I know I’m not the only one to notice them, as I constantly hear people shouting various opinions throughout the game, in frustration. For some time now, though, there have been a number of points bugging the life out of me. So here goes:
· Play to our strengthsI can’t help but think Sanchez has no idea how to utilise our best players, starting with playing them in their rightful positions. We have the likes of Sam Deering and (when he’s not playing alongside or behind McLeod) Ricky Holmes on the wings. To the people that say Deering isn’t a winger, I’d like to throw you this question: what is he? I certainly wouldn’t play him in the middle of the field, partly due to his height. He’s quick footed and loves to run at defenders, so why can’t the ball get played wide more often than straight through the middle? Too many times I’ve seen a handful of players on both sides bunched up in the middle, where it becomes scrappy and there’s a higher chance of losing possession. Get it out wide, allow the players to have their creative freedom and do their thing. For me, Sam was one of the best players last season, and Ricky recently hit some decent form too.
· Long ball doesn’t workAnd it has never worked, so give it up. Two obvious reasons for this one. One: lumping the ball forward to McLeod is an absolute waste of time because he will either be offside, foul the defender or not even bother jumping for the ball and allow the defender to clear, and the opponent to counter-attack (and probably score!). Two: the average height of our midfield is 5’8; we have: Holmes (5’8), Deering (5’5), Hughes (5’10) and Byrne (5’9) – and yes, I don’t believe these are correct, either! Really, what are the chances of any of them winning an aerial ball? Play it to feet, that way, possession isn’t needlessly lost. It can’t be that hard surely!?
· Endear yourselfYou haven’t got to be the greatest tactician, but if the fans love you, then half the battle is won. I mean a lot of my favourite players weren’t the greatest to ever don the black and amber, but they were decent people, and professionals. Snide comments to the media about vacant job opportunities, other managers failures and downfalls isn’t really going to help, is it? Neither is refusing to speak to the media, or giving the fans an explanation for losses and more importantly, dire performances. After all it is the average fan that pays good money for the match day experience, only to have to sit and watch the garbage you put on display – with no sign of remorse, post match. And don’t even get me started on the arrogance and feeling of ‘I’m better than this’ in standing with an expression-less face on the touchline, with arms folded, or hands in pockets – conveying a real sense of ‘can’t be bothered’. Just ugh.
· Have a voice, be motivationalIf you’re going to give off this whole ‘I cannot be bothered’ vibe, the chances are, it’ll rub off onto the players as well. Too many times of late I’ve seen players walking around the pitch, or worse, standing still doing nothing, expecting someone else to put the work in. Then there’s players constantly blaming everyone except themselves, shouting at each other (and by that, I don’t mean constructively…) and worse, like on Tuesday, a case of ‘handbags’! As manager surely, you have to take some kind of responsibility and have a level of control; the team obviously lack some form of discipline. This can only be reinforced by two red cards in quick succession to the same player: for spitting and kneeing. And like the case of Tuesday, going a goal and a man down early on, you have to say something to your squad to motivate them, heads are likely to drop. It’s no real surprise morale is low at current. To not say a single word is absolutely laughable. Except it just isn’t funny. Another point on Tuesday: even at three goals up, Phil Parkinson continued to bark orders at his team, getting increasingly over-animated; guess who meanwhile wasn’t doing an awful lot at all (unless you count hiding in the dugout)?
And a final couple of pointers:· Have a plan B
· Have a plan C
· And if all else fails, have a plan D!
At the time of writing this (on Wednesday, by hand – I’m a bit of freak that likes to sketch stuff out first before typing; yes it is twice the work, but never mind…), I was looking forward to the next time I'd write when I’d hopefully have something positive to say. Today (Thursday night, as I type, although I’m sure you’ll be reading this on or after Friday!) I do: SCOTT MCGLEISH IS REJOINING US ON A MONTH’S LOAN! I fell in love with him aged seven, and he will always be the player I remember most from childhood. I’m not even sure what it was about him, but it may have been the goal celebration. As a kid, I watched the somersaults in awe! Anyway, I think he’s a bit of a club legend, and despite his age (38!), I hope he’ll instil some experience into the squad, even if he does end up appearing like he’s past it!