Written by bbg on Monday, 15th Feb 2021 22:01
Fans, media and pundits always seem to target the manager, even Bobby Robson was targeted in his time. However, he was rightly allowed four of five mediocre seasons before starting to make real progress.
Nowadays every time a team has a bad run, the debate has to be about the manager or owner. Despite our lack of experience, we all think we would do better in both roles.
We would choose better tactics, select better players and as owners, if we had the means, we would throw more of our own precious money into it. The truth is we wouldn’t on all counts.
Don’t forget there are two directions the club can now go, just as there were a couple of years ago when a mid-table Championship team.
We should all know now that kneejerk reactions will take the club lower. Chopping and changing managers and gambling on unproven managers are not routes the club should go.
I know little or nothing about the current owner or manager on a personal level, but have never stood in a football ground or posted on websites publicly slating individuals who were giving their best in their roles.
There is a direct correlation between how precarious we make the positions of football managers and the inflated salaries they receive. The very people who participate in football mob rule are those who complain about managers' salaries.
The origin of the club’s current problems was relegation from the Premier League 20 years ago when there weren't the millions available in parachute payments that there are now.
Look at how many of the current Championship sides have benefitted from those payments. It was very difficult to compete with that without a lot of investment, which usually comes from foreign sources. I haven’t heard of any such investors about to arrive at ITFC.
Many fans were aware of the risk of relegation to League One and many said to see their team play passing football, it was a price worth paying.
Some were looking for a young manager from the lower divisions. Most wanted a team playing passing football from the back but without the millions to fund a new set of players.
Many believed we were playing dinosaur football when we had two up front and played direct, now most seem to have a problem with 4-3-3 with one central striker.
The truth for me is the current manager has sought to play progressive, passing football but due to injury or lack of quality for most of this season and last, the cutting edge is missing in the final third. Given the injury problems this season, I am not sure any manager would have us much higher in the table.
Solutions? During the past 20 years, a few managers have taken the club into play-offs. With sensible and prudent decisions by the owner and management, there is still hope.
Both Mick McCarthy and Paul Lambert had proven track records of taking clubs to the Premier League from the lower divisions and as many others including McCarthy is showing at Cardiff and Neil Warnock continues to show in his 70s, that level of knowledge, judgement and ability does not go away.
All is not lost, players coming back from injury require two-to-three weeks at least to get up to speed. Paul Lambert has tried to address the lack of cutting edge in the attacking third. The loan players look promising and I would still not rule out a top-six finish.
For me, if we want to head in the right direction, we need to end the constant manager debates, the policy of the owner should be to appoint experienced managers with track records and give them a minimum of three full seasons. That should apply to the current manager and the next.
Fans and media should be guided by the same rules, resist the urge to attack their own club and its servants in the middle of a season and get behind their team, virtually or otherwise.
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