Sunday, 6 November 2011

October Musing Uncut

So we move into October and the onset of the Autumnal weather, well usually but the month started unseasonably warm and the first game saw us take on our former manager in conditions that were more befitting the start of the season.
The mad dog was back in town with another of our former employee's Jude Stirling also present among the Notts County entourage so good and bad memories for me.
Allen arrived with the Notts players but did meet up with his family at the Stadium and his own mad dog a black Labrador who seemed very excited to be here although I don't know how happy he was at the end of the day baring in mind the score and the fact he was left in the people carrier on such a hot day albeit in the shade.

Mad Dog's Mad Dog in background

We played most of the game against ten men and the score probably didnt reflect fairly on the game as the last two goals came late on and the 3-0 made it look more a walk over than it actually was.

In other news we heard that both Harry Milton and George Baldock had gone out on loan to Averley in Ryman Prem and Northampton respectively with Karl going over to Northampton to watch George along with his brother Sam later in month.

Karl also managed to go and see his old mate Didi who now manages Stockport in fact its amazing how much football Karl does watch I often ask him where he is going and most times he says he is going to watch a game somewhere or other. Paul Mitchell as our scout See's even more and is out watching games most of all covering hundred's of miles a week often sleeping in his car .

With our game against Oldham moved to the following Monday Karl gave the players three days off and they returned to training on the Wednesday with a closed door match against West Ham arranged for the Friday which if anyone didn't know we lost.
I suppose the big news at that time was Karl being linked to the Forest job with the bookies making him odds on favourite at one time despite Karl himself saying he was flattered but not interested , I spoke to Karl about the job and speculation and he said to post up on the forums that he was staying and wasnt going anywhere.
Id told him I didn't post that much anymore but would put something up on the Zonemk Which is the only forum I actually belong to these days which I did.

The Monday night Oldham game saw us lose only our second match of the season after a horrendous blunder by Martin where he seemed to come out change his mind then fall over and Doumbe's less than convincing performance cost us the second to be fair the weather played its part in the first goal with wind and rain actually washing the lines off the pitch.
Morrison got a consolation goal but it was too little to late, Karl was fuming after game and told me he didn't remember what he said post match but after watching match back he said it wasn't as bad as he thought but he was still disappointed .

The players were called into training on the Tuesday after the match but were given Wednesday off on the Thursday we had all our players training MacDonald Jabo and O'Shea were not in main group but it was good to see the whole squad at Woughton.
I had a chat with Morrison who is very funny and one of the squad that you notice as being quite a character, he was talking about the forthcoming Sheffield Derby and he thought that it would be a fiery affair and he thought there would be trouble, I asked him when his contract was up and he said end of the season with an option to extend which he wasn't going to do as he didn't like it there and wanted to stay here I said we couldn't afford your wages, he laughed and said if you want to get promoted you have to spend I said we had been down that road with other managers and not got promoted and I didn't think the Chairman would spend more than he has. Clinton sort of agreed but agreed it might be better to take a pay cut than be without a club when managers then start looking at your age, I was very diplomatic and didn't feel like he was going to belt me he was smiling most of the time anyway.
I wont say what he said about certain people but I guess some of you can imagine what I'm sort of not saying here !
I asked Lewie about Swailes (yes Im still trying to find out) and he said he was talking about him recently to Nav (Alan Navarro) and he couldn't remember whether he had a job yet but that he thought he was playing non league football but not at any level we'd know of.

Bournemouth legend Stephen Fletcher

Ahead of the Cherries game i had a chat with Peter Cork from the old Wimbledon days who has been either here or at Wimbledon for 35 years and he was telling me about the old days when he joined Wimbledon after talking to Ron Noades who asked him to become a director there. Peter was a branch manager at Lloyds and Ron was impressed with the way Peter could talk to anyone and put them at ease and offered him the job this was back in days before Wimbledon were even in the league and a long time before the FA cup win of 1988. Peter had been with another non league club and had founded the old Central Division where they still play for the Peter Cork Cup which he is very proud of, if you ever get the chance to speak with Peter do so as he is great to talk to and travels here from Weybridge for every game.

The Bournemouth game was a disappointment to me I was expecting us to win comfortably even though I knew Bradbury had said in as many words they were coming for the draw and would set up a defencive side hoping to get something on the break.
But to me we gifted them two goals Big Mac literally passing to the Cherries player Wesley Thomas while the whole defence was to blame for the other, it turned out to be a point gained rather than two thrown away in the end as we failed to capitalise on chances we had Bowditch heading over the bar Gleeson(who I thought was poor by his standards)and Chadwick both shooting straight at the keeper and the worry is that we are over complicating things by passing too much .
By that I mean we are trying to be too clever in the area with little step overs and letting ball run when to be blunt we aren't that good ,better than last season but not in the Barcelona mould, sometimes a shot can be the best option rather than trying to play the ball into the net which I do feel we do too much of , other managers have sussed it and get players back while we are buggering about emulating Messi and the like.

Maybe Im being too harsh after the disappointment but there you are, I may feel different after we win a game.
We also heard that Chelsea were to pay £2m for one of our 14-year-olds Oluwaseyi Ojo Chelsea we were told have agreed to pay a staggering £2million to make the player the most expensive 14-year-old in football, Id heard about this the day before the Oldham game and asked Karl who said we'd have a job keeping him but as far as I know the deal hadn't been done then.

On the subject of the academy I was pleased to see a few more of them making up the numbers for the training game the players have as part of the normal training session I didn't see Oluwaseyi but was told by Bobby Winkelman he was on pitch half time during Bournemouth match getting his England shirt but I was in the concourse keeping out of the sun so I'll have to take his word on that.
Karl had two of the academy lads putting a smaller goal within the larger goal for the players to practise hitting the corners he told me it was something he taught eight year old's at Liverpool and that he was fed up with the players fannying about and not shooting so not just me then! he said he heard us described as like Arsenal and I said we do tend to over complicate things (see diplomatic again)and he was aware that we need to shoot more which I was happy to hear but he also wont change the style we play so I suppose we are going to have to wait and see how that pans out.

It was the Citizen family fun day for the Scunthorpe game and it turned out to be real sleepy affair and not much fun at all with the Iron keeper rarely troubled in Morrison's last game here. I suppose they were in the Championship last season and the one before but we created very little for Clinton to get his teeth into and say goodbye the way he would have wanted. We slipped to sixth and other results helped us not slipping further but the feeling amongst the fans I speak to is that we are looking stale and lacking any sort of back up plan, Gleeson again had a poor game and seems to not want to be here sometimes, I dont want to single him out but when he or Chadwick play poorly we seem to lose that cutting edge.
On the plus side the gate was 10,554 with 589 away fans I just wish when we get the big gates the performance is a little better as I would like to see the occasional fan come a bit more often but I suppose we all wish that !

On Monday 24th the under 16's played a game against Tottenham which I went along to watch and almost the first person I walked into was Trevor Brooking who is now with the FA but we wont hold that against him, the new ruling about players being able to go for next to nothing to the big clubs meant the scouts were out in force ready to poach all our young talent for nothing, but with the promise of maybe one day sitting on the bench along side all the foreign players that will undoubtedly flood the English game as it wont be worth running Academies in this country the youngsters will have their heads turned I'm sure.

Anyway I wont go on to much about that! the game itself was a cracker and we were easily the best side I sat next to a reporter from a Spurs website and he said were a tidy organised outfit the goal of game was a stunning free-kick from Remy Forrester in front of an impressive 1,641 Dons coach Dan Micciche was unable to select the golden child of the academy poster boy Seyi Ojo, who was on international duty with England or at Chelsea in the million pound deal you decide.

On Tuesday night the first team were off to Bramall lane and changes were forced upon Karl with MacKenzie out with knee injury, Doumbe was unable to cover due to injury( but not the same one that kept him out before at start of season) so Flanagan was drafted in Balanta was dropped after poor performance's recently giving Williams a spot, I thought Karl might drop Gleeson as he has been worse but then we might not have got the solitary goal we did get in what was the expected result or the season so far for me, the team lined up at Bramall Lane for the 2-1 defeat (4-3-3): Martin, Smith, Flanagan, Beevers, Lewington (c); S Williams (Balanta 70), Potter, Gleeson; Chadwick, Ibehre (MacDonald 70), Bowditch (Powell 70)we finished with ten men as Smith got himself sent off for two yellows in front of a rather impressive 16,367 gate.

It was much the same story for the under 18's back at SMK on Wednesday with them again getting knocked out of the FA youth cup at the first hurdle by the same team that knocked them out the year before Walsall,I thought we were the better team but lacked the finishing touch with the post saving the young saddlers after a good break that split thier defence apart only 500 odd watched this though due I think to the lack of advertising, the team lined up (4-2-3-1): Bragg; Spence, Ivey Ward (c), Walster, Plowright; Gyasi (Mo Ahmed 71), Lobjoit, Fuad Ahmed, Powell, Awadh Ahmed; Williams (Osei-Addo 86)and the unused subs were Burns, Hickford, Galloway.I managed to have a word with George Baldock about his loan at Northampton and he is enjoying playing first team football there but that it was totally different to the style we play I asked him about Sam and he has bought a house down in leafy Epping and is settling in there so our Sam is now an Essex boy!

Karl had some of the young academy players training with the team again on Friday before Walsall game and when the senior players left John Gorman stayed behind to coach them further,Karl said he had also been to watch Seyi Ojo play at Cheltenham for England U16's and was surprised no other managers were there and it got me thinking how many managers actualy bother to watch the youngsters their club produces let alone bring them into training sessions with senior players I said as much to him and he said some of the fans are too short sighted and he is thinking about the club in four years time as well as now and the proudest moment he had at Cheltenham apart from seeing Ojo play was fact that two of the team were players he signed as seven year olds when he was at Liverpool. I genuinly believe Karl wants this club to be successful and loves the club and I would hate to see him leave over the budget which has been cut from last season, after all the bench at Sheffield cost more than our entire team and our budget is tiny in comparison.
So the last game of the month was against Walsall and a game I think most of us were thinking had to be a win or else we were going to slip away from the pack with some fans saying that we were now never going to get Automatic promotion and the most pessimistic saying play off's were unrealistic and this all before November! As for the game for me it was another unconvincing performance where despite Walker the Walsall Keeper being sent off we failed to trouble Lee Beevers deciding to kick the ball into his arms and make the defender look good at every possible chance we got, in fact if Gnakpa ball hadn't hit both posts before being kicked to safety and Walsall had kept the ball on target we could have had an embarrassing scoreline against ten men and a defender in goal.

With Charlton now ten points clear and Huddersfield seven with the two Sheffield's just behind them it could be argued that the top four is how it will be come May we certainly need to start finding the net more to be troubling the top four for their place that's for sure.

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