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Talk Scum City
at 21:07 12 Feb 2019

Well, as we know nothing about having any class then I suppose that this must be the classy thing to do. I guess it's also a good job they don't refer to us banging on about our history.

I reckon this may also count as an honour on their match day progamme, but I guess that this is what happens when your catchment area is King's Lynn and the North Sea.

There is one Budgie whose opinion I respect and he has appeared on this thread. As for the rest of them? Well, if any are here for a gloat I have this to say to you...

Win a major trophy - any one of them, we're not fussy which one. We will warmly congratulate you, and we also might start to take you seriously.
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Is this you Harry?
at 19:06 4 Feb 2019

Not me, but it's not a bad thread. Sunderland fans are pretty approachable so the comments in the thread are pretty informative.

I liked the one about the time wasting, garden shed grounds, dire referees and great fun. Some of their forums are bloody quiet, mind you.
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Harry from Bath on James Bree
at 13:25 31 Jan 2019

Here are Villa fans' thoughts from last August...

“James Bree looks a good prospect", "He can clearly get up and down the line and put a ball over. His positioning can be suspect but that will come”, “He’s quite big and strong and he is quick and comfortable on the ball. I don’t see him ending up as a centre-back.”

Here also are their reflections from February 2017, just after he arrived...

"James Bree looks quite tidy, doesn’t he?” The 19-year-old made his debut at right wing-back at the City Ground. “He was very composed for a young lad, calm on the ball and he was confident when defending”, “His right foot looked decent but his left was there to stand on."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's interesting to note that Dean Smith doesn't want to keep him if this is true, as the 34-year-old Alan Hutton is not a long-term right-back prospect. Bear in mind though that Smith will want build a team to play with Brentford-like intensity and plenty of decent players won't fit this brief.

If the worst does happen, Bree will also be a decent option in League One but goodness knows where this leaves Josh Emmanuel (who has a League One promotion medal).
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What autobiography to buy out of Ian Wright or Peter Crouch please
at 07:06 9 Nov 2018

I read Crouch's book and he is both self-deprecating and witty. The photograph where he plausibly transposed one if his angular leaps into a series of wind-farm turbines made me laugh out loud. My Stoke-supporting mate said the book is spot on and that it sums him up well.
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A pathway to safety
at 21:39 4 Nov 2018

Well, Lambert did manage Holt up the road, so you never know. As for your Knudsen reverie, he did hammer in a fair few back in Denmark before pitching up over here so a bit of marauding may not go amiss.
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A pathway to safety
at 21:06 4 Nov 2018

I have been estimating that we would be nine-to-ten points adrift at the turn of the season, and this league table confirms my hunch. It's a grave situation, as Homer said above, and as things stand I simply can't see us getting out of this unless we get quite a series of fortunate breaks.

Henners alluded above to our lack of aerial threat, and the fact that we couldn't hurt a defence as porous as Preston's, with an outfield goalkeeper thrown in, highlights how blunt our attacking options currently look. I get angrier with Hurst and Evans for creating this mess the more I think about it.

Mrs HfromB keeps pointing out that Lambert has only been here for a week and she is inevitably right on football matters. Let's see what he can come up with in the coming weeks. You can see that he is desperately trying to inject some positive energy into the squad. As supporters, this is absolutely what we have to do as well given the lack of reinforcements until January.

As for Evans, I believe that he will rightly feel the wrath of supporters for his part in the summer's destruction of the squad if we do drop. He has the January window to put this right and he has no margin - whatsoever - for error.
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10 Million War Chest.......
at 11:16 29 Oct 2018

Somebody said on here last week, I think, that you get the odd 50-point outlier relegation season, but finishing in the high forties gives you a fighting chance. You never know.

You're spot in in saying that the lack of a threat in the final third is our most pernicious issue. Mullet spotted it straight away at Leeds when Bielsa took off Berardi (a centre-back) for Dallas (a winger) as the Argentine saw we had nothing up front. We will have to live with teams doing this to us up to Christmas, unless Lambert can pull the mother of all rabbits out of his hat.

Stoke fans rated Lambert as a strong defensive coach, so he will have to play this card for all its worth in the initial instance. Don't also exclude the effect that being properly managed and trained will have on the team's confidence. These are straws which we can at least grasp.
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10 Million War Chest.......
at 10:21 29 Oct 2018

It's easier to stay in this division and rebuild as a Championship side rather than drop and hope to come back up. With this in mind, it makes more sense to gamble on staying up at the turn of the year if we are within five-ish points of safety. If we do implode and are more than 10 points adrift, your logic would probably make better sense.

In the meantime, let's see what Lambert can fashion out of his inheritance. There seems to be wide agreement that the combination of a far weaker squad than Mick inherited plus the lack of any loan signings has left us in far greater peril than in 2012. The fact that Paul Hurst was reported this weekend as saying he had no regrets sums the man up.
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Would love the Busy One to conduct a trawl of Shrew and Budgie sites....
at 22:50 25 Oct 2018

I had a look at both of them plus Stoke's Oatcake forum this evening. Shrews are split over him, partly due to a sense of betrayal. Budgies are morally indignant. I'm not sure we're in a position to wind them up right now, but I will be on it in an instant when we are...

What I am doing is working on a history of Lambert in seven (or an appropriate number) matches, much as I did for Hurst, (for all the good that did!). If Phil and Gav are happy, it will go up early next week.
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Some very sad news
at 12:12 14 Oct 2018

I am so very sorry and saddened to read this news. Mullet used the words "dignity and wit" to describe how your dad handled his condition and these are so very apt. The "happy hours" you describe were shared with him just as happily by so many of us, and I will miss him greatly.
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Petition Started by Leeds Fans on referee Jeremy Simpson...
at 12:22 8 Oct 2018

Now, I know that Jeremy Simpson is not my favourite referee after the penalty-fuelled game at Reading a few years ago and his subsequent efforts at Hillsborough this season, but Leeds fans have taken a novel approach after Saturday's draw against Brentford.

They have organized a petition on the Change.org website to have him investigated by the EFL and have garnered well over 2,000 signatures at the time of posting. I don't trust the man's refereeing judgement but this is taking things to another level. Of course nothing will come of it...

https://www.change.org/p/investigate-jeremy-simpson

(Edit: I just realised that the group behind the petition are called 'Supporters against Incompetence'. They must have their hands full.)
[Post edited 8 Oct 2018 12:24]
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Mick to Villa?
at 00:47 4 Oct 2018

Mick going to Villa is very unlikely for the reasons Herbivore outlined above. This hilarious tweet however did pop up on my timeline this evening. It is worth sharing...

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So where is the line for everyone then?
at 17:45 3 Oct 2018

Maybe I'm being impatient but I'm out already. Brentford set an amber light flashing but yesterday highlighted just how many things need fixing and they are too many and varied for a manager lacking experience at this level.

Where to begin? Shambolic squad management when it comes to player recruitment, sales and loanees out of the club, unnecessarily radical changes with selections and formations, poor organization and tactics on the pitch and both questionable line-ups and substitutions. I am steering clear of the off-field rumours - this is only going on what I have witnessed on the pitch.

We now have a team bled of confidence and energy, lacking a consistent cutting edge and with an error-prone and unprotected defence. We cannot sustain a performance for a full 90 minutes and opponents know they can be patient and wait for their time to come.

This team reminds me so much of the Barnsley team who came to Portman Road and lost to us on the night Mick departed. It will get relegated unless all of the above problems can be fixed.

A good manager can create a virtuous circle which will start to turn these problems around, but I would be stunned if it was Hurst. I will be the first to apologize if proved wrong, but he has completely underestimated how difficult the challenges are of managing in the Championship.
[Post edited 3 Oct 2018 17:45]
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Inbetween games
at 12:55 30 Sep 2018

Thanks for this report, Mullet. A number of thoughts struck me reading through it...

(1) Our inability to play consistently well for 90 minutes is so worrying, as it means that teams in this streetwise world can be patient and wait for their chance,
(2) There seem to be signs that the lower-league additions are starting to grow in confidence playing at this level, even if not for sustained periods of the game.
(3) Monk altered things after the break, especially with the introduction of Mahoney with half-an-hour to play. People in the TWTD chat room were questioning why Hurst didn't react. I don't agree with changing things for the sake of it, but wonder if Monk outmanoeuvred Hurst tactically.
(4) Related to this were the thoughts that (i) our bench options weren't great (not sure I agree with this), and (ii) Hurst didn't know how to use them effectively.
(5) I wondered if the players' inability to build a rhythm is a legacy of prior chopping-and-changing we have seen, despite the unchanged starting XI. How well were the different 'departments' - defence, midfield -attack - linking through the thirds?
(6) Related to this was the thought that the lack of confidence may have played a part in or second half decline, whether through defensive errors or the inability to deal with committed running from Birmingham players.

Please don't feel the need to answer all these questions directly. I have listed them more to highlight what feels like a plethora of unanswered thoughts about this team right now.

We still seem a long way from forging an identity which will carry us through games for a consistent 90 minutes, even though there are periods when it does come together. It feels as if our season hangs on whether we can reach this point of consistency, and reach it sooner rather than later.
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Misreporting by Phil - and quite crucial given the 'def info' rumour mongers
at 21:34 28 Sep 2018

I listened through the interview twice yesterday evening ahead of chatting to Rich on the Blue Monday Podcast, and the only sense I picked up was that they were talking about the squad's strength in depth at the time.
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(No subject)
at 18:20 22 Sep 2018

You have to build partnerships across the pitch, and this doesn't happen when you are (a) constantly changing the side and (b) regularly altering your formation. Players can't build working partnerships, and more crucially, trust with other and it also erodes their confidence. Misunderstandings abound.

On the pitch, this has resulted in a loss of tempo in our play and an inability to press as a coherent group of players. It has also been evidenced in the missed forward passes and - even the more dangerously - the reflexive back-passes which can land you in trouble.

Trying to find an underscoring theme, I keep returning to Hurst underestimating the leap in quality between the two divisions. His comment in the pre-Brentford press conference that there is little difference between managing at League One and Championship level rang alarm bells and these have not quietened.

It's well and good if (like Sheffield United) you bring a team up and evolve it but building one from scratch is a totally different prospect. You are managing senior players with proven track-records of achievement at this level and high levels of self-belief, so treating them like more limited lower-league players with lesser track-records risks eroding their trust.

Overlay this with the constant chopping and changing of formation and personnel and you have a management team which ends up losing any belief from its players in it, and which also undermines their confidence. In this context, playing 10 games without a win is hardly surprising.

There's a lot we can't see because we're not privy to what is going on with regard to training, tactical preparation and pre-match instructions, but as things stand I can't see things on the pitch changing soon. I really hope that I'm reading this wrong.
[Post edited 22 Sep 2018 18:26]
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Team News Pennington at RB
at 14:27 22 Sep 2018

On the Bolton front...

1. They have brought their wingers back after Boro. Buckley and Noone with Wildschut to appear from an attacking bench.
2. The "unfortunate" (their word) Grounds is at left-back as Taylor apparently isn't fit.
3. The biggest switch of all is taking centre-backs Wheater and Beevers out and replacing them with the more mobile Jack Hobbs and Marc Wilson, who have hardly featured. They are clearly unnerved by the pace of Jackson and Edwards.
[Post edited 22 Sep 2018 14:28]
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Theresa, Theresa, Theresa ...
at 16:53 21 Sep 2018

I was over in Dublin two weeks ago to see my family. Let's just say that I didn't need a message board.
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Theresa, Theresa, Theresa ...
at 15:08 21 Sep 2018

I normally swerve political threads as I have little to add, but that speech was classic 'Yes Minister' material. Going on the logic of 'the harder the rhetoric, the meeker the actions' (or vice-versa), she could be setting up the mother of all climb-downs with the EU.

Generally this rule holds good - it will be interesting to see how this example plays out.
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Who is going tonight then?
at 12:39 18 Sep 2018

I'm heading over, Steve, and wouldn't miss this for the world as I just want to say goodbye to the great man. Strangely, I am both terrified and ambivalent about playing Brentford as they could really hurt us, but tonight is really about more than a football game.
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