- Mar 6, 2013
Great post. 100% agree.I have stated previously that we should at least give Ole this full season and then make a decision in May on whether it is working or if change is needed. I don't think sentiment plays a part in that, it needs to be a fact based decision based on all aspects of his performance in the role and a consideration of what alternatives are available and if we think they can improve us. Ole has by no means been given a fair shot and is being prematurely judged in some part due to a press that loves to kick us when we are down and due to the selective memory of those who seem to think we were promised a contending team this year.
In the summer the club and Ole made clear that short term fixes had failed and a longer term plan was needed, stripping the squad of overpaid and underperforming veterans, giving opportunities to youth players to see what they had and reshaping the team over several transfer windows. The message was clear that we would probably go backwards before things improved and considering we were a 6th place team what exactly were people expecting? If nothing else I would say this in defence of Ole. If you are told you have a couple of years to build a winning team and you make your decisions on that basis it is ridiculous to then move the goalposts less than a quarter of the way into the season and say we need to be competing right now. I imagine the decisions he made would have been different if he knew that the mob would start baying for blood as soon as things got tough and he would have made the same short term decisions that have hamstrung us for 6 years.
I don't think last season has much bearing on anything as most of it was spent in a caretaker role and even when that tag was removed we were a couple of months away from the end of the season and with no opportunity to change the squad so for me the real assessment began with this summer. To that end I don't really credit Ole all that much for the initial success nor do I blame him for the team running out of gas.
I was happy with the job done is the summer although like 99% of posters and Ole himself I felt we needed a couple more players to replace what we lost. The style of play was evident, the new signings all look like money well spent and the first XI at least looked capable of doing a job and that was backed up by the performances in the opening couple of games when we looked more solid at the back and dangerous going forward. Losing Martial and Shaw impacted us significantly and it has been a pretty dire few weeks since then as the lack of depth has been ruthlessly exposed. Ole has tried to maintain the style of play introduced in pre season but without the right players for the system it just is not working and with not a lot going right for us panic has started to set in.
The fact remains we are 8 league games into Ole's first full season on the job and as mentioned elsewhere we could easily be top 6 without missed penalties etc. and though we might still be complaining about the tactics etc. we wouldn't be talking about firing anyone. Over a full season luck ceases to be a factor, we will get a couple of wins we probably didn't earn etc. and it will balance out but that has not been the case so far. We will get a run of games with our first choice attack and we will have the opportunity to add a player or two in January. Come seasons end we should be minus a couple more of the deadbeats and hopefully will have added a couple more good players. If Ole still looks a bad fit then his replacement will be inheriting a far better situation than Ole himself did and that is really the worst case scenario. I will cheerfully take money from anyone who wants to bet on us going down because that is not happening and therefore we have nothing to lose by sticking to the plan we only made 2 months ago and potentially a whole lot to gain by showing some backbone and taking our lumps this year to finally fix this squad.