I felt I had to write something down after last nights performance but then have struggled with where to start. Social Media has gone into meltdown and there has been a shift amongst the fans. Before this week, in spite of a bad start I believe the majority of us were still firmly behind the new revolution as most of us could see that even though it hadn’t been plain sailing, whenever change is affected it will always take time.
Unfortunately for me though, this week I am struggling to see just how the club has reached the decisions it has. There is so much to digest that I am sure I will not be able to cover all the points but if you take the last few days as a snapshot you would see a club in apparent disarray and a new system that has failed before it has started. Earlier on in the year the powers that be made it perfectly clear that this project was for the long term and that it wouldn’t be discarded because of early results. That’s all well and good but you do not have to be a statistical genius to work out that we may be continuing that project back in League 1 if things do not change soon.
Firstly let me address the elephant in the room. Warburton. It would seem that amongst the fans and I believe the players, Warburton being replaced is something that we can’t get over. Well we need to, actually we MUST do. Last night on the way out of the ground I lost count of the amount of fans ranting about how we should never have got rid of Warbs. It’s not that I disagree with them it’s just it’s irrelevant. He has gone and for the good of the club and for anyone else who may take over, we need to accept that the decision has been made and move on. The players need to realise this as well. From various things I have read and from what I have seen myself, the players that were here last season clearly were not happy that he left and have failed to properly adjust to the new system. Harlee Dean is about the only player to have accepted things and now he is rumoured to not be signing a new contract. This leads me to think that perhaps Benham wants the old guard gone. Does he want to distance himself as much as possible from the old regime? Once Dean has been moved out will the likes of Alan Judge and Alan McCormack be next?
As I wrote in my blog on Monday, we now need to throw our support behind Lee Carsley and before the game there was, dare I say it, a wave of optimism about the new Head Coach. 90 short minutes later and it’s back down to earth with a crash. This has been confounded by a rather strange and at the same time eye opening post-match press conference. Carsley was unequivocal when asked about the job on a full time basis. He isn’t interested and doesn’t want to be a manager. So that begs the rather obvious question. Why give the job to a man who doesn’t want it. A man by his own admissions last night didn’t stick his hand up for it and even if he is successful, wont take it on long term. Not only that but according to Carsley he is now likely to leave the club at the end of the season as it is very difficult to go back to being Development Squad Manager. So he was doing such a good job with them that we now give him a new role hat he didn’t want and lose him entirely at the end of the season. This is yet another decision that has failed to be explained to us and one that I have no doubt that will see a further wall of silence from our ever reclusive owner.
We have not heard from Benham from some time and I believe that he now needs to come out and provide some answers. We are facing the very real prospect of going into the International break precariously close to the drop zone, being led by a man who doesn’t want the job, who has players who won’t sign new contracts and an injury list as long as most first team squads. We need Matthew to come out and tell us just what the hell has gone on in the past few months and how, if his new model is one that can make us uber competitive and is so thorough that we can get a leading edge on our opponents, failed to spot that Dijkhuizen wouldn’t fit with what we had and that we’ve appointed a man whose strengths lies in teaching the kids.
It is all very shambolic and let me be clear that I will support Lee Carsely for as long as he is in the job, rather obviously he hasn’t asked for this and from watching him as a player and from what he has done with the development squad he will do his upmost to succeed, there is on doubt about it but I will make a prediction that he will not be with the club by the end of the season and likely will be gone before January. I do not understand why the club haven’t appointed him Head Coach until they find a successor and let him go back to the role with the development squad.
The game last night was as frustrating as it gets. The opening 20 minutes we actually looked bright with Woods getting on the ball and Kerschbaumer finally finding the pockets of space but all too soon we slowed it down and made ourselves vulnerable. For someone that is always taking a lot of stick from the fans Harlee Dean must be getting fed up of putting himself on the line for the club. An article in Get West London stated that he is desperate to sign a new deal but as it stands he will leave in seven months and talks have all but stopped. He has been one of, if not our best player this season and last night again he stood up to most of what Birmingham could throw at him. But we are letting ourselves down time and time again. After Birmingham scored we gave nothing and you could have forgiven Toumani Diagouraga for going up to each of his teammates and landing one right on their chins. He won a crucial tackle in his own box with a minute or so to go, only to find no outlet anywhere near him. Faced with the task of carrying the ball out himself he marauded halfway up the pitch to again find absolutely no support from anyone. Bidwell had no desire to get forward, Vibe had stopped in his tracks and after looking round to his right found the rest of the midfield staring at their boots. Wholly unacceptable!
I could also be reading too much into things but when a development squad or youth team manager moves on to the first team you often find that younger players move on with them. Last night the impressive Josh Clarke made way for Alan McCormack. Not too unsurprising as the presence of Alan McCormack is needed at the moment and it allowed Woods to come into the middle but what did intrigue me was that after Birmingham scored just after Canos had entered the game I expected Carsley to look to the bench and maybe introduce Clarke or Udumaga. Clarke has taken to first team football far better than young Jermain Udumaga but it is also a lot easier for a winger/full back. They will see more of the ball and their sole currency is not just goals, unlike a striker. But with 15 to go and at least one quick, direct, exciting young player on the bench I expected him to turn to him. Does this point to Carsley not thinking their good enough? It’s only one game so too early to tell but just something I noticed.
We now go to Derby who haven’t been setting the world alight but will no doubt again be up there at the right end of the table come May and who will be fully expecting to take all three points against us. I think it is going to be a long couple of weeks and the pressure will no doubt start to build before we take on Rotherham and will already be billed as a relegation 6 pointer. We can all look forward to players returning and that will surely help us but regardless of what the club say their aims are, mine firmly remains on ensuring we are in the division next season.
I’m starting to annoy myself with my feeling negative but unfortunately the lack of information from the club, strange decisions and dodgy results have left us all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves. However football fans are notoriously fickle and what’s to say that after we beat derby, smash Rotherham and score a last minute winner against QPR that we all won’t be saying “I knew Benham was right”
Up the Bees