Well, I’ve not been afraid to use the ‘R’ word all season. I recognised how desperate the situation was at the Lincoln friendly and have had precious little since to raise my expectations and levels of optimism.
What we have to grasp is just how poor this squad actually is. To that I will simply add the word ‘gutless’.
So many do not deserve their God-given privilege of being a professional sportsman. Happily, though – and considerably sooner than many may have previously thought – they ain’t gonna be!
To add to all of this woe, we have a fair number of decent enough players who can perform in a good team but who, in the current setup, will downgrade to being mere ‘continuity players‘. (In the pro ranks – this expression is considered downright insulting as explained to me by a very well-known CM from Bradford City, a generation ago.)
The excess of dross is holding back those who do have some skill, intelligence and who are prepared to graft.
In the first quarter of the Gillingham game, we had four players who were not doing the business at all. What can the manager possibly do? The bench was desperately weak.
I may be angry at whoever was responsible for all of the fourth rate recruitment last summer but that is nothing compared to my feelings towards those who put in such spineless displays on the pitch.
The fact that three of the four ‘upped their game’ by a mere 30% or so, yesterday, actually seems to make it all worse, somehow.
Many moons ago, I used to be a Spanish teacher. For a number of years, I did not just have the best results in my school but across the entire Education Authority. What’s more, I had less time provision than in any other school. I could do my job and do it phenomenally well
This did not mean that I could always succeed, however. I recall one low set Year 10 group in particular which had been bullied into doing a language by those on high who had thought this to be ‘a brilliant idea’. These kids were especially resentful as the previous year group had not been bullied into the subject. Quite frankly, as linguists, they were pretty poor in the first place. With the attitudes I faced – nothing could be achieved.
Naturally, my results were singularly dire and oddly, I got a personal letter from the head roundly criticising these results – and me. (Man-management for numpties. Moreover, why did he not speak to me face to face?) Forget all my excellence both before and after.
So why bring this up? – It is because, as the old adage has it – ‘you need the right tools to do the job.’ Our manager has not got those tools at his disposal. Anyone who knows anything at all about football must surely see this small fact.
On Bru, I have already reverted to folk wisdom by saying that ‘You can’t make silk purses out of a sow’s ear’. This is the situation that Mr McCall is having to face. I truly pity him.
To have a go at the man in the face of our horrendous injury list is as scandalously unfair as was my own situation described above.
For the moment, these players are all we’ve got – and on a subliminal level – they know this. What can the manager achieve by rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic? I do not have any idea – but I recognise that he has been forced into trying to do precisely that!
So what must we do?
It is clear that four loanees should be cleared out, if humanly possible.
Furthermore, the club must examine the paying up of a number of contracts. It is not cheap – but saving our season cannot be so.
Bringing in six or seven class players is surely a forlorn hope and so let us seek out swap deals with League Two clubs for decent grafters, as our alternative, so as to inject some passion, at least and move some players on.
Without such players in the squad, I truly believe that we are doomed.
We must also bring in three players of quality down the spine of the team – we must manage that! We need leaders and catalysts who possess a degree of intelligence – yet one more weak area in the current squad.
As far as it be possible, we need to sign mainly players of our own. The loan system has let the Iron down far more often than it has delivered gems. Psychologically, many loan players might even believe that they are doing their best – but if they were playing for their own club – they would inevitably deliver more. The loan route can be a risky enterprise.
We also do not know where we stand where the GK position is concerned.
IMHO, we need three quality signings; three grafters and perhaps a single, experienced loan player to rescue this abject season. Premier League and Championship youngsters of limited experience can be of no use to a club in our position.
If the type of players I have described are not beginning to flood in from the very start of January – look forward to all those lovely League Two games next season.