47 thoughts to “Oxford open thread”

  1. To the tune of tom Jones Delilah

    Bye bye bye Neal Ardley
    Bye bye bye Near Ardley
    We’re so poor
    We look like we’ll never score
    I’m sorry Neal Ardley, we can’t take anymore.

  2. How much longer is this heap of dross going to continue before somebody takes some action? The Manager and the Team are disfunctional, inept, lacking ideas and seemingly unable to make even a slight improvement. Once again, despite the rhetoric from Nil pre-match and team selection, he picked the same old lot, played the same set up and ignored both his own comments about “headaches” and his Fans wish for changes. This pathetic run of Nils, going back to last season is now getting ridiculous and, as I indicated last time out there are still the “give him more time, til Christmas” etc. from those who cannot see past their noses.
    It appears that everything is lost at the moment and nobody from the Execs to the Backroom Team appear to be able to stem the tide. FFS, somebody speak out and admit that there is a major problem and deal with it. I’ve supported the Dons for donkeys years but I have never known such a spell of shit that is constantly turned out not week after week but month after month. If we keep losing Fans as we are doing, there will be hardly anybody to make a crowd at NPL. If Professor Nil is to keep his job any longer, please can we hear something concrete from him or his Number 2, 3 or whatever comes next. We will soon be renaming New Plough Lane to “Nil Plough Lane”! Stubborness is not a trait that makes a good Manager – FGS make sweeping changes or get out Mr Ardley.

  3. Today kind of summed up our season. The crowd started off firmly behind the team singing loudly and chanting players names but that support and energy was slowly sucked away by the teams inability to offer us any means of encouragement on the pitch. Few chances, hardly a shot, no goals, no passion, zero character, little fight.

    By the final whistle some reactions were ugly. Neal got barely half way toward the away end before turning back to the safety of the dressing room.

    I understand that frustration because we may not have played pro football or manage a club but us supporters can see when something is broken, when the chemistry is wrong, when the belief has gone.

    What I saw for the first time today were clues that Neal is losing his players. The body language and effort levels are going beyond a side just low on confidence and starting to look like a team stifled by instruction who don’t believe they can turn things round under the current management.

    I paid particularly close attention to our skipper in the second half looking for that one player whose job it is to demonstrate leadership and rally the troops for a fightback. I didn’t see anything except a player in very poor form.

    So drop Fuller, give Darius the captains armband and put him back in central defence. We can play 2 or 3 central defenders and we have numerous options for full/wing backs. The important point is we’ll have a leader on the pitch again. The other urgent change is to replace Trotter with Hartigan or quite frankly anyone who looks like they give a shit.

    But I and many others have made suggestions week after week, Neal changes nothing.
    And that’s what is most depressing tonight, I could handle him failing after exhausting every possibility to improve things, different formations, different tactics…. but to be sacked as a result of his bloody minded stubborness seems such a waste.

    If it does come to that one name I have seen put forward as a possible replacement (from Trebor on WUP) is Mark Robinson. I’ve no idea if Mark is suitably qualified to manage a league 1 club but I’d take him for one very simple reason – I remember the Alfie Egan quote when he was asked about the prospect of playing Newcastle, he replied that our approach would be something along the lines of “We’re Wimbledon Who the fuck are you”. That was instilled in him by Mark Robinson and that’s the club ethos I’d like to see return.

    1. Well said sir. Unfortunately the people who gargle the nil ardley baby gravy are too loyal/ignorant/unwilling to sack him because he’s ex womble player. The rest of us will have to suffer until it’s far too late to do anything about it. Not too mention the sheer lack in revenue from falling crowds.

  4. Welcome to the dark side Stan.
    Mark does hold the relevant A licence. I know him reasonably well and I would say that would be a massive leap of faith. He’s found his niche. For us he’s producing the players for Alan Reeves. And ultimately we’d be going for an academy appointment again abet one with no playing experience since youth football at Fulham. That said…….none of that would preclude him from being part of a management team with others. But he wouldn’t add more than Bass – who is well qualified, more experienced and is the best connected of our management team as you probably know.
    I think with Mark and then moving onto Reeves, the factory is in good shape and I would hope that the board see that and try to keep that set up/management.
    As part of our ongoing evolution; time for a grown up. A manager with FL experience that can bring a new approach, none of the “he get us”/”he hates them”/”he’s not for us, he got banned for telling the ref to fuck off” holier than thou correctness. A FL league manager, worts n all.
    If you want an ex Don with a full Pro License I know Wally has one. But then so does Peter Withe…:-)
    In summary I agree “sacked as a result of bloody minded stubborness” and I have zero sympathy for that.
    He’s had a great gig with us. Would of had the bums rush on 2 previous occasions elsewhere for the troughs he took us into. And he’ll rock up at somewhere like Gills** and like TB he’ll be well remembered by us.
    We move on. No need to go through teenage managerial mistakes anymore.
    And watching Ardleys interview with the Scouser in the week, Ardley had a face like a smacked ars and the interview had a tinge of contempt…
    **We know that Paul Scully is an Ardley fan. I bet he’s watching us like a hawk. Perhaps there is an amicable way out of this without a settlement…

  5. Three games to save his job I’d say, a win and a draw will but him until Xmas I suspect

    Always been a NA fan but suspect he has reached his use by date, sad but not uncommon in football

    1. Agree totally about the next three games.
      NA will have 100% commitment from me for the next couple of weeks (as long as he stops being so blinkered/stubborn). I hope the players feel the same way (or just go out there) and deliver on the pitch!

  6. Love the NA and want him to succeed but we cannot go down.

    Cody had a shot in target today, is it the turning point 😂 ..

  7. Hi all,

    I am of view that NA’s time with the club is up. There is no way in which he could have taken the club further any longer. I think that it’s time for the club management to sack him and find a new replacement. There are 34 league games left to play and ample time for his replacement (if appropriate) to turn the tide around and guide the club away from the relegation.

    If the club management decide to sack NA now, who will be the appropriate candidate to replace? I have heard that some has mentioned Mark Robinson. Apart from Mark Robinson, who else can the club turn to?

    Any suggestions?


  8. Wasn’t at the match but from the AFC Wimbledon match commentary we see……..

    It didn’t take long for Liam Trotter to go for goal as he SHOT OVER…….

    Wimbledon’s best chance of the half came just after the 20-minute mark […] and George Francomb FIRED JUST WIDE.

    Dean Parrett SHOT WIDE from 25 yards, before Andy Barcham came even closer with a curler from the edge of the area that FLASHED JUST WIDE …….

    ……when Barcham headed back to set-up Trotter, but he SCUFFED HIS SHOT WIDE.

    ……but substitute Darius Charles – on for McDonald – just failed to get there and Tom Soares SCUFFED the follow-up.

    We need players who know where the goal is FGS. We need a target man. We need LTB playing off him in the middle.

    At the moment we are going backwards.

  9. Oh! Mr Ardley
    What shall we do?
    You’ve gone and lost the dressing room
    And we’re going to League 2
    The players aren’t responding
    To your orders any more
    Oh! Mr Ardley
    Time to leave and close the door

  10. We over achieved last year having got promoted in 7th place the year before. We’re not quite good enough at this level. If we get relegated the world will keep turning.

    1. Hi Hilperton Womble,

      You share the sentiment as me in getting Curbishly as a replacement. I feel that he will be one of the suitable replacement candidates.


  11. I’m not in the Ardley out camp.

    What I’m finding impossible now is to support a manager who seems determined to put a failing team out on the pitch. When I arrived at The Kassam yesterday I couldn’t believe he’d put the same starting line up and formation out again. So in that respect he deserves every bit of criticism he’s getting. If he’d at least tried something different I’d have grounds to maintain my support.

    A bigger concern than his inability to see the problems with the personnel, formation and tactics is what I hear from people close to the squad. I spoke to 3 or 4 people at the ground closely connected to our players and there are serious rumblings of discontent.

    I don’t want him sacked but when you lose the belief of your players you are in big trouble.

    1. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

      We are showing all the signs on the pitch of a side whose manager has lost the dressing room and Ardley in his post-match all but confesses as much.

      Hard to see how he turns it round

    2. For effort the Rochdales11 probably deserved the chance but not in the same formation?

      If I went into my job tomorrow and kept doing the same bit of my job wrong day in day out questions would be asked- do I have the tools for the job? Am I suitably trained? Or am I just being obstinate in my view that the job has to be done my way and not someone else’s who either has a valid point of view or is my boss? The latter only leads to the route out of the door.

      I really think that is the problem; he’s too stubborn to change and too stubborn to admit he is wrong.

      He needs that shrink guy to bring him to the reality of the situation…

  12. Fair enough Stan. Why is he being quite so obstinate? Does he really believe we are in the cusp of turning it around? I was deeply concerned by what I saw right across the pitch yesterday. We need more than a couple of minor tweaks.

  13. If McDonald scored a few goals and Ardley played Taylor up front I think we would have a few more points. There would not be so much pressure on the team.

    It seems like we have to many midfielders and we’re missing a fourth striker.

      1. Hi Aaron,

        Playing a defender in a forward position, goes to show that NA has no ideas on what he is doing. He has indeed lost his ability to take the club forward.


  14. Doc – I don’t know. My guess is nobody has the bollocks to tell him what he’s doing aint working.

    I’d suggest we need a Crawley moment but unfortunately the senior pros like Bayo and Bully who could initiate that sort of discussion that have left the club. Of the established players we have left Fuller is probably keeping quiet in the hope nobody notices he’s past it and Robbo won’t want to rock the boat in case it causes any bad vibes when they holiday together in the summer.

    I’d go 3-5-2 next week.

    Darius captain alongside Deji and Will. Francomb and Barcham wing backs. Abdou, Soares and Hartigan in midfield. Taylor and MacDonald up front. That’s the system our personnel suits and means we can drop Fuller, get Darius back, keep Francomb and bring Taylor back central as goalscorer.

    1. I’d agree with that….and its a change from what we have been doing all season isn’t it?

      1. Jam – to use wingbacks needed Darius, I wouldn’t have done it previously with Robbo. Darius is just about fully fit so probably an option Neal has in mind for next week.

        I’m not so sure he’ll drop Fuller but I’d at least try it and see how we look without him. If it’s a choice between Fuller and Francomb in 3-5-2 I’d definitely go with George.

        It’s a system that’s hard to get Harry into but I’ve heard he isn’t training very well so that explains why he’s still not fit 5 weeks after arriving. I wonder if the January return clause is available on both sides…..

  15. One goal in 450 minutes of league football. I was there and yes I thought we had turned the corner and mid-table respectability was only weeks away. Read that statistic and let it sink in. Add the fact that Ards not changed anything fundamentally to alter that fact and then come back and give your reasons why the FC Board should not be seriously thinking about a replacement. Whether the FC Board have the balls to make the required changes is another matter. They all seem to be drinking the Coolaid as we get relegated before Easter.

    1. Hi R Don.

      I will not have given NA any more games. He needs to go. There is no question about that. It’s just the matter whether the club management has the courage to make the axing decision. I hope to hear this new sooner. It has been a frustrating season for me as till now indeed.


  16. He’s got three games, a win and a draw minimum to save his job. 11 points after 15 won’t cut it.

    We are 18 points in 22 games if you take the end of last season. This is truly dire form.

    I’m also very concerned about the s106 and WTF is going on there.

  17. Wouldn’t be surprised if the players are getting fed up as they can probably see the same things we can see

  18. If Curbishly was available and affordable then why not ?

    What about Stephen Gerrard ? He sais no to MK and he might get a few Liverpool kids who could get some goals regardless of tactics.

  19. I would give Ardley an ultimatum and 3 games to change it and in the meantime have a very serious look at potential replacements. For me Curbishley hasn’t managed in ages so perhaps not…..

    As much as Ardley is doing his best to earn a P45 I can’t think of anyone obvious to replace him? Maybe that is what may ultimately save Ardley better the devil you know and all that

      1. Thanks for posting this a couple of names there…

        Justin Edinburgh
        Nigel Adkins
        Micky Adams

  20. The trouble is, this is the absolutely the worst time for the club to hit a ‘rocky’ patch.
    Without knowing anything of the financial situation it doesn’t take much to see that our management is focussed on the new stadium and the costs therein.
    With costs possibly rising when the Contractor is appointed and starts seeing ‘extras’ (as all contractors do).
    I don’t think there’s any money to pay Neil off, let alone pay another manager or
    any new Strikers !

  21. Neal has been a great servant of the club both as a player and manager. As others have pointed out the next three games (should be) potentially winnable. At least we didn’t lose 0 v 6 like our next opponents! Let’s see how these games go and give the team and management full backing – I think Neal at least deserves that. If there still are no positive signs after these games then I’ll reluctantly agree that some tough decisions need to be taken. However, at the minute Northampton and Plymouth look far more hopeless than us and you never know the table may be looking a bit healthier after we’ve played them both. Let’s see!

    1. Yeah…. like that has happened before in our history of playing teams doing shit below us in the table!

  22. Last 18 league matches (including the last 6 from last season):

    Won 2
    Drawn 6
    Lost 10

    So 2 wins in 18 matches – and just 5 goals – we didn’t score any goals in the last 6 matches of last season…

  23. Was the ‘real’ match a completely different one then to what I was listening to on the ifollow radio commentary? In that I was hearing (in summary) ‘we were unlucky and had bags of chances and if only McDonald had scored at the beginning of the second half it could have been a different match’. Should I be cancelling my sub on the basis of misrepresentation?

  24. Well he’s had his 10 games & anyone with a brain now accepts we have a major problem. And for me it’ as not enough just sneaking a win in the next couple of games. We won against Donny & Blackburn but are still in the shit. I want to see some genuine evidence that NA has recognised & addressed the underlying reasons why we find ourselves in this situation so that henceforth we’re going to start scoring goals, winning games & climbing the table. Anything less is just papering over the cracks. If Neal can’t do it act now & bring in someone who can. We may not be able to bring in new players until Xmas but we can try to get more from the players we have.

  25. in my opinion is has been clear that we do not score enough goals. You may not agree but i stand by my opinion unlike others. it was clear last season and again in my opinion fwiw and i stand by it, that we were having major problems scoring goals. i don’t care if that offends people, it needed to be said so get your head out the clouds. i know managers, and they respect my opinion on this because theyve told me, that would take on the job because its a good job and they the same as me can see the problem: we dont score goals. i don’t understand how the fuck the board don’t see this too and say to neal ffs we need to score neal as we have only scored a handful of goals since this spring. i spotted this floor with neal back then and that is why i put it out there early, i dont care if it offends, this is a mans world iysim, if you cant take the heat then buy some asbestos underpants. we need to address the goal issue or we could get relegated in my humble opinion. jesus wept, why cant you all see this-i know what i see and others in football agree with me. this is all so predictable clap clap yeah you are all so funny/pricks/ignoring the reality. im done, not wasting my time with you that wont listen anymore. im out of here, finished.

  26. I think everyone can see we have a problem – including Neal. Issue is, on a limited budget we mucked up recruitment in the summer. Unfortunately, with Appiah crocked and LTB off form it is hard to see where the goals are coming from. Question is would pressing the panic button in the week before we play a team who have just lost 6 v 0 and have their centre forward suspended be the best move? Lots say yes, but then again many of those were saying the same thing after Stevenage at home a couple of seasons ago.

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