Last season I had a ticket right in the corner. One of the steps is slightly higher than the rest, for some reason. Pretty much everyone in the section spent half time watching people come out of the tunnel, look up as they started climbing the steps, working out where their seat is, only to trip on the step. Every time.
Read somewhere on saturday evening that we would stand a good chance of winning the world cup if we could pair the current attacking options with the 2006 defensive options.
It does highlight quite starkly just how big an issue the defence is. Luke Shaw may live up to the hype and become a natural successor to Ashley Cole. Certainly, in two tournament games, Leighton Baines has suggested that he isnt. Kyle Walker is a far better full back than Glen Johnson and may well be enough to get us through a few tournaments. But beyond that, things are pretty dire. Cahill and Jagielka are both decent centrebacks, but neither of them are good enough to lead the back four, to organise it or basically show the kind of quality that other countries have in this key position (see Godin for Uruguay). Its not just that we are lacking a Terry or Ferdinand, but in the past we have always taken someone like Keown, Carragher, Sol Campbell as backup options.
And there are no real options coming through to offer hope in this area either. Smalling and Jones represent the very same issue with England that they also represent at Man United- they arent the vision of the future that was perhaps expected. Its led United into the situation they are in.
Am I forgetting someone? Discussions this morning threw up Steven Caulker, but I dont think anyone is convinced. Its an area we have always been strong, but its really lacking.
"That's not all either - ALL MEMBERS, including Season Ticket Holders will receive a 'Members Pack', offering more value than ever before - Again, Brand New for 2014/15 !"
Inside your members pack- "Welcome Pack and Member Pin Badge"- thats right, not just an exclusive pin badge but a "Welcome Pack" too. Unclear what this is. Possibly a letter. Probably a letter. Regular E-Newsletter. No expense spared. I already get one of these. Shop Discount Events. As long as I spend money. They already have these too. Membership Card or Season Card. I already get one of these. Money cant buy experience- prize draw. Entry into a lottery.
In terms of "added value", this is all pretty low. A pin badge and entry into a lottery are the only actual extras.
If we are out of the play-off picture, Im not sure I quite agree with the suggestion that we should send back Williams, recall our loanees and experiment between now and the end of the season.
A bit of experimentation, particularly in the last couple of games, is beneficial when no-one else is particularly putting much effort in either. But its still fundamentally in the interests of the club that we give ourselves the best chance of winning games. There is a clear pattern between teams who finish a season poorly and continue it into the next season.
You only have to look at our side in 2011/12- despite Jewells attempts to frame a specific part of the season as "play-off form", we only won a couple of our last 10 games and that just rolled over into the following season (admittedly with a few players dissapearing in between).
One of the strongest points about the current squad, from the comments that come out of the club anyway, is the team spirit between the players and something of a sense that, even if they arent as good as the other teams, that is giving them some sort of advantage. A run of winless games to finish off the season could undermine that and undermine MM.
some valid points about the external factors that affect attendance too and it seems that some of those are probably responsible for the drop in attendances at Portman Road.
As much as the price is expensive, I dont know that people arent just bored of seeing a team that for the best part of 10 years have generally won as many games as they have lost each season.
Teams get a boost in attendance with a really good season and relegated teams bring a larger attendance down with them. Eventually, attendances fall away in time in both cases, but its been falling away for nearly 10 years for us. We need a good season to spike our attendances back up by a couple of thousand. The closest we got was appointing Keane.
reading Phils report seems to suggest we started with a 4-3-3, but it looked more like a 4-5-1? Both Taylor and Anderson seemed to drift quite wide at times and I presumed we were matching up with QPRs 4-5-1? (which we seem to like doing).
with Mings at right-back and Wordsworth in a midfield 2, most would have wondered why.
I imagine that the players practiced a 3-5-2 formation, which would have helped both of the above, but switched at the last minute when we found out that Preston were playing 4-4-2 instead of the 3-5-2 we expected them to play.
Feels as if MM got out thought by Grayson, with the result that the players were a little unprepared? Thoughts?
I would be dissapointed if we send him on loan before the cup game on saturday. Its all good sending him out on loan to get games, but given that we intend to make changes on saturday, then far better that he plays in our first team, surrounded by ITFC players, against League One opposition than play in Rotherhams.
is Fulhams home game with Stoke on saturday. All indications seem to be that Martin O'Neill is the favourite to be the new Fulham manager. I presume part of the reason that ROI have delayed appointing a new manager is because MON is aware of Fulhams interest. Fulham have a couple of easier games in the next few weeks and if they can get results, then Jol might just keep his job. If they dont, then there seems a pretty good chance O'Neill will go there. Which leaves Ireland looking at their options. Mick might cost them money, but Im not sure there is another manager who has a better profile who will be cheaper. Other than O'Neill. Perhaps Keane, but I cant see that happening.
Noticed it on the story about MM at the weekend too:
"Former Irish international centre-half McCarthy was previously in charge of Ireland for nearly five years from 1996 and took them to the second round of the 2002 World Cup where they lost on penalties to Spain."