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Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Root Cause

Thinking a lot today on why and what caused a perfectly capable promotion contender for two years to simply fall away and look a shell of that team has occupied my mind today.

And it’s far too easy to merely point fingers at the usual suspects, the lack of investment, and the appointment of McClaren etc as being why this situation has arisen. There are deeper cause and consequence too for this.



Yes extra investment would have been nice and would no doubt have seen success. Hindsight as well all know is a wonderful thing, and there is no guarantee that had we bought in extra players that they would have been successful and we would have gone up. That’s a debate we have done before to death. So let’s leave that one there.

One aspect for me was the slight breaking up of the team of the last 2-3 years. Ok we have most of the players, but the likes of McKenna and Earnshaw may be more missed than what we realise. Most of the players who left in the summer were fringe players, and coupled with Billy’s departure it did feel like somewhat change in the squad dynamic.

When players came in since the glut of signings 2 years ago, it was one player drip fed in occasionally. Such as Tudgay, the core remained the same. This season feels like too much tried to change. The whole strike force changing, Cohen got shunted round the park before his injury (and his loss is proving to be huge to the team) McKenna as that focal lynch pin in the midfield is missing as Moussi simply isn't a clever enough footballer to play that role. McGugan is in this game for McGugan alone.



I always said the team of the last 2 years were over achieving. The likes of Morgan and Chamber are not as good as what they looked at times. Same with the flanks of the team. But it does seem that somehow that Billy Davies had them on a crest of a wave, and perhaps lucky to get a group of players who for a period were united and played above themselves. I do think though that had we tried to carry on that team though that that time had simply gone. It needed a change. But a gradual one.

Only 5players came in, 5 mostly well paid players, and couple with injuries had to rely on a team that were strangers to one another. Some of the players in are also confidence players (i.e. Matt Derbyshire) and Greening has been asked to do a McKenna role I am not sure he is comfortable with.

Greening is somewhat surprising as he has a fairly good pedigree and career yet here hasn’t really shown what has made this reputation. Why this is I cannot explain. Those who simply state he is crap aren’t looking at a bigger picture. Players do not simply turn crap like that. Something must be wrong.

Moussi it seems is floundering and only Davies knew how to wield this most frustrating of weapons in our arsenal. Sublime and ridiculous within seconds, those good moments are far less frequent, and when Moussi messes up he messes up big time.

Chambers seems to have reverted to his old form. Lynch though has simply looked better than him, but Gunter, now Anderson and McCleary could be back should replace him at right back, captain or no captain.

And now Cotterill has said he will wheel and deal in January. This is a time perhaps to move out some of the players simply not clicking. I think Billy's players don't work well without him. We need Cohen to be temporarily replaced at least; the loan market would be good to look at. Surely Arsenal have a kid who could benefit from 6 months with us.

It is ironic here, I wrote at the start that changes caused this, and now I call for changes. However, this period of time seems to illustrate that change is needed. In the summer the first team players were all Billy's players, and perhaps there is a schism in the camp, and that many of those players, whose contracts are coming up no longer identify with the same team that we had before. We all know from any job there is a period of time when things click and everything feels great, and then something or some changes and it no longer feels the same. That is all I think that is happening. And it needs addressing. Maybe some people are starting to stagnate. Maybe we need a fresh flow into the squad. Hungry players. Eager to prove.

Who knows to be honest? If anyone did we wouldn’t be in this situation.

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