In the spirit of balance and by way of allaying suggestions that MyFootballWriter is a’ board apologist’ or a haven for ‘happy clappers’, one month ago today Martin Penney picked up what is now known as the ‘Jeff baton’ and cast a critical eye over the off-field management of the club.
But [cliche klaxon] a month is long time in football and since his last piece events on the pitch have offered further ammunition to those who question the club’s direction.
All yours Martin…
Sledgehammers. We all know what they are, even if we haven’t used one. I have, they’re heavy and awkward but do a great job in knocking down unwanted brick walls.
Well, in the last week I have been hit in the solar plexus with a sledgehammer three times. And every blow hurt.
Blow one: Leeds
Analysis of this game has been done to death but let’s be fair, we didn’t really deserve to get back to 2-2, although Kyle Lafferty made a personal point of sorts with a smart finish. Louis Thompson was excellent on his proper debut.
I’m right behind the Barclay goal and can safely say McGovern was not unsighted despite the “whole team blocking his vision”, as has been suggested elsewhere. Effectively they didn’t close down the man with the spectacular name and he had a pop. And McGovern fluffed it by moving too late. A slo-mo goal if ever there was one.
Either the Lower Barclay or the Snakepit – or maybe both – were singing “sacked in the morning” at Alex Neil, but that’s not going to happen. Allow me to move on to…
Blow two: The Delia Interview
I normally keep up with events online, but when I got back from the game my delightful partner suggested I should read it. After I had said “what article”? and read it thoroughly, the frustration level was to the point where I wanted to kick the cat. But we don’t have one and I love the dog so that wasn’t a viable option.
Everyone has boiled Delia’s recent comments down and it’s hard to be original but I’ll have a go. What she says is very simple: She wants a manager (Alex Neil by implication) to be here for 10 years. We will be here for 10 years or whatever and then her nephew will inherit our ownership (eg the majority shareholding). And if anyone doesn’t like it, they can go away.
To me it smacked of an evening on the vino with a journalist, which I begrudge to nobody, by the way.
A much wiser man than me posted on a different website that Delia had rescued a drowning child years ago but now that child had reached maturity she could not handle it any more but would not give it up, come what may. Hang on at all costs.
It does not bode well for the future. We can’t keep up with the Jones’s while we have to live with the Smiths. The ambition factor is lower than the proverbial snake’s tummy and we are stuck with it. When the parachute payments disappear we will be well and truly sunk.
A writer I have great respect for said there have been no offers to buy Delia out. Well mate, somebody didn’t tell you the whole truth then, did they? “We don’t even listen to offers”. Thanks Delia, at least the fans are now clear on that score.
I’m a bit bitter maybe, but they were her words rather than mine.
Blow three: The Jez Moxey interview
Okay Jez, you came out and said something. Fair play to you. Well done to Archant’s Paddy Davitt for asking some questions too. But what did you actually say, Jez?
Not a lot, is the answer. The cosy clique is well in place and looks like it will be for the next 10 years. Or longer, And as an old-fashioned comedian called Dave Allen used to say: “Goodnight, and may your God go with you”.
Finally: what is happening on the pitch?
We are far too narrow, the 4-2-3-1 has been worked out by everybody except the hedgehog hibernating in our shed. Cameron Jerome is so isolated any little thing he does win in the air comes down to three defenders and no attackers backing him up.
Pritchard and Wes don’t belong together in the same side and I would rather have £8million than Naismith.
As for the defence, I’m not really on the anti-Russell Martin bandwagon but collectively they can be shambolic.
Keepers? Blimey! They have their different attributes but I’m happy with neither. Ruddy before his unfortunate injury would be my choice but that horse has bolted. McGovern is not the answer as everything that comes into the box sees him stay on his line, open to the free header from whoever attacks the ball. Which is rarely one of our defenders.
And what we miss so much is a box-to-box merchant in the mould of, say, Damien Francis. We really struggle to get people up and down the pitch and that’s why we’re comparatively easy to pick off towards the end of games.
I cannot comment on the training regime but half of them look knackered on the 80-minute mark and that doesn’t bode well for the future. Both Preston and Leeds seemed noticeably fitter than us. In this League that can hurt you.
And just another point related to that: every side that turns up at Carrow Road seems to have a minimum height of six feet per player. I’m only five foot nine myself and remember how intimidating that can be when you’re defending.
No, I didn’t play at any more than Sunday League standard but when you’re shorter than the man you’re marking they have the advantage before the long ball is played in. Their elbows come down as you try to put yours up. I feel for Martin Olsson in this context.
Newcastle are flying, Villa are on the up, Brighton look solid and we’re below Reading in the table. It doesn’t look good just now.
January is unlikely to solve much. I doubt they will trust Alex Neil with any more cash, and I must admit I agree as I wouldn’t trust him with it either.
I’m expecting that fourth sledgehammer blow at QPR.
But go on Alex, prove me wrong.
Thanks again to Martin. I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him again over the next few months.
One month ago the ‘moderator’ was a busy chap. He’s bracing himself again. 🙂