Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Axe Falls

It was perhaps no surprise, in hindsight, that Rangers' frailties against good passing teams were cruelly exposed by the best passing team in the division (WBA), and on the back of a 5-1 hammering, Paladini and/or the F1 guys evidently decided that enough was enough. I didn't see the game yesterday so I can't comment on that directly, but if it was anything like the Cardiff or Southampton games then I can understand the decision.

The Boss (John Gregory) has perhaps been unlucky with a few circumstances, such as the forced sale of Lee Cook, Simon Walton's injury and of course Ray Jones' death. However, these (well except the latter) are the problems that managers are expected to solve. One of Steve Bruce's favourite (and most annoying) sayings is "judge me when everyone's fit". Right, so you mean judge your problem-solving ability when there are no problems to solve ? Evaluate your crisis management skill when there are no crises to manage ? Some of JG's solutions to these problems have been hard to understand. Bringing in a right-back of his own in the summer (Curtis [1]) and then playing the awful Zesh Rehman ahead of him (and ignoring the competent Sampsa Timoska). Using one of the season's limited number of loans on Hogam Ephraim (who has shown some promise) and then preferring to play Stefan Moore out of position. Picking two defensive central midfielders who somehow seem to give the better teams all the time in the world to play. Playing the erratic Damion Stewart every single week. These and other tactical and selection decisions have frustrated the fans, despite there being a lot of good will around for keeping the club up last season and clearly working all hours of the day at the job.

Add to all that the indications that players like Bolder, Blackstock and Rowlands are going backwards compared to the standards they set last season, and the case for the prosecution does mount up. It's unfortunate in some ways. I've been surfing the odd messageboard lately, keeping an eye on who might be coming in on loan, and as an aside, if you thought poker forums were full of mouthy idiots, jeez, you should see these. And this is supposed to be people who all support the same team. Amongst all this, one guy made a good point, he said where were all these people who want to manage the club now a year ago ? No one would touch it, but Gregory stepped up, took it on anyway, and kept the club in the division in the face of all sorts of problems, many of which are only coming to light now. He deserves a lot of credit for that and who knows, where would we be now if we had been relegated last season, would these investors have come in ? It's impossible to say, just as it's impossible to say right now how this decision will turn out.

This is a huge appointment and I just hope that we don't end up with someone like Vialli, a big name who has already failed hopelessly as a manager (just ask Watford fans). The most amusing possibility is that Mourinho might want to "keep his hand in" for the rest of the season, as this would not break the terms of his severance agreement with Chelsea. Unlikely of course, but you know what, I'd bet it @ 100 and how funny would it be. In the real world, Paul Jewell would be my choice and I've said before that I think Martin Allen is a much better manager than most people allow. We'll just have to see. With the transfer window firmly shut and several of our loan options already exercised, the new man will have a very tough job on his hands till January at least.

[1] It's true that Curtis has looked poor and shouldn't be playing, but then you ask, why bring him in to start with ?


  • At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Martin Allen, Martin Allen, Martin Allen. He used to play for you hoops, right? Get him in.

    Jimmy Quinn's Amber Army!


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