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Question of the Week

When should John Fenty stand down?

End of season
When successor found
Job for life!

Rant Time!
Rant Time!

Nerve Required

By: David Wilkinson
Date: 28/01/2007

I can't let Rob Sedgwick's hysterical outburst go unchallenged. The idea that there is some link between the progress being made towards the new ground and the current plight of the team is as absurd as the quick poll question on the site.

Home > Features > 2007 Features > Nerve Required

If there is one thing that needs to be avoided in the coming weeks it is panic. Things are undoubtedly bad - and that all started in the close season when Graham Rodger was so painfully slow in assembling a full squad of players. The poor start to the season and the clear weakness of the squad - it's lack of pace, lack of creativity and defensive fragility meant that it was inevitable Rodger would go. The appointment of Alan Buckley made sense - and still makes sense - not in his supernatural ability to turn things round in an instant (which it almost seemed like he was going to do) but in establishing a new and consistent regime within the club which would be a base from which to build.

Now, for those who would argue he shouldn't have been appointed or should go now they must answer a number of questions.

1. Is the squad a stronger one now than the one that started the season? Undoubtedly so - there is real pace up front, the team is playing with much greater width and, in flashes, produces some quality football. The midfield pairing of Hunt and Bolland offers great promise, looks stronger - and has the potential for much improvement as Hunt gets to know the team better. The only key area for criticism is the lack of numbers in defensive positions and I am surprised that we haven't seen the arrival of at least one more centre back.

2. Would a different manager or a change of manager prevent injuries and suspensions? This has hit the team badly all season and changing the manager isn't going to make Reddy, Rankin, Cohen, Whittle, McDermott and, more recently, Bolland better. It wouldn't have made Jones stop elbowing opponents and getting suspended - nor would it have stopped Fenton handling the ball and instead of being ill during his suspension catching it just as he was free to play again. Bad luck doesn't explain the current form but it is a factor in a very complex situation that will take some turning round.

3. Finally, in the last five years what has been the outcome of each managerial sacking? The answer is a change round of players, a mix of formations, gimmicks and blame with the team declining still further - panic and yet another sacking. With the enigmatic blip that was Russell Slade being the exception each one left us worse off than the last.

I don't believe anyone in their right mind would think that the answer to our predicament is sacking Buckley - and even less giving the job to Stuart Watkiss who has proved nothing to anyone. If there is an answer then it is holding our nerve, getting behind Buckley and the team, giving them support and not heckling from the wings and, above all, hoping that he will be able to keep us in the Football League. I use the word "hoping" deliberately because we can do no more than that. In every walk of life, we are in the hands of professionals who have a job to do and we can't do it for them. Buckley's record speaks for itself and we can only hope that his experience and passion for football can save us this season. If hysteria guarantees anything it is that the hysterical drag everyone else down with them. Let's just hope the Board and Management can avoid it in a way your contributor has clearly been unable to.


Grim Rob Says: "Buckley's record speaks for itself". You said it! I also never suggested that the new ground has taken funds away from the playing side of the club, merely that I had failed to get excited about the prospect of a new ground.

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