Right then, we are where we are. It’s time to start thinking about how the club moves forward in the short term. The very best we can hope for is loan signings, which Billy has already said he doesn’t want – he wanted signings, he didn’t get them. Whether it’s fair or not is irrelevant, the gauntlet has been thrown down and now it’s Billy’s job to get the side performing.
I don’t really have much of an issue with Billy’s press comments – indeed, in the words of the man himself – don’t believe 90% of what is written about him, and believe less than 50% of what he says. Whilst I am sure, much like me, he’s disappointed to not have some new faces to work with – despite his public protestations about knowing nothing about prospective transfer news, I imagine he was well aware of the state of play.
Whilst a lot of support-wrath is being poured upon the board or the transfer-acquisition-panel (not surprisingly), it’s important we don’t lose sight of the person in the club who holds sway over our more immediate fortunes. He has a challenge on his hands with such a compact squad, but that shouldn’t be a carte blanche for underachieving, and I’m sure for a professional such as himself it won’t be.
One person’s interpretation of stepping away from the blame is another person’s view that he’s deflecting attention or wrath from his players – Billy is a real Marmite character in the media. Whilst I’m no fan of yeast-extract based spreads – I do like Billy. And I really didn’t at first, I had an uncharacteristically irrational dislike of him upon arrival, but I am concerned that the transfer non-activity is deflecting attention away from on-the-field matters.
When we play Chambers at right back (indeed, when we play Gunter at right back too!) he needs to have the support from a midfielder infront of him. Now, with Anderson and McCleary out that makes this somewhat tricky, but the lack of width in our midfield is alarming. It makes the middle congested, it makes it very difficult for the likes of Paul McKenna – clearly unfit and underpar anyway – to find a simple outlet.
Of course, whether we should be playing someone – captain or not – who is clearly unfit and underpar is down to the manager’s discretion, I wouldn’t presume to pretend to know more than he does – but what has been clear is that our lack of width in midfield not only stifles our attacks by exacerbating us losing the ball in midfield, it leaves us very vulnerable to our opponents attacking us on the flanks – with the fullbacks often left with a tag-team of opposing winger and full-back facing them.
We might be limited on true wingers at the club, but I’m desperate to see them staying on the wings a little to ease our distribution of the ball going forward and give some protection to our fullbacks. I certainly expect a little grizzle at the lack of players from the gaffer – but the challenge is now for him to deliver with the resources he has available – that’s his own description of his role, and I’m sure that’s what he has in mind irrespective of media comments.
Whilst many are smarting over the powers-that-be not delivering the signings we crave – now is the time for Billy to step up to the plate and justify his reputation as one of the best managers at this level. I’m sure he’d read my views on some of our tactical frailties and laugh them off, which is fair enough – he knows more than me – but I really hope that the lack of signings isn’t picked up as an automatic excuse for not playing as well as we might.
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