Saturday, 18 January 2014

Two weeks left...

Just a fortnight to go before the transfer window closes. So far we have sold no-one and brought in two squad players from Standard Liege. I have to reserve judgement on them until I see them play but I am supposing the goalkeeper (Thuram) will have to wait his turn because of the form of Alnwick and the competition from Hamer. The midfielder, Ajdarevic, is likely to get some time from the bench soon so he can be assessed and perhaps as a sop to the new owner.

However, the gap upfront needs addressing in my opinion or we will run the risk of a disastrous relegation. David Biton was mentioned but has moved elsewhere and so far not even rumours of a striker from outside the Duchatelet stable. In fact, another midfielder, Anil Koc, has been hinted but that will be playing the numbers game, not the priority. I shared the train home from London with Paul Elliott yesterday and walked around to the ground with him. We discussed playing requirements and Paul was reasonably comfortable that we "will be ok" this season on the basis that there are three worse sides than us. I don't disagree but wouldn't want to use that as the test. Hindsight might show us that a modest expenditure would have been the smart move. We also have to contemplate the possible loss of one of our better players too and any possible double whammy would immediately bring together the Scott Parker transfer decision which started our long decline.

Chris Powell was back in print yesterday, this time with the BBC and my coded reading of that is that it was a tactful nudge to the owner to pull his finger out over the contract situation. Powell clearly wants his position resolved and he has maximum leverage right now. He spoke of the lift sorting it out would make for the coaching staff and players. That's about as strong and as clear a position as he could respectfully make and the ball is clearly in the Brussels court.

Michael Slater would also appear to be looking for a new job. He placed an article (CV?) with his close sources at the South London Press explaining what a great job he and Jiminez had done during their front-man act for Kevin Cash. The facts speak for themselves in terms of what they did but how you do something is often much more important. Yes Mikey, you took over a League One club and left it in the Championship. Well done. However, your management style and arrogant approach to communication with the hostages supporters was what you will be remembered for. I'm afraid that isn't good 21st Century management. Bullying was the over-riding theme and you have done profound damage to the club's management and it's reputation with the majority of it's supporters. 

I won't go over all that again but the Club's season ticket in the courts and run of losses against former employees is what will not be forgotten. The fact that we have the lion-share of the squad out of contract and at risk has also happened on your watch and our playing surface is currently also your failure to invest relatively modest sums. Get back to supporting Man City.


Phil said...

Dave, I share your concerns. In this window we've lost one of our best players albeit that Stewart was a loan player and got in two ( maybe three now from Liege ). We're rapidly becoming Standard Liege B without the strikers. I'm not sure that Chris had identified a fourth keeper as a necessity. Of equal, if not even greater concern, is the lack of new contracts for the best players and thus rather important assets that club has. That Chris is now making noises in the press is worrying. I wasn't convinced by Roland's only statement to date, some of the Year 6's at my school could have written that. Positive action is what's needed but there's little sign of any. I'm sure that you, like me, set up your blog to write in the main about matters on the pitch. It seems that for about the last year the reverse is true.

Dave said...

Phil - I can'\t believe Roland will let Powell go or not get the main playing contracts sorted. However, if he did want to start afresh with a new manager without causing major upset shortly after arriving, he would be inclined to stick with Powell until the end of the season and maybe keep his powder dry in terms of spending or contract commitments for a new manager in the Summer. It's a risky strategy but Powell would need to manage for his future and there's every chance that sacking him after a (hopefully successful) relegation battle would be the path of least resistance to his ultimate ambitions as the owner.

Anonymous said...

I tried to post something very similar to your response comment earlier, unfortunately it didn't post.

Reading various accounts of RD, both from Belgian media and fans, it would certainly appear that there will not be any significant money spent on players during his tenure but you would think that he must have a coherent plan in trying to raise the stature of the club.

I'm convinced that Powell will go come the end of the season, it will be a shame but let's be honest, the football for the last 3 years has not been exactly scintillating, maybe a fresh approach both on and off the field, is what the club really needs.

Dave said...

Anon - Chris Powell is still learning the art of management and I am 100% behind him. Changing managers is Russian roulette as we found out post Curbs and the only justification for the risk in my opinion is when your current manager has lost it. What I would say by way of critique is that Chris hasn't really found a way to impress regularly at home. We weren't anywhere near as convincing as we should have been in our promotion season and it's been poor fare for the last two years. Any regular reader will be tired of me groaning about it.