Written by Brownie on Wednesday, 9th Nov 2016 19:01
I never was any good at being in fashion and being in my fifties now I doubt I am going to improve now. I have challenged myself to complete a blog about the future for ITFC without referring to the current incumbent in the managerial role.
The pages of TWTD are full of views on that situation so let's buck the trend and highlight the problems and maybe solutions to the Championship conundrum.
The Championship is in my view the toughest division in the EFL pyramid. The amount of games and the competitive nature lead to a relentness feeling of the old cliche of no easy games.
However, I do think the EFL Championship is like the new Premier League. In the past the Premier League was a closed shop in terms of money - half a dozen had lots of it and dictated to the others in terms of players bought and sold.
Nowadays all the Premier League teams have money. Yes, Leicester winning the league last year is an example but look further than that. Crystal Palace paid £32 million for a player in the summer. It was only March 2014 when we were beating them 3-0 on a night when they were so bad even big Frank Nouble scored twice. The clubs have certainly gone in different directions since that very enjoyable evening.
The Championship in my view is like the Premier used to be. There are half a dozen teams with money from owners, parachute payments and new/large grounds. Increasingly the relegated teams from the previous season dominate - the only time they don't is when the finances or the club itself are badly mismanaged such as Fulham, QPR, Blackburn and Cardiff. I wouldn't mind a bet that the same will happen to Hull City next season.
So where does that leave us? In with a group of similar size clubs trying to buck the trend. Every year there are one or two that do - Brentford, possibly Huddersfield this year, Town themselves in 2014/15. The question is how do we bridge that gap?
I think the answer is we need a bit of everything. We need young talented players, we need to spend on quality additions, we need team spirit, we need good support from the terraces.
We need young players coming through to start with. They haven't been as prevalent over the last five years as perhaps in the past. With respect any players that have come through in that time have not been substantially better than those we already had.
The 10 years or so prior to that had seen Kieron Dyer, Darren Bent and Titus Bramble come through. I suggest that we have been nowhere near that standard in recent years. At least we look like we have some coming through now - Teddy Bishop, Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock plus three young England internationals in Andre Dozzell, Ben Morris and Nick Hayes. Fingers crossed that is one box ticked then.
Transfers is next. We have signed some good players for little or no money - Christophe Berra, Cole Skuse, David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy, Freddie Sears, Aaron Cresswell and Tyrone Mings are all in my view in that category. We have also signed some less talented players and in my view that list is longer than the one I have already outlined.
The problem is we have spent very little money to compliment that list with quality players who will cost a fee. Adam Webster is perhaps the only one I can think of is recent years. It is even more frustrating that the money from the Tyrone Mings and Aaron Cresswell has not been spent on transfers of any note. I know we have loan players and they cost money. The point is what is going to make us different from the pack and they all have loan players as well.
Team spirit? In my view we have that. Even on their darkest days I have not thought the team has given up or doesn't care. I did when the previous manager was nearing the end of his time in the hot seat but not this group.
Support? We are resilient - we pay high prices, we moan about the standard, we hope for better but the team is well supported. It would/will be better if everything improves in terms of results and entertainment but please don't tell me we don't support them well. If you think that try going to an away game and see the backing the players get there.
So the answer is easy isn't it. We can all contribute to a lot of the above but some of it is down to two people. The owner and the manager. I know I said I wouldn't mention him but I am talking of any manager. Whoever it is can only shuffle the cards he has. I think we are in with a chance of hitting the right note in three of the four areas above. The one we never hit is buying quality players.
Not £10 million buys, I know that won't happen. The owner covers the bills and for that I am grateful. Surely though if we want to get to the so-called promised land that is the Premier League we can invest in talented and hungry players. Kemar Roofe when he was Oxford, Nicky Ajose or Bradley Dack for example. Webster looks excellent so let's do it again!
In addition what about the established players at this level? Lee Tomlin went to Bristol City. Are they bigger than us? Anthony Knockaert at Brighton, the list goes on and it depends on your taste but we have to step up to the plate and match the clubs that are hitting all the areas above not just some of them.
If we do the club can compete. We have a good stadium and a history as good as most in this league. We have supporters who care and a lot more who will come back when the belief and entertainment levels return.
We all have a view re the current manager and I have already highlighted mine elsewhere on TWTD. In the end though he is not the person who can make the biggest difference in my view. It has to start at the top and that means Mr Evans stepping forward and trying to take the club forward. Come on Mr Evans and Come on You Blues!
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