's pedigree, we really need to flip academy profit into transfer profit and that is where MA has failed and is dining off prior assets - but the source mechanics are still there
  2. maybe we've acknowledged the unsustainability and we're suspending the strategy as flawed for now and trying to re-base our economics to Barnsley/Preston/Millwall levels, acknowledging that 2 of 3 have generally been in and around us for all the money we've been throwing about (Barnsley this year). If this is the case I expect the cost cutting to outlive Covid, but it needs a clean break from MA to be serious.

Great post Rob.

Re.2 - exactly my point, the clubs you mention have generally been as competitive as us on fractions of our budget.  What have we got for our money?  Nothing better than what the Ashton regime (not just him btw) inherited, and in many cases worse, because the cost base is 135% higher than when he took over.

3 hours ago, RedM said:

I agree. I think Ashton will leave when he himself decides he wants/needs to go. Whether he can wheedle his way into another club or go full time at the FA or something. Ashton will look after Ashton. He won’t leave with his tail between his legs but mutually agreed he is going for better opportunity ( promotion) elsewhere.

Many industries promote upwards if a person isn’t doing well and they want rid of them.

I very much suspect he’s working on his escape plan as I type this.  

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3 hours ago, old_eastender said:

Given producing new talent via the Academy is so crucial to our sustainability, it makes it all the more puzzling that despite a mega injury crisis NONE of our youngsters is actually being given any real game time by Holden! 

Well exactly. That's why I made my second point as a "reason for optimism" - maybe the penny has finally dropped that you can't be two different things at once. A club which expects to push on, year on year, to the Premiership AND a club which is based on sustainably producing and blooding young players season after season. We can't easily be both, and so far we are not fully committed to either - and to your point, if we were all in on academy sustainability we'd play them, no ifs or buts.

Instead we're carving this path between the two strategies, and unsurprisingly achieving neither aim. To be fair to SL this is one place I have a lot of sympathy - as a business we're better off not telling our customers the uncomfortable truth that a sustainability model and Premiership objectives aren't aligned, but if we are now cutting back to go all in on sustainability & youth, I am optimistic as at least its less muddled thinking. I think our identity (MA at the centre of it) is massively over spun.

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1 hour ago, Sheltons Army said:

I can see what you’re saying Marco but the few months around the cup run came together largely out of necessity because we had injuries (Famara Incl). In fairness although we were forced into ‘playing’ with Reid and Pato up top , and a consistent 11, there was also some good work done at that time - The problem is that as soon as Johnson had options it all unravelled 

Did we build on that approach , pressing with good retention of the ball , and movement ourselves - No

Did we take that into the following season where you reasonably say we wernt bad with a Webster etc - no


Going back to my overall point - At what point during LJs tenure could you identify and explain LJs consistent method of play and approach , and for how long

We pressed , we dropped off and counter attacked , we went direct at times , widemen at times but none at others , with just about every formation tried and used , often changing , and changing back throughout his reign

His method of play and philosophy should have Been identifiable early on , and then through his tenure - It wasn’t unless I missed it - ‘Busy f****** bees’ was as close as anyone extracted out of him when he was asked

So how were we likely to successfully recruit (Even if we had very good personnel on the recruiting side - which I don’t think we did ) .... to what ethos or formation 


 

Mind you

That still doesn’t excuse a lot of the performances over the last few years

Old Dog Warnock , for example can still go into a underperforming Club / Squad and get results from the set of underperforming or failing players he inherits 

All very good points, and hard to argue with. 
 

I suppose at one point we had a side capable of pressing high up the pitch and playing nice football. We may have lost players such as Reid who was the epitome of that style but we also recruited Weimann who very much fitted in with that style. We still had players such as Paterson, Brownhill from that 2017/2018 season, brought in technical players such as Webster and brought through other technical players such as Eliasson and Kelly.

So while I agree with all your points, there is one exception. For all the nonsense LJ gave us in 5 years, there was one point where there was a play style and a direction. As soon as it was seen that these players such as Weimann and Webster were brought in to fit a certain play style but we were veering towards something else entirely, we should have brought in a manager who would have favoured the high pressing style that we saw in that 2017/2018 season. Yet we stuck with LJ because he could set a team up pragmatically and nick enough results to keep us within a stones throw of the playoffs despite completely reneging on the way we played in that 2017/2018 season, which everyone enjoyed and wanted to see more of and worked until the team burnt out. This resulted in us seeing absolute dross. 
 

We should have been brave when this change starting occurring and gone for a manager who could replicate the play style seen in that 2017/2018 season when many of the same players were still with us or, in the case of Flint to Webster, had been upgraded. 
 

 

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1 minute ago, marcofisher said:

All very good points, and hard to argue with. 
 

I suppose at one point we had a side capable of pressing high up the pitch and playing nice football. We may have lost players such as Reid who was the epitome of that style but we also recruited Weimann who very much fitted in with that style. We still had players such as Paterson, Brownhill from that 2017/2018 season, brought in technical players such as Webster and brought through other technical players such as Eliasson and Kelly.

So while I agree with all your points, there is one exception. For all the nonsense LJ gave us in 5 years, there was one point where there was a play style and a direction. As soon as it was seen that these players such as Weimann and Webster were brought in to fit a certain play style but we were veering towards something else entirely, we should have brought in a manager who would have favoured the high pressing style that we saw in that 2017/2018 season. Yet we stuck with LJ because he could set a team up pragmatically and nick enough results to keep us within a stones throw of the playoffs despite completely reneging on the way we played in that 2017/2018 season, which everyone enjoyed and wanted to see more of and worked until the team burnt out. This resulted in us seeing absolute dross. 
 

We should have been brave when this change starting occurring and gone for a manager who could replicate the play style seen in that 2017/2018 season when many of the same players were still with us or, in the case of Flint to Webster, had been upgraded. 
 

 

Good post 

FWIW the front foot / pressing style would be my way to go in the Championship in this current era

 

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9 minutes ago, Sheltons Army said:

Good post 

FWIW the front foot / pressing style would be my way to go in the Championship in this current era

 

I think it depends on the squad depth. I seem to remember Pack and Brownhill both playing 45 games in a row two seasons in a row, and looked understandably flogged when we had multiple games in a week.

 

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1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

In some respects Brentford’s succession planning was a tiny bit out.  When I did my review of Lg1 scorers over pre-season, there were a few that jumped out.  Toney - obvious.  Walker - went to Cov.  Granduillet - probably too old to risk.  The other was Forss....didn’t take me long to rule him out as an option....he was on loan from Brentford.  He is probably 1/2 a season behind where they needed him.  But when Toney goes, he will be the replacement, if they’re still in the Championship.

Forss from Finland, picked up from West Brom, and into Brentford’s B (Bee!) team.

Thats succession planning.

I found this a really interesting article on how Brentford work behind the scenes from one of two DoFs they have. We are light years behind, IMO. 

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I actually think the plan was kind of working for a brief period. We had improved under Lee for a couple of years, our stock was the highest it's been for a long time, we had some great young players - who we knew would either play for us or get us some fat stacks of cash we could reinvest.

I can't help feeling that after the 2017/18 season a really ambitious club would have recognised the above, booted Lee after the disastrous second half of the season, and appointed a quality managed backed up by the considerable money we had at our disposal then to push on for the next couple of years. That was our window I think, things were kind of aligning - by luck more than judgement I'm starting to think, but they were. That was our chance to really push on.

Instead we stuck with what we had, and have regressed until now where it does feel a bit like we're teetering on a knife edge. The stars are no longer in alignment, and we're back to wondering what's going on exactly. A massive missed opportunity... and maybe not the first time. Could you look back and relate it to Gary leaving perhaps too late after the playoff final defeat, and subsequent mismatched team of youngsters, dodgy loans and old pros on a fair wedge with little impact... and a superstar goalkeeper in Heaton keeping us afloat?

Hindsight eh?

Edited by IAmNick
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24 minutes ago, marcofisher said:

I think it depends on the squad depth. I seem to remember Pack and Brownhill both playing 45 games in a row two seasons in a row, and looked understandably flogged when we had multiple games in a week.

 

Agree - Then you recruit cover for those positions , and why recruitment should be aligned with Playing ethos 

I wasn’t convinced Pack and Josh were flogged during our hot spell under LJ - Remember Marlon had Korey buzzing around him and Josh was playing rhs of midfield and we moved up and down the pitch as a unit - we wernt chasing shadows 

Later in LJs tenure maybe 

We recruited Walsh in the January at the time of that ‘hot spell’ , but then didn’t fancy him

Also Diony and Kent - where did they ever fit into the plan ?

We have a large squad , so in theory depth , but for what playing plan and of what quality ?

Assuming DH is still in post in the summer we need to have a very specific idea / plan and recruit to that specific plan , and do so very well , to even stay where we are , or have been in last couple of seasons IMHO

 
A massive crossroads for us which will be headed by Mark Ashton and Dean Holden 

Id like to say I have every confidence...............but....

 

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17 minutes ago, IAmNick said:

I actually think the plan was kind of working for a brief period. We had improved under Lee for a couple of years, our stock was the highest it's been for a long time, we had some great young players - who we knew would either play for us or get us some fat stacks of cash we could reinvest.

I can't help feeling that after the 2017/18 season a really ambitious club would have recognised the above, booted Lee after the disastrous second half of the season, and appointed a quality managed backed up by the considerable money we had at our disposal then to push on for the next couple of years. That was our window I think, things were kind of aligning - by luck more than judgement I'm starting to think, but they were. That was our chance to really push on.

Instead we stuck with what we had, and have regressed until now where it does feel a bit like we're teetering on a knife edge. The stars are no longer in alignment, and we're back to wondering what's going on exactly. A massive missed opportunity... and maybe not the first time. Could you look back and relate it to Gary leaving perhaps too late after the playoff final defeat, and subsequent mismatched team of youngsters, dodgy loans and old pros on a fair wedge with little impact... and a superstar goalkeeper in Heaton keeping us afloat?

Hindsight eh?

Another good , thought provoking post

We never grab any momentum and utilise it do we , we never have in my lifetime from The halcyon days of Div 1 and since 

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2 minutes ago, IAmNick said:

I actually think the plan was kind of working for a brief period. We had improved under Lee for a couple of years, our stock was the highest it's been for a long time, we had some great young players - who we knew would either play for us or get us some fat stacks of cash we could reinvest.

I can't help feeling that after the 2017/18 season a really ambitious club would have recognised the above, booted Lee after the disastrous second half of the season, and appointed a quality managed backed up by the considerable money we had at our disposal then to push on for the next couple of years. That was our window I think, things were kind of aligning - by luck more than judgement I'm starting to think, but they were. That was our chance to really push on.

Instead we stuck with what we had, and have regressed until now where it does feel a bit like we're teetering on a knife edge. The stars are no longer in alignment, and we're back to wondering what's going on exactly. A massive missed opportunity... and maybe not the first time. Could you look back and relate it to Gary leaving perhaps too late after the playoff final defeat, and subsequent mismatched team of youngsters, dodgy loans and old pros on a fair wedge with little impact... and a superstar goalkeeper in Heaton keeping us afloat?

Hindsight eh?

The problem is, it’s not hindsight. 

Many of us said The Academy was not fit for purpose for many years before the Club (slightly) raised their game. That there was a need for a top class striker in the January window where we had a good chance of promotion under GJ. That LJ had gone stale and we had no plan or identity. 

And now..... how many people are saying that Ashton is well past his sell-by date - if he was ever in it. That a Director of Football is required at the top of the management structure. That the management and support ‘team’ just isn’t of the required standard.

Indeed, as Middlesbrough go sailing past us, how many said we need a Warnock-like character in charge.

I said early in the 2019/20 season we aren’t very good. We’re now worse. Frankly, we’re a mess. 

The solutions exist but, sadly, I think the Lansdown family are as bored and fed up with the situation as us. As a consequence, I think they’ve lost the will, energy and enthusiasm to put corrective measures in place - which are fundamentals.

I suspect we will now drift. A dangerous situation, as standing still in football means going backwards.

We’ve been here before and it didn’t end well. Relegation is a reality. We are a disunited, rabble at present and ready to be picked off by any team with physicality and a will-to-win.

As the pundit said last night on Talksport, as a team we’re passive, lacking desire and a willingness to put our foot in.

Sad times. 

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