I would say till today that most fans have stood by Cotterill and understand the very difficult job he is doing. Working with hands tied, and with players woefully underperforming, and injury list longer than most, those with any sense knew this was hard work.
However I think following today’s abject home performance to a Southampton who barely had to go up the gears to finish us off. Not helped by some strange refereeing, but to be fair, even had they been the most biased "homer" ref ever we wouldn’t have got anything out of this. We simply didn't deserve too.
A few might point to Chambers red card, which right now I haven’t seen. From where I sit, there is no way I can whether it was a right decision. The reaction of Southampton players suggest there may have been something bad, but it would be out of character. Additionally not one player rushed to check on their stricken player’s welfare, but all to surround the ref, so it suggests they knew he was fine.
I know that at the end of the day it makes little difference but I do hate to see players surrounding the ref, and causing a melee. For instance, their goalkeeper sprinted up to get involved. Why did he need to be there? Frankly that was ridiculous. However I do accept that if he deserved to go, then they got their job done.
We were already of course one down, and not looking to great anyway before going down to 10 men, which just left huge gaps in the midfield anyway. The midfield today was not good enough, it left huge holes, there was a lot of sloppy passing and overall it had no cutting edge. McGugan stranded out on the left with little or no interest in getting into the game. McCleary was ineffectual. Never really getting round the full back or getting by him. He's only really effective against slow or tired fullbacks, or when they are inexperienced. Hs other problem is positionally he is quite poor.
The game was lost in the midfield for me. Ours simply never retained possession; the defence wasn’t too great either. Cunningham seems to be unable to pass 12 feet. One more than one occasion simple passes were missed. Chambers error leads to the first goal. Chambers is a man bereft of confidence or indeed ability right now. It seems last year was a flash in the pan.
And at the centre of this, is Cotterill. I am not sure what training regimes we are doing, or what the instructions are on field, but it didn’t work today. At All. There have been a few grumbles before today, and only the few knee jerk reactionaries in front of me who want any manager sacked after 2 games without winning usually were the only ones calling for his head. But now there was a lot more cat calling. Animosity between fans, those booing and berating and those trying to encourage the team. Ok you pay your money, you can choose to be negative, boo and berate and get on players back, but you really aren’t helping the cause.
Cotterill sounded clueless after the game. Clueless as to how to solve this, clueless about various injuries. Clueless about in general. I will always support the manager and the team, whilst they are with the club. Those who read this regularly will know I didn’t like Davies the man, but his record couldn’t be argued with. I do wonder if he'd have walked anyway, I think the new this team was limited and had gone so far and that it really couldn't progress.
There are basic problems. These are out of Cotterills control. Players on big salaries not doing anything, players on smaller salaries whose contracts are expiring and therefore with one eye on the exit door. Those lesser contracts create a feeling of inferiority. They aren’t as valued. New players came in on bigger money. And haven’t worked. I don't blame Chambers, Morgan and Lynch for being distracted, but then, and then, they need to know they need to prove their focus. Ignore however much the new guys are on, and get on with it.