Andy Munro watches, and worries about, events at St Andrews.
Fair play to the Sky Blues, who deserved to win an entertaining game – entertaining, that is, for their supporters or a neutral. I try to dredge up some consolation that things can only get better and try to remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn and so on. I even sought consolation from the fact that Swindon had a surprise win at Stoke, but I can’t kid myself that Blues were anything but dire. The fact is that in losing to a lower league side we have been knocked out of the treasured cup we won only two seasons ago, and also lost the opportunity to escape from the drudgery that our Championship campaign is fast becoming.
Who’s to blame for signing two ‘on paper’ decent midfielders – one supposedly a hard tackling and busy holding player and one supposedly creative, talented and goal scoring, yet who in the flesh have given our centre of midfield the substance of a polo mint? Who’s to blame for turning a once dominant defence into an error-strewn back four who panic anytime anybody has the temerity to run at them? Who’s to blame for signing a player like Lovengrans, who is the mirror image of Marlon King, i.e. agood marksman if given the ball on a plate but with no real pace or physical presence? Where’s the variety in that? Who’s to blame for turning a promotion challenging outfit into a rock bottom team currently devoid of confidence and enthusiasm?
Step forward Lee Clarke. This is Your Strife. Currently Lee looks like a rabbit caught in headlights when interviewed, not unlike Wolves’ stand-in manager last season, Terry O’Connor. Both decent men, I’m sure, but seemingly incapable of rousing their players from their slumbers. The worrying thing is that I don’t think it’s tactics to blame, but the fact the players just seem so uninspired and lacking in energy.
I suppose it would be a bit of a Sun reader type knee-jerk reaction to say sack him (and Blues probably couldn’t afford it anyway) but if we don’t get a result against Posh I think his situation has to be seriously reviewed. My particular take is that many of the players have been there, done that and have become complacent. This is compounded by Lee being too young to be that respectful distance from them. Perhaps he’s too nice and we need somebody grumpy who’s not afraid to break a few tea cups without saying sorry.
As regards the match, Doyle and Spector apart, Blues were pretty poor and to be frank when it was 2-2, I always thought it would be Coventry who would break the deadlock. Lee Clarke has trotted out a list of clichés after each defeat and he says he’s hurting. He ought to try being a Blues fan.
By the way, after the Coventry match, would you play ‘starlet’ Ben Gordon at full-back or an enthusiastic Mitch Hancox who would die for the shirt, even the pink one?