Written by tractorboykent on Friday, 16th Apr 2021 15:35
Paul Cook isn’t a man to mince words. Even though we are all sick of the continuing spiral of underachievement at Town, it was nevertheless still a bit of a shock to hear him lay into the 18 that capitulated to Wimbledon in what he described before kick-off as a season defining match.
“If the whole squad didn’t want to come back from Wimbledon the other night, it wouldn’t have bothered me” just about sums it up.
NB Excludes KVY (who has played so little football and who, I think we would all agree, has some real quality) as well as loanees in and out
This suggests that the foundations of the current crisis have been laid by several managers. We’ll all of course have our own opinions on individuals. Personally, I think we must acknowledge that Freddie Sears was great for us at one point, Kayden Jackson, despite scoring in his early days, looks to me like he will never make a footballer, but collectively we are, as Cook says, a soft touch and that’s been the case for too long.
We all hoped that our decline had culminated in relegation but actually it just continued. These players – to a greater or lesser degree – have been part of that so it’s inevitable that if we are to sweep away the culture then we must remove many of them.
What are likely to be tougher decisions (at least for us as fans) are those affecting the younger players who have come through the youth set-up, ie ‘our own’. For a long time the academy was held out as our big hope and many of us were yelling for the kids to be given a chance. Well, the current squad at least shows that a good number have been:
Andre Dozzell (quite apart from the respect we all have for his dad) and Jack Lankester, for instance, are Town supporters and these numbers show that most have grown up with us as a club.
The fact remains though that, while they have time on their side, they still have to deliver. Sadly for many of us, the promise of some (such as Teddy Bishop) seems to be receding rather than progressing.
The suggestion that Town’s squad is as ‘strong as any in League One’ was the basis of an expectation that Paul Lambert would get us back up. The assertion was repeated even as recently as when Cook arrived, but not by him and, notably, not by the buyers (maybe only by the seller...).
We, of course, know it to be nonsense. Even a cursory glance at the highlights on Quest every week shows a host of clubs with much stronger sides, many of which are nowhere near the top two. What’s more we have been so regularly outplayed by teams in similarly modest positions that it’s undeniable.
As we approach a mass clear out then it is impossible not to compare the last time a manager took such an approach, and how that ended.
Paul Hurst’s situation was, of course, quite different. Cook has both the need and the opportunity with so many players out of contract and new owners providing funds backed by expectations.
As supporters, we may well not agree with some or even many of his decisions that he is about to make but we are being asked to trust him.
It’s worth pondering the much-repeated fact that, were it not for the points deduction, Cook’s Wigan team which was made up of youth and freebies, many of whom were playing without any guarantee of being paid, would have finished near mid table in the CHAMPIONSHIP. That is as good an illustration as any of what he can achieve with some half decent foundations.
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Blogs by tractorboykent
Blogs 280 bloggers
The Professional Footballers Who Never Play Football by Broganonthewing
There have been many changes to the English game in the last 40 years. The majority of these changes, if not all of them have all been influenced or dictated by money, both the making and saving of it.
Catch-19 by LegendRay
How many others on the site remember April 15 1961, the day, as TWTD recalls, when Town last beat Lincoln away in the league?
Cook is No Gamechanger by BossMan
I was 12 when we won the FA Cup so saw early success in my early years as a Town fan. How spoilt I was to see Beattie, Wark, Muhren Thijssen et al.
Building a High Performance Team at ITFC by Jaime_Clapham
Change is hard. Building a team is hard. Just reflect on what it’s like within the organisations that you work in, or when you are kicking off a new project. A football club and team are no different.
Marathon Blues by wadey
As some of you may be aware, we lost our little boy Tyler on 1st April 2012, aged just 15 months old. There was no cause declared and he just passed away in his sleep. Since then, I’ve tried to raise as much money for charity in memory of him.