Brighton are coming to town..

It’s a pretty important game, this – indeed, I don’t think we have a game left this season that can’t be considered important.  To get automatic promotion, we have to basically win pretty much all our remaining games, in so doing there’s the chance we can make up the 9 point gap between us and Carlisle, and the smaller 5 point gap to Doncaster.

So, with that in mind we need to be building on the excellent – if fortuitous – result at Sixfields on friday with another win here.  Brighton are only four points behind us having played a game more, so are definite playoff contenders – and also travel to the City Ground on the back of a win, against Swindon at the Withdean stadium.  In 12 previous meetings at the City Ground, Brighton have never won – managing to draw 3.

Perch is obviously suspended for this fixture after the well documented egomaniac and incompetent referee Rob Styles red carded him for a tackle in which he appeared to win the ball – that said, it’s not the end of the world (except for being bloody annoying) since Perchy injured himself in the tackle and is still being assessed for the extent of the damage to his ankle ligaments.

Tyson is okay, despite hobbling off against Northampton, which is great news – by all accounts he literally ran himself out of fuel at Sixfields.  Commons, who made a substitute appearance, is now available again, as is Ian Breckin who was suffering with illness prior to the Northampton match – so we could see the same kind of formation, or we could see a tweak or two.

The Seagulls will be without a few key players, Whing is suspended and El-Abd and Richards are injured.  However, Wes or Wilson will need to keep a close eye on Nicky Forster who is currently topping Brighton’s scoring charts after joining Brighton in the summer for a bargainous £75k.

Last time out was in December at the Withdean, Tyson scored twice and – guess what – we had another harsh red card, this time it was Sammy who saw red for a ‘foul’ on Jake Robinson.  Fortunately Tys had already got us two goals prior to the dismissal enabling Forest to hold on and retain a valuable three points, and some degree of false hope that we’d see a change in our away fortunes!

I’m quite looking forward to it now, it seems like far too long since I’ve seen any football – even though it was only the Walsall game a little over a week ago..

Jewell finds a way to embarrass Derby County even more!

As well as seemingly on course to guide Derby to the worst ever points total in the Premiership (that said, I’d rather be where they are than where we are in the league), despite the fact that their goal-per-game ratio is apparently on course for being the worst ever at any level in football, despite all that, the News of the World has gotten hold of a real gem.

Paul Jewell, as I’m sure you’ll know, is a chubby middle-aged Scouse scally who happens to manage Derby, who has brought about immeasurable lack of improvement since taking over from Billy Davies.  He’s also fond of painting himself as a staunch family-man with a wife and two kids – so how amusing is it that the previously mentioned rag has gotten hold of a sex tape he made with his mistress?

What a complete fool!  But quite funny, of course, it’s gonna be tough on his wife and kids, but them’s the breaks – it just heaps more ridicule on our not-quite-nearest and certainly not dearest.  Whilst I’m no fan of the News of the World, it has amused me immensely the way they’ve reported it – so I would heartily recommend clicking on this link to read it yourself!

Surely it’s about time the ‘There’s a circus in the town..’ chant was rewritten with a more contemporary cast?

Holt’s gone to Blackpool…

… and not, as you may have first thought, to work on the beach alongside the other donkeys – he’s actually gone to play football there ’til the end of the season on loan.

Okay, so the inevitable Blackpool donkey jokes are out the way, it’s been a difficult time for Holt under Smoulderwood.  He attempted to sell him to Brizzle, he dropped him randomly when he was scoring goals, and this season he’s been playing him as a winger – clearly a fairly solid way of either saying “I don’t understand football”, or “I don’t like you very much.”

Grant has compounded this with not particularly inspiring performances when he has made it onto the pitch, and of course the infamous “shop window” comment he made when the possibility of playing Liverpool in the cup was on the media’s lips earlier in the season.  Coupled with rumours of fall-outs with the manager (including some attributing the black eye Smoulds was sporting recently to him), it was inevitable he’d be off sooner or later.

So it’s a bittersweet farewell, really – for the best, certainly, for us and him – as for whatever reason it wasn’t working for him here.  There was a time I thought very highly of him, an ‘old fashioned’ centre-forward with an eye for goal, but we’ve seen little evidence of that recently – whether it be through lack of effort or form, or Smoulders’ baffling tactical deployment of him.

No doubt he’ll slot into a strikers berth at Blackpool and start scoring again, as players generally do upon leaving us – that said, I do think his level is around about where we are now, so he might struggle up in the Championship where Blackpool currently nestle in the middle of the table.  So farewell, Grant – I wish you neither fortune nor malice.

We only need ten men!

Northampton Town – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

No matter how much I like to kid myself that I’d rather not be watching or listening to Forest when they’re playing, the experience of being away from Nottingham, out of radio signal, without Sky Sports and without a mobile signal was a nice reminder that – like it or not – this is a huge part of my life that leaves me out of sorts when it’s made unavailable to me.

Forest started well in the wind, and had the lead after a mere eight minutes afer a low cross from Cohen was expertly despatched into the net with a side-footed finish by Brett Ormerod on the back post.  I could’ve been two as well – a Clingan cross finding Tyson who unfortunately headed wide.  Tyson came close again, being set free by Matt Thornhill only to have his shot blocked by Little.

At this point, a text message snuck it’s way through the backwaters:

Contrary to earlier grumbling, we’re winning 1-0 thanks to Ormerod from close range again – we’re absolutely all over them at the moment and have had other chances.. will keep you posted..

Reassuring words when cast asunder in the middle of nowhere, and pleasing too that it’s not just me who doesn’t abbreviate my text messages!  However, of course, any seasoned Forest fan will know that if we’re doing things right, then it can be rest-assured that the referee will do something to throw a spanner in the works – and Rob Styles did just that moments later.

Perch entered a 50:50 robust challenge with soon-to-be Northampton goalscorer Hubertz, both players throwing themselves into it, Styles clearly seeing something nobody else could because Perchy was given his marching orders – Sammy and Benno were booked for their continued remonstrating (which, in fairness, they shouldn’t be doing, regardless of how baffling the decision). Cue another text message…

Well, just when it seemed things were going so well.  Perch has been given a straight red for what sounded like a fairly innocuous tackle!  Sounds like it’s all kicking off big style – Bennett & Clingan have also been booked for remonstrating with the ref, and CC was on the pitch to confront him too!

Three minutes later a much harsher looking challenge by Gilligan on Bennett only warranted a yellow, probably the right decision in isolation, but considering his earlier harshness with Perch, a definite case of double-standards from the card-happy official.  The seemingly inevitable equaliser came from a throw-in which Hubertz converted via an overhead kick to get the Cobblers level.

Perhaps inevitably, Northampton have already equalised.  Somehow I can’t imagine the Reds getting anything from this game – so, are you coming to Tranny then, next month? 

With the extra man Northampton finished the stronger in the first half, Akinfenwa looked dangerous but fortunately Bennett was on hand to keep him in check, and Hubertz was less than accurate with subsequent chances that fell his way, shooting first over and then wide much to our relief.

The second half kicked off and Forest nearly pinched the lead immediately, Thornhill doing well to slip his man and cross to Tyson on the near post.  The striker didn’t have room to shoot so cleverly teed up Clingan whose shot from 20 yards rattled the crossbar.  Shortly after Thornhill was booked for arguing with the increasingly baffling Mr Styles.

Presumably mentally replaying his decisions over the course of the game, Rob Styles had developed some sympathy for Forest who he’d given fairly short change to over the couse of the game – Tyson was through and was brought down by Bunn, who was booked – Tyson picked himself up and slotted the penalty home confidently, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way in the process.

2-1 to the Reds – Tyson from the spot!  Sounds like they’re pitching in with an absolutely heroic performance… they’re all over Northampton despite being a man down…

Ormerod was withdrawn for the welcome return of Commons with around 12 minutes remaining, and shortly after this Tyson had his characteristic “I’ve scored a goal so I nust be injured” hobble, leading to treatment and a quick replacement with Junior Agogo taking to the field.  Northampton had a late chance with a freekick, but it was straight at Smith, and Commons tried a cheeky shot from range which Bunn was equal to.

Two minutes of stoppage time were on the board, a Northampton corner was struggled to be cleared – finally big Wes managed to clear the danger once and for all.  As the weather worsened the home crowd departed in numbers leaving the celebrating Reds fans to herald the end of the game and a much needed three points, and perhaps a new sense of optimism – nah, don’t be silly!

Manager will come under pressure at old club..

It will be interesting to see which bunch of supporters holds the most vitriol for Smoulderwood on his return to Sixfields on Friday.  Despite our – from the outside – lofty league placing, a dreadful recent run of form, and a never-particularly-convincing style of play has found the end of most Forest fans’ patience – self included.

Whenever I speak to fans of other clubs not so close to the goings on at the City Ground they look in disbelief as I comment that I’d not be sorry to see the back of him.  It doesn’t do our ‘fickle’ reputation any favours, but personally I don’t feel unjustified in feeling this way anymore having witnessed him spunk away the biggest transfer budget in the league yet fail to deliver on the pitch for his second season running.

His signings, I’d argue, have been very positive – both in terms of the positions he’s tried to fill, and the people he chose to fill them, but that’s strictly a summer enterprise for the manager – come the January transfer window and it appears he loses all sense of rhyme and reason – leaving it too late to add any needed firepower, as well as letting key players leave – and he’s done that twice now!

Certainly the gaffer needs to effect a dramatic turnaround in results to get the fans back on his side, starting with his old club in a few days, and delivering a practically unblemished run ’til the end of the season – that’s pretty much what it will take to deliver automatic promotion in the view of this fan, and anything other than that is not a successful season.

I’m going to have a few days unplanned offlineness so I’ll be quiet over the next few days due to a short-notice trip away – which will at least give me time to think about something other than Forest with no internet access to keep up to date with the rumours and what’s going on, sadly it also means I’ll miss the reserve game on Wednesday and the Evening With John Robertson and Larry Lloyd on Thursday.

“You’ll never beat the Saddlers!” Forest left saddle sore again…

Nottingham Forest – 1
Walsall – 1

The chants from the away end were inevitable, it must be one of the few perks of being a Walsall fan that you can plan a trip to the City Ground with basically a carte blanche to get at least a point from the trip.  Today’s game was a frustrating one for us, largely due to the result – as there were plenty of positives on show from the Reds, but alas, given the timing, it was too little and too late yet again.

Forest began the game very brightly, lining up in something approximating 4-4-2 with a back four of Perch, Morgan, Wilson, Bennett, and a midfield of McGugan, Thornhill, Clingan and Cohen – with Tyson and Ormerod leading the line upfront, and – d’you know what? – it looked like it just might work for a while, too.  Cohen and McGugan were by no means out-and-out wingers, but did put in plenty of wide-time to give the midfield outlets.

Walsall had us change ends, meaning Forest attacked the Trent End in the first half unusually – and we came flying out the blocks.  Within four minutes Thornhill had twice been denied by Clayton Ince, the first chance smothered at source and the second a tremendous diving save conceding a corner with the young midfielder having shot from around 6 yards out.

Forest dominated in terms of possession, and a series of corners – there were few absolutely clear-cut chances in the following exchanges, but there was a feeling of optimism amongst the fans as well as the inevitable growing unease at the lack of direct opportunities as balls into the box just didn’t quite fall for us in the penalty area to get a clear shot fired off – we really needed it to.

Tyson looked sharp and fast, breaking at pace on numerous occasions, managing to get a ball across the face of goal just evading Ormerod on the back post.  Again, he was put clear by Cohen and – beating a defender when he really didn’t look odds on to, before hitting a powerful drive on the run from a tight angle, it was heading towards the top corner at the near post but struck the crossbar.

Moments before half time the referee almost conspired to give us a kick in the proverbials, he gave a throw-in to Forest, and as we prepared for it changed his mind giving Walsall a chance for a quick throw-in which eventually gave Sonko an opportunity to shoot on goal, which Smith saved before the clearance was made after a followup from Mooney was put clear.

We didn’t have long to wait in the second half to take the lead – Tyson was operating further left and was giving the rightback a torrid time, running at him and beating him seemingly at will.  Around four minutes into the second half, he did just that after good work from McGugan, drilling the ball across the box to find Ormerod arriving at the back post to put the ball into the net.

Perch was withdrawn for Chambers at this point, appearing to be ill rather than injured having been treated by the physio briefly after going down well away from the action – it’s a shame as he’d had a good game at rightback (despite what some of the inevitable groaners sitting around me might have said), although it was some comfort that – whilst I don’t consider Chambers a fullback – we had a ready replacement on the bench.

A carbon-copy opportunity that gave us the lead happened later – again Tyson left Roper in his wake and unleashed a very similar cross to Ormerod – this time on the near post – but sadly the loan man couldn’t find the target this time, from where I was sitting this looked the easier of the two chances too, of course at the time we were still leading so not too heartbroken.  The wonders of hindsight, eh?

Tyson was looking incredibly threatening down the left – again he burst past his marker to give himself a shooting chance from around 18 yards – and whilst it was well struck and on-target it wasn’t too difficult for Clayton Ince to deal with in the Walsall goal.  So we were feeling quite comfortable at this point, we were controlling the game and looking dangerous, whether this made the players feel too comfortable I’m not sure.

Because obviously Walsall are about due their equaliser about now – and it came from absolutely nowhere.  Sonko received the ball on the right who crossed to the back post where Mooney was lurking, with no route to goal at all, unless of course he headed the ball into Wilson’s midriff and got a lucky ricochet, which is exactly what the wily frontman did – the delay in celebrations from players and fans alike indicate how unlikely it seemed!

Walsall never exactly dominated, but did wake up and realise they could get more than the point they clearly came for – they broke quickly and looked dangerous on the break.  Clingan had to be onhand to clear a header off the line after an excellent flicked header from Mark Bradley looked goalbound all the way – so today could’ve been a lot worse.

Walsall defended in numbers and doggedly, and for their part Forest struggled to make any meaningful inroads.  Tyson, who had looked so dangerous on the left, was playing more centrally, and despite Smoulds chucking Agogo on for Cohen, and eventually Holt on for Thornhill, there were never any further clearcut chances for the Reds – indeed, it were Walsall again that caused home hearts to flutter with a header onto the bar from Mark Bradley again.

So 2 points from our last two must-win games offers no optimism to overcome my previous comments writing off our chances of automatic promotion – there were loud cries for the manager’s head from the mainstand in particular, a sentiment I’m sympathetic with.  Whilst today’s game was unlucky, and not really his fault nor the players, what has gone before means that we don’t even have the luxury of being able to write games off as bad luck.

A tough trip to Smoulds’ former club on friday – a trip Swansea made today and got a sound beating – offers us another big challenge, and to stand even the vaguest chance of getting that essential 2nd placed finish, we basically have ten must-win games remaining us.  I can’t see that happening, but the silver lining is that Tyson is looking fit and sharp, and the emergence of Matt Thornhill who looks set to be a real talent for the future.

Solution to our problems in reserve?

The reserves won again today, whooping Bradford City 4-0 with four first-half goals.  Shouldn’t really be a surprise, they haven’t lost all season – having played 16 games they’ve registered a rather healthy 15 wins, and a solitary draw.  Whilst reserve team football is inevitably less competitive than league games, it’s an incredible run of results.

Whilst it’s easy and tempting to be snippy and suggest that Smoulders could learn a thing or two from his reserve coach John Pemberton, it’s fair to point out he is operating at a very different level – however, since it’s easy, and tempting, I’m going to do it anyway.  Today our reserve side went out on the pitch, and they’d scored after less than a minute – they were 4-0 up after 30 minutes.

Clearly there is some learning that could be transferred to the first team – our major problems are, in my negative frame of mind, too numerous to start listing.  If I were to pick the top two it is our struggle to ‘get into’ games from the outset, and it is our lack of goals (either through poor finishing or lack of creation of chances).

Of course, the difference between playing infront of a big crowd that is easily turned against you and a half empty ground with no real pressure is vast – very vast indeed, which is why I’m hesitant to suggest, despite my incredibly thin patience with Smoulderwood, that we have in John Pemberton a ready-made solution – however, if it were to pass I can’t say it would upset me greatly!

Regardless of the lack of competitiveness of reserve team football, the lack of pressure, the transition from this level to the first team and all those things – John Pemberton’s record in the background is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook when thinking of troubled Nottingham Forest.  As sure as eggs is eggs, there will be eyes from places other than Forest on our reserve team boss.

The gap is up to 10 as manager walks the tightrope..

Southend United – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

Yet again on a night when we had to win, we fell short with only a draw on an away trip.  A dire first half, from our point of view, was owned by a Southend side who dominated the midfield, scored and worried the woodwork, a second half improvement from the Reds was alas, too little too late – great work from substitutes Tyson and Thornhill produced the goal – but despite the effort undoubtedly put in after half time by the Reds, it wasn’t enough.

With Doncaster and Carlisle registering home wins elsewhere we have lost even more ground on the sides above us – so if things looked bleak at the weekend, they look even bleaker now.  Had other results been more expected recently, a draw at Roots Hall wouldn’t have been a bad result, but tonight was an all or nothing occasion – as such, we end up with too little – and barring a miracle this consigns us to playoffs at best, a bid which was aided massively by Leeds and Walsall losing this evening.

A brave but naive move by Smoulds to start with, on paper a 3-4-3 formation with Breckin, Wilson and Morgan at the back, and with Bennett and Perch playing as pseudo-wingers either side of Cohen and Clingan in midfield, with Agogo, Ormerod and Holt up front.  To say it didn’t exactly work is perhaps as much of an understatement as it is predictable – reassuring is his changes at half time seemingly making the difference.

As Southend attacked from the outset, the inevitable happened, and our so-called ‘wingers’ became fullbacks in a back five, allowing us to be hideously overrun in midfield, and our strikers having to fall back ever deeper in order to try to get into the game.  Brecks conceded an early corner, from which Southend crafted their first chance of the game, Gower shooting and forcing the save from Smith.

Forest did create some chances – forcing a corner at the other end which Cohen put in expertly, with Bennett unfortunately only able to fire wide across the face of goal.  Southend broke quickly shortly after, a long clearance from the keeper breaking for Robson-Kanu after good work from his strike-partner, putting him clean through and able to casually slot the ball past a despairing Paul Smith to give the home side the lead.

They weren’t finished there, either – Black did well to get past Holt, and crossed into Moussa, the ball became free and Holt went to clear, somehow conspiring to do so across his own goal which ended up back with Moussa who shot from a tight angle and struck the post to cause yet more jitters in defence, and for the fans alike.

Forest’s best chance of the half came after Clingan won possession in midfield, playing quickly to Cohen who played it on quickly to Perchy on the right wing.  Perch’s cross was decent, but a too close to the keeper.  Morgan was in the referee’s bad books for a fairly nothing challenge on their ‘keeper – he still got a booking for his trouble when arguably it wasn’t really a foul.

The final act of the first half was another attack from the home side – Barrett got the ball past Holt and played an excellent cross to Peter Clarke on the back stick, who tried to head the ball back across goal only for Paul Smith to make a solid punched clearance.  So half time arrives, and arguably Forest are (despite the Forest-centric nature of my comments!) lucky to only be down by a goal.

Holt paid the price for a poor performance and was withdrawn for Nathan Tyson at half time, with Agogo picking up a slight knock and being replaced by Matt Thornhill.  As the second half got underway the more familiar 3-5-2/5-3-2 Smoulderwood-special was in effect, Forest looked more composed and dangerous without crafting any early opportunities.

Southend indeed created the first chance of the half, a Walker cross was dealt with well by Smith at the expense of a corner – however, things were to improve dramatically.  Bennett played the ball to Tyson on the left, who played a firm cross across the face of goal which found Thornhill rushing in at the back post and able to sidefoot into the roof of the net to give some cheer to the travelling Forest fans.

It could have been two moments later – Thornhill won the ball in midfield, finding Brett Ormerod who moved the ball to Cohen, whose ball found Tyson with a shooting chance, but unfortunately the striker was only able to put his shot wide of the post.  Forest were the metaphorically different side as they started to play with precision and confidence as they piled pressure onto Southend.

However, the inevitable slips still occurred, Gower wasn’t closed down and was denied by an excellent stop from Smithy, before having to see Bennett clear off the line from the follow-up effort.  The final act came in stoppage time, a freekick from 25 yards after Cohen was brought down – which predictably was spannered into the wall by Clingan – giving us a corner which eventually came to nothing.  Southend still had time to give us a scare, a shot from 25 yards bouncing awkwardly infront of Smith forcing him into conceding the corner, after which it was game over.

Smoulderwood’s post-match comments have been interesting, he has – for the first time in my memory – almost openly criticised his players, especially those who were substituted.  He described feeling hurt by the first half performance, and pleased with the second – the warm response the players received from the travelling fans is testimony to a decent second half from the lads.

And so we look forward to the arrival of perpetual bogey-side Walsall on saturday – in a position where we’re closer to dropping out of the playoff places than we are of climbing out of them.  Personally a draw still isn’t good enough, and one good half of football in two crucial games is frankly poor – hopefully whatever Smoulds said at half time tonight will carry through to our forthcoming games.

I’m grumpy about the result, about our failure to at least maintain the ludicrous gap that Carlisle and Doncaster have opened up on us, not least I’m grumpy that I had to hastily create a different image to use with the match report after we equalised (if we’d got the winner I could’ve tolerated this!), I’ll have to save the original one, I fear – alas – it will become relevant before too long.

The secret diary of Terry the kitman.. part four

The poignant insights of our dear equipment manager on the current mood at the City Ground, and the mental health of Smoulderwood – times seem bleak at the Forest if Terry is to be believed!

Disclaimer time: this is, of course, entirely a work of fiction – largely for my own amusement.  Any resemblance between the characters portrayed, and any real person or persons – be they an employee of Nottingham Forest or otherwise – are entirely coincidental!

The perpetual Forest manager dilemma…

With an appalling run of results over recent games, punctuated by the occasional decent one like at Orient, supporter confidence appears to be at a palpably new low despite Smoulderwood’s comments post-Crewe suggestion he wasn’t unhappy (but boy, doesn’t the bronzen one look worse for wear?), I’m starting to whiff the all-too-familiar whiff of a manager bereft of ideas.

I really wanted it to work out for Smoulders this season – whilst I, along with many others, were baying for blood after the shameful playoff performance at the City Ground against Yeovil, he did good work in winning me around with an impressive haul in the summer on the transfer front – and the promise of a decent attack-minded lineup seduced me into that irrational belief all us football fans can be familiar with.

However, and let’s be honest, this season has been dire.  Outside observers look at us gone out when we complain as we topped the table at Christmas, our supposedly strong home form and our placement within reach of the automatic promotion spots – but let’s face it, with the resources and squad at our disposal we have looked anything but convincing on the pitch.

Smoulderwood plays with a ‘must not lose’ mentality, which is of course an important component of any tactics – Clough himself would always speak of building a team on the foundation of a solid defence – however, he doesn’t seem to grasp the need for us to attack, nor how best to structure his sides to furnish the attacking players with chances to do so.

When we acquired him as a manager, I was surprised at the reaction of near-delirium from Northampton Town fans, who flooded Forest message boards thanking us for taking him off their hands.  I wrote this off as sour grapes at the time – he’d just got the Cobblers promoted, after all, so surely they should have had some semblance of fondness for the man who’d lead them to it?

It would appear it wasn’t sour grapes – unforgiveably I must admit there is a small part of me (and it is small) that fears that should we somehow haul our arses back into promotion contention, or somehow flourish in the playoffs (if we even finish in the top six at this rate!), that we’ll be kicking ourselves at it would make the removal of him that little bit more difficult.

How depressing is that?  Fortunately I fear this will not be a dilemma that we have to fear – as long as Smoulds is at the helm, I do not believe promotion will be forthcoming for us.  I’m sorry to say it, Smoulderwood appears to be a nice bloke, he has decent credentials from his playing days, but as a manager he has done nothing but infuriate and hamstring us – particularly when the pressure is on.

Of course, the worry is that we then have to rely on a senior management team who have delivered us a series of failures to appoint a new manager, that fear in itself is no reason for the incumbent to keep his job – but lord knows who we would end up with to replace him.  I wouldn’t be sorry to see him go, but can offer no solution aside from promoting Pemberton – who has been working wonders with the reserves – for the remainder of the season.

We face another crunch away trip as soon as Tuesday, down to deepest darkest Essex to face Southend, who have picked up again of late and will relish the opportunity to strengthen their own playoff credentials with a win over floundering Forest – how valuable a win at Roots Hall would be to us, but how unlikely it seems is a worry. 

Whilst we labour over this fixture, Carlisle will no doubt beat Luton at home, Doncaster will beat Gillingham, Leeds will beat Cheltenham and Walsall will beat Brighton – all these games at home for our promotion rivals – this would put us down to fifth, on equal points with sixth place Southend, teetering on the brink of dropping out of the top six.

Woe is me, today, eh?  However, this is Smoulders’ second season in this league, with a considerably bigger budget than his rivals, and he has delivered little or no meaningful progress – I see no purpose in seeking or joining campaigns for his removal, however I have reached a point where I would not be displeased to hear of his resignation or sacking.  And then, I acknowledge, we start the same old cycle again…

… which does open those that appoint these managers up for a bit of scrutiny, I would think.  Having said that, and echoing some of the comments in the other recent posts, as supporters we should be doing everything we can to back the side in the upcoming fixtures.  Not always an easy ask, but negativity and nonsense at games serves no purpose – save that for posting on here!