Kenny McLean had a superb game in midweek against a Hull City side who didn’t pay attention when doing their homework, allowing him the time and space he needed to do his best impression of famous NFL quarterbacks Dan Marino and Joe Montana.***
At the DW Stadium on Saturday, he got no room whatsoever and, being Kenny, the phrase After the Lord Mayor’s Show has never been more relevant as, along with Gaby Sara, our deeper-lying midfielders fell victim to the Maloney Press which to me harked back to the days of: you’re better equipped to play football than we are so we’ll do everything we can to stop you.
And while you’re here, we’ll make sure your front players spend 95% of the game with their backs to goal as you haven’t got the physicality or invention to stop us from doing just that.
And oh boy, did it work. Stop us? We never got started.
I must admit, I haven’t been bothered to watch the 6:31 version of the highlights from Norwich City Official that Gary mentioned yesterday. Anybody unfortunate enough to have witnessed the 1:51 of the Sky version will have seen that re-runs of our defensive errors occupied over half that time.
Mitigation is there for Grant Hanley (above) on the first of these though as the ball took a wicked spin away from him as it bounced awkwardly on what looked to be a pretty ropey pitch. This set Callum Lang free more than any ineptitude from the big Scot but it needed slo-mo for me to spot just how wicked the bounce was.
The stats claimed that we had 65% possession and just the one shot on target, so excuse me if I temporarily think I’m writing after Bristol City again but the difference is that against the Robins our “shot on target” featured on the highlights clip. I’m b*ggered if I can find it this time around!
Shots, whether or not on target, often tend to come from strikers. As I write it is unclear whether either Teemu Pukki or Josh Sargent will be fit to face Birmingham tomorrow night. If not, we are left with the prospect of playing Adam Idah solo in the role. Despite David Wagner claiming that Marcelino Nunez and Liam Gibbs [what!] can play as a striker, he has already ruled out involving any of the youngsters, so it looks like you could be on your own Adam!
Key issues among our support right now are tending to focus on the amount of money that was put together to assemble this disjointed squad – and how much more our players are paid than some of our rivals. I’m not claiming to be privy to precise figures [don’t believe anybody outside the club who claims they know exactly what individuals’ salaries are] but take it from me that, say, Luton, Millwall and Sunderland pay their first team squads considerably less than we pay ours.
Why highlight these three clubs, you might wonder. Because they are all above us in the EFL Championship table, that’s why. There are plenty more teams below us in the table who pay their players far less than we do and that’s for sure.
Back on the grass, there is also a feeling extant that Gunny Jnr did more than enough in this match to finally make the Number One position his own until the season’s end and hopefully well beyond that if Stuart Webber doesn’t succumb to a fistful of Rangers’ Scottish fivers.
More and more fans by the minute are coming around to the idea of the reset that many of us here on MFW have been advocating for quite some time now. It becomes clearer with every passing game [whether we win, lose or draw] that this squad is unbalanced in so many ways, adding up to a level of inconsistency in terms of results that have not been seen since Hanoverian hygiene inspectors turned over the icehouse at Mrs. Miggins’ Pie Shop.
And as we all know, inconsistency does not lend itself to achieving promotion in this or any other season.
Those with knowledge of accountancy and the intricacies of the financial side of football will ascribe to applying reason to the often asked and sometimes derided question posed by those without this specialised knowledge [folks like me]: where’s the bleedin’ money gone?
I haven’t asked this question for several seasons now as it has been plain to see what has happened, even to a fiscal numbskull like me. But now seems around about the right time to risk the tut-tutting of the fiscally aware fraternity and ask it again.
I’ve declared above that I am aware of our relatively high wage costs, especially in terms of the Championship. The £66million debt remains, borrowed against parachute payments and we have no bloodstock to sell that is of any real worth. In other words, we appear to be skint. Webber’s “buy to sell in the future” policy is blown out of the water.
And how will he operate against this background?
To the best of my knowledge, he’s never had to work from this kind of position before and it will be interesting to see what way he leaps. We’ll find out in the fullness of time, which in this case is only about three months distant.
In the meantime most NCFC-minded folks that I speak with live in dread of Webber overseeing and particularly getting his hands dirty with our summer recruitment. I must admit that I’m very much one of the gang in this case.
*** I’m sure there are other quarterbacks of the modern era who are just as good as Dan and Joe but as I dislike American “football” with a passion I don’t know who they are [Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Joe Borrow – Ed]. I’m only aware of the two I mention because I’ve seen them both interviewed on NBC or suchlike and they were interesting enough not to make me want to change channels.
This kind of sums our season up:
It was interesting to read that McLean was allowed the freedom tof CR V Hull, but suffered the complete opposite on Saturday and conceded possession cheaply on more than one occasion.
IMO, a saving grace was that we were slightly better in the 2nd half, whereas with DS at the helm, we were sometimes wise in the 2nd half!!
I’ve always said that I would give DW until the end of Feb to guage what impact he would have on the players and I’m still hopeful that he may achieve something.
So not only are the squad on better salaries than many of our competitors, we also have the added cost of – running the stadium, plus stewarding, policing etc that some other clubs don’t have.
Oil be renewing my ST, as I have faith in the younger players coming through, but absolutely ZERO faith in SW recruiting one or more players improving the squad.
I think I’m right in saying that the ONLY player that SW bright to CR Zand subsequently sold for a profit (which SW teeth squandered on dross!!) was Buendia. 🙁 ⚽g
martin penney says
A prominent MFW commenter said last week that Buendia was Kieran Scott’s find and that he had to fight Webber all the way to land him for the Club.
So prominent I can’t remember who it was unfortunately – please forgive me as we get so many comments it’s hard to remember who said what sometimes 🙂
The point he was making is that Buendia does indeed go down as Webber’s only success but his signing here was actually down to somebody else who obviously really knew what he was looking at.
As far as that is concerned, the truth is obviously out there but I guess we’ll never know for sure.
With Dean Smith gone, I guess I might have given my ST a 34th consecutive season after all, but the fates [aka the docs] said no and I completely accept that.
If it had been at the height of Farkeball or the Lambert era I might well have been tempted to defy medical advice!
In a nutshell then – SW doesn’t have a ‘scooby’ about recruitment then!! 🙁
We’re DOOMED. ⚽
martin penney says
Don’t tell them your name Alex, don’t tell them your name 🙂
Morning MR P Another drab encounter with no answers coming from either the green stuff or the bench , I remember Gordon Strachan saying of one Mr Huckerby, a world beater one week a carpet beater the next. Whatever he viewed Hucks I would sooner have him in this team and some of what we do have.
Wagner may be a half decent coach as was Farke, Smudger the jury is out and likely to remain out, but half decent or not, none of the above can get a real tune of of this compiled junk . How many of these would be picked up by a championship team if up for sale. not many.
There is a footballing side in there as witnessed during 3 games, those we should be grateful for as if there was not a change in the dug out I doubt we would have even seen those.
Can it get any clearer where the problems lay? The writers and readership of this page, see mpre than most can or want to see. . At this point Wagner is no more than a sticking plaster, until he can get the players he needs and perhaps wants expect nothing more than what we have witnessed..
Tuesday, if the sequence continues will be a better showing, perhaps everyone will be hyper again expecting the same again The only thing this squad is good at is being is consistently inconsistent.
Smudger is long gone and yet the football or lack of it still remains
As to summer clear out which is needed, unless there is a secret money tree somewhere in Colney woodland nowt much is going to happen. the conveyer belt is empty . Aarons still here after another year of hype surrounding a destination surely that says something, Gunn is the only one drawing column inches in the rumour/transfer sections, lets be honest we are not talking vast amounts either, it is Scotland which is still the bargain basement for prices.
If this share issue thingy is going to drum up some dosh, that isnt going to be enough, well for Webbers shopping choice it maybe, but think we have seen enough of that thank you. Perhaps it will make enough to buy a couple of decent untried players who look ready for a step up. But where, are they needed most. ? Sure we all have our own ideas.
One thing is sure if something doesn’t change we will get worse .
martin penney says
*Can it get any clearer where the problems lie? The writers and readership of this page see more than most can or want to see.*
That of course is true and unlike many folks I am deeply uncertain what the results of the upcoming horse-trading concerning the share allocation will bring to the party.
Hucks was always special, even if he had a quiet game which of course he did occasionally just like many – if not all – others.
He is certainly almost universally considered as our player of the century, although we’re only 23 years into it so far 🙂
They looked helpless at Wigan, but Wagner has said he will make changes for the Birmingham game. So, it’s welcome back to Carrow Road, a field of opportunities for someone. But for who.
Will we finally see Sorenson get a start, or will we have an unknown legend grace the turf from the under23’s. With fourteen games left it could well be the time to take chances and pop a couple of youngsters in unless the fear is they might be lost in the big time.
martin penney says
It would be great to see Sorensen get a start, wouldn’t it?
Omobamidele was by all accounts struggling a bit on Saturday so could a CB berth be Lungi’s tomorrow?
More likely a recall for Gibson I would imagine but this is Wagner not Smith so you never know. Maybe Lungi’s time has come at last.
Don Harold says
I haven’t seen a second of Saturday’s match; the stats and the radio reports suggested it was exactly the same as so many games this season, except with a zero in the goals against column. I don’t know what was on the Hull manager’s mind, but anyone who watches football regularly could set up a team which would have a more than even chance of beating us.
Perhaps now is the time to say goodbye to some, or all, of the ‘old guard.’ We’ve almost certainly seen the very best of Krul, Hanley, McLean and Pukki. I’d be inclined to keep Hanley and McLean as I think they still have something to offer in the Championship that we’ll be playing in next season. An Aarons transfer would probably pay the interest payments on the loan (isn’t football sexy these days?).
I think Wagner will want more input into who comes in than we are led to believe that the previous two head coaches had-perhaps he knows of a diminutive Argentinian genius knocking about the Spanish second tier anonymously.
I’m going to temper my expectations for the rest of the season hoping for reason to be wildly optimistic come August.
martin penney says
That’s a very pragmatic view that I guess a lot of us will broadly agree with.
I like the line on Max and the interest on the loan 🙂
Cyprus canary says
My pound nominal bet with you is not looking too healthy at the moment to be sure! I still think we are in with a chance of the playoffs but not sure if that would in fact be a bad thing.
Wagner must be pulling his hair out to try to see why players are so good one week and poor the next. I too hope to see Sorenson given a run in the team if only to confirm how good he is. It would be nice to see Idah given some service for the same reason. Both have been blighted by injuries and managers who give them two minutes at the end of a game.
A clear out is required but it must start with Webber. And Smiths.
Keep smiling the good times are coming! Ha Ha
martin penney says
I think a lot of it rests with the oppo, as in how good they are with whatever version of the press they employ as in Burnley were brilliant, Wigan adequate and Hull simply downright lackadaisical.
Join the “we want a starting gig for Sorensen” movement by all means – our numbers are growing fast 🙂
As far as Weber and the Smiths are concerned they are a metaphor for life itself: the more entrenched the problem, the harder it is to eradicate.
Mystic kev says
Well Martin after that performance against the bottom of League team we need to build from the back with a complete new back four so mistake ridden are they and have been for three seasons .instead of wasting £20mil on those two wingers who beat nobody let Arron’s have a go in that position who seems to beat most fullbacks at will we could then have had £20 mill to spend on defence as I said before Arron’s wouldn’t be here now if he was a good defender . Suspect arsenal loanee may get a go tomorrow but unless we get a pen can’t see us scoring so I’m goin 10 Brum if Saturday is anything to go by keep well mate .
martin penney says
Playing Max as an out and out winger would be an interesting experiment and the only reason I’d fight shy of doing it is that he hasn’t got much of a left foot.
$od’s law dictated that I had to do the MFW Birmingham preview and I said something like *we can beat Birmingham – but will we?* so I’ll stay on the fence.
I shouldn’t have to take that attitude, I should say we’re worth a comfortable 2-0 but with this team you just can’t do that.
Give the lads a shout for me tomorrow.
The squad definitely needs reconstructing but who is going to do it and how are we going to pay for it.
Self funding and pay as you go are dead in the water so surely the people responsible for this nonsense do not possess either the ability or finance to turn the club around.
I would say the ownership and board situation needs to be sorted before we’ll ever be successful on the pitch.
If the new share issue doesn’t result in a change of ownership and sufficient financial support I can see us in league 1 rather than the championship judging from recent performances and the future loss of Pukki.
martin penney says
Yes the concept of self [fan] funding is being shown up for what it is on an ever-increasing and almost daily basis.
That little con is about to hit the buffers and where we can go from here is anybody’s guess. All I would say that anybody expecting any level of dedicated player investment from Mark Attanasio is barking up the wrong sequoia, if they even grow anywhere near Milwaukee which I doubt.
We are seriously boracic and that will become a real issue come the end of May.
As I said the other day I’m not sure if we’re going to end up with the American version of self funding which is not what the club needs at this juncture.
martin penney says
I fear you could be right there!
Tim Ball says
I did watch, for my sins Martin, the 6.31 lowlights from Saturday’s game.
It was Keystone Cops defending of the highest order in the first half, thank god for Angus being on his game. I must have fell asleep such was the excitement that I did not see “The” shot on target from the not so great team.
I agree wholeheartedly that Kenny is nothing more than a stop gap at Holding Midfielder, can you imagine the outcome in the EPL😱
However I am with Don, I still think Kenny and Grant Hanley, with the right midfield can offer us something next year. I am still amazed by people thinking Hanley is slow, from what I’ve been told only Placheta can beat him in sprints, and that’s not every time.
This midfield is in bad need of a revolution. That will mean new players and a DW pre-season for my money.
I know Hanley, Andy O and Ben Gibson get dogs abuse, sometimes fairly this season, but would you want to play behind that midfield that leaks like a sieve every week? I wouldn’t.
I still believe Hanley and Omobamidele can definitely do us a job next season in the championship. Ben? perhaps if he can regain his confidence.
The unknown player in all of this is Mark Attanasio.
With more than a few players out of contract in July, the £66 million loan for the parachute payments already spent, the fragile nature of the squad both in consistency and balance and the “war” between club versus fans and the local media things do not look good for us at this moment in time.
But, I say this without total conviction quite yet, Delia and Michael seem to have at last come to the same conclusion as most of us on here that self-funding will not work and look like letting MA give it a go.
I therefore have some optimism despite where we find ourselves.
martin penney says
My reply to John F [above] applies really.
This will be the mother of all off-season rebuilds, surely.
I just hope that Webber allows Wagner maximum input into recruitment but even then I am concerned because I just don’t see him going for the pick of those currently at our Championship rivals because of the lack of future profit in them.
With my snidey addition that for the first time in a long time we couldn’t afford many of them anyway.
It’s not inconceivable that we could start 23-24 with a starting line-up of Barden, McCallum, Omobamidele, Tomkinson, Mumba, Gibbs, McLean, Hernandez, Dowell, Rowe and Idah.
I’m not saying that will be the scenario of course, but it is not impossible.
Alex Bain says
Hope all is well with you today ? TheBreaking News on Sky is everyone’s favourite Heavy Rock Manager Garth Ainsworth is in talks with QPR to replace P45 Neil Critchley so poor old Wycombe might have to start looking for a new manager after god kn9ws how long.
Will the club owners whoever that will be at the end of the season have the cajones to offer Webber his P45 knowing it will possibly also end his wife’s tenure on the board.
Like you and many others I’V seen some utter rubbish dished up at times followed by the complete opposite but Saturday’s away game at Wigan really showed this squad lacks the ability to think on its feet, Danny Blanchflower once said that the manager gives you the tools and plan for the game but once over the white line it’s the players that have to make decisions to effect the plan or change it if it’s not working.
Saturday no one could or would take that responsibility, Hanley gets criticism for his display but time and again he puts everything into the game covers more ground than any other player and helps his fellow Scot out of the brown stuff so many times.
Sara is hit and miss but he reminds me of someone still coming to terms with a new system and life style similar with Nunez, Tzolis but Dowell with so much potential still flounders against a physical team and Wigan weren’t shy in making sure that they used all their physical strength on a lightweight midfield.
Bullied out of the Wagner style and everytime a city player received the ball he was closedown with no outlet and it’s becoming obvious that 23 teams have seen the memo on how to stop city.
Will Eustace and his Brummies do the same or will Wagner read the riot act to get a reaction time and the red button will tell.
martin penney says
*Saturday’s game at Wigan really showed this squad lacks the ability to think on its feet,*
That says a lot about a previous manager who couldn’t wait to deflect everything onto those very same players by saying he invited them to improvise in every match!
Does Wagner read the riot act? I suppose he must do from time to time just like all managers but I doubt it’s a major part of his make-up from what I’ve seen and heard.
We’ve been lightweight ever since Skippy returned to Spurs and Tetts drifted into retirement and it’s scandalous that nothing has been done about them – the Isaac Hayden *masterstroke* theory lost all credence a long time ago.
Gareth Ainsworth must have a right dilemma with QPR. He wouldn’t have to move house and certainly get a better deal with the £££ – in the short term anyway.
Good luck to him in whatever he decides.
Andy Williams says
I have one question, or is it a query?
Much has been said alluding to the failures of one SW. And l don’t chose to defend, or otherwise, his transfer dealings.
What puzzles me is this; Wagner worked closely with Webber at Huddersfield and would therefore know of his abilities, strong or weak. If, as has been said many times, that Webber is a transfer dealing wastrel, then why on earth would he risk teaming up with him again ?
martin penney says
That’s a very good question that I and I suspect many others have considered but I have never put my thoughts in writing as I don’t know the bl00dy answer!
Webber is a fully-fledged Director here which he never was at Huddersfield and thus wields more power.
Maybe, and this is only a guess, Wagner is happy to work with him again because he has only one man to please as let’s face it, to all intents and purpose it is Webber’s club right now.
If, and it’s a huge if, Mark Attanasio does get hands-on involved that scenario might change, but certainly not until such times.
Thanks for an interesting comment.