Rock and a hard place

Some humour. Because it’s in very short supply at AFCW right now….

So, now what?

As this promising season is going downwards at an increasing rate of knots, I feel like I’ve gone back into the dying days of the Terry Brown era. And it’s becoming a case of when, not if the breaking point is finally reached.

Judging by observations, there were a couple of, ahem, discussions between a few supporters after the game. That’s not a good sign, especially as away following is usually more “loyal” than those at home.

But it’s not a surprise that tempers have flared up. The whole AFCW experience right now is grinding and demoralising. It’s unenjoyable beyond the meeting-your-mates-for-a-pint social aspect.

And the less things change, the worse that will get.

Your editor was at Reading yesterday and I’m not upset that I missed out on a 4h+ drive, to watch the same old shit. And I don’t blame anyone who gives games a wide berth right now. Why waste your time and money following this rabble?

Unsurprisingly, the focus post-game is on our current manager. While he’ll be around for Brizzle Rovers on Tuesday, I think he’s now entered the stage where no matter what he does – it won’t make any significant difference any more.

I didn’t have enough time to do a Friday update, but I would have picked up on this pre-game comment from him:

“I’ve probably done more coaching in the last week than ever before, because we’ve needed it. We are trying to tweak some stuff to be able to get results. The boys have taken that on board, they’ve been grilled hard. It’s been a tough week, but a positive week? Perhaps, but I’ll tell you that at 5 pm on Saturday.

Before I go on, that was the sign of a manager who knows he has to start getting it right, and quick. So, fast forward 48 hours or so…

We did video analysis on that exact set-piece and several others to make sure that we were aware of how to deal with it, but eight minutes in you are away from home and chasing the game.

And:

We set them up, we run through set pieces, do video analysis, we work on their threats and try to put the right players on their players, but at the moment we are not taking responsibility.

And:

I don’t doubt our ability to match most teams between the boxes, but at the moment I doubt our ability to keep clean sheets and not give away silly goals.”

I could go on, but reading these comments from yesterday, and the one before the game – he cannot seem to communicate to the players any more.

If we were starting to turn the corner, then we would have got a point yesterday. Ditto against Pompey. But the results and performances are those of a regime in real decline.

OK, we might get something from Brizzle Rovers, but even if we did – it’s not going to change much now. Just like beating Oxford didn’t make much difference either.

I don’t doubt the players were made to sit through the video analysis, but they probably switched off half way through it. No wonder the players didn’t follow the instructions, they were probably still trying to figure out what they were.

Anything said probably just washes over them now – or in other words, did NA really do coaching or was he back to his micro-managing worst again?

If it’s not crunch time already, it’s certainly getting close now. Just like the TB era, where it was obvious something had to happen, but ultimately took too long when it did.

I don’t necessarily buy the notion that relegation is inevitable with this squad. Like so many of us paying to watch, they’d at least give the benefit of the doubt to a fresh, new voice in charge of them.

They’d listen to them, certainly a lot more than they’re doing at the moment. The second half at Pompey may be more profound than first thought.

While there’s undeniably issues with the squad, I really do think our current plight has a lot to do with them not being receptive to the coaching now. They need new ideas, and they’re not getting them.

When that happens, there’s only one winner. And they’re the ones who are on at least 2-year deals and can’t be dumped so easily these days…