Wes’s season started well but drifted away, I guess like most 35 year olds. He still has the ability to spark that bit of magic that most do not, but this increasingly comes at a cost defensively. One more season, probably his last, is worth a shout, even if it’s as a bit part and to pass on to the younger generation.
Archives for December 2016
My own first game was fairly inauspicious. Aldershot at home, 1984, the start of the glorious Milk Cup run, and a tepid 0-0 draw that left me with not one memorable passage of play. But it didn’t stop me falling in love. 32 years of season tickets later I’m still here. Just.
The quotes emanating from the dressing room about a collective desire to work harder and turn it round seem entirely at odds with the displays on the pitch; displays that are littered with individual mistakes and which suggest a general lack of conviction and endeavour.
Defensive ineptitude and vulnerability prevailed. City’s resurgence was short-lived, the termination of which once again derived from the failure of individuals to successfully conduct fundamental jobs and to take responsibility. It’s become something of a Comedy of Errors now.
Alex Neil is so past his sell-by date it is beyond belief. He is kept in situ and the silence from the boardroom is deafening. The majority of NCFC fans – including myself and I am sure most, if not all of the MFW writers – have been patient for so long. The guys at Archant likewise.
My biggest fear when he was employed was that he didn’t have enough experience to fall back on when things got tough. His ability to deal with tough times, when things go against you, where you’re not meeting or exceeding expectations were, when he was first appointed, a complete unknown.
In the five weeks since the AGM (a very long time in a crisis), we’ve heard nothing from the board. I can imagine and understand their unwillingness to get embroiled in unsatisfactory debate – but silence is even more unsatisfactory. But what won’t do are platitudes.
That David McNally and Alan Bowkett were not best buddies is well known but while it lasted, and before it imploded, that volatile dynamic drove this club forward. From the brink to the Premier league in three seasons. It wasn’t cozy, we weren’t particularly nice and there was collateral damage aplenty along the way but it was fit for purpose.
In every coaching course I’ve undertaken, there has been one fundamental message: the key responsibility of the football coach or manager is to create an environment where the players will flourish. Something that Neil is clearly not delivering.
Dave Stringer and Big Duncan are primed, ready and as good as anyone in the country at dealing with the sort of centre forwards we are used to seeing every week, the likes of Alan Woodward, John Hickton, Mick Jones and Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, all sinew and elbow, the very best that English centre forwards can offer.
“There is a circus in the town – where George Burley is the clown”. Again, far too rude to detail, but I used to sing it with gusto. A true NCFC original and I absolutely loved joining in with it.
After Villa, I wrote that Alex Neil had earned a further chance to put things right. Well, quite frankly, he’s blown it. I’m not screaming for Gary Rowett or any other individual – certainly not Roy Hodgson, anyway – but something has to change.
“You’ve been under intense pressure for the past twelve months. The way you’ve conducted yourself has been, in my view, admirable. But being the proud man you are, you may be the last to recognise that a break would benefit you.”
The uninspiring and unstimulating duo of Robbie Brady and Jacob Murphy were fundamentally oblivious to their important defensive duties, steadfastly refusing to track back and therefore leaving City exposed.
When out of possession, with Huddersfield’s manager David Wagner being a disciple of Jurgen Klopp, it came as no surprise that were exponents of the high press – worthy ones at that – but still City had no answer.
Many of us thought last night’s team selection appeared too defensive on paper. I don’t care – it worked. Winning ugly? To an extent, but I would settle for this level of performance in every game right now. We need those points and it really doesn’t matter how we get them.
It wasn’t the beautiful game of course, it rarely is in the Championship, and I’m doubtful if the neutral watching TV audience was wholly enthralled but to those draped in yellow it offered up something very different to the fare we’ve become used to – even when comparing it to the Brentford romp.
Scenes were toxic at Oakwell. Such obvious aversion from City’s loyal following must surely go some distance in relinquishing Moxey’s seemingly oblivious stance towards our pain. The fans want change. City need change.
To my mind nothing before this season raised serious questions over Alex Neil’s ability, or the desirability of our keeping him. I was with the majority of Carrow Road in acclaiming him at the end of the Watford game in May.
The mix of a manager who has lost his way, identity, mojo [delete as appropriate], who is picking his team with one eye on the fans’ reaction to it and a bunch of players who only perform when the track is flat, not spinning, and has even bounce, is toxic in the extreme.