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Summer of Discontent

So now what? At the time of writing, we are in one of the most precarious positions since we joined the league in 1977. Relegation is a real and genuine possibility, people are left, right, and centre, are blaming Drillo and I’m not really too sure which way to turn at the moment.

At this moment in time, WFC is at a massive crossroads. A wrong turn could set the club back years, the right one will see us continue our steady path towards eventual world domination. Trouble is, it seems as though somebody hasn’t got a map handy.

I will cut to the chase straight away : come the summer, whoever is the manager in charge must go on the biggest clearout of players this club has ever seen. Too many of the players are either a) crap, or b) not 100% committed, or c) both, and as can be seen painfully at the moment, when the two combine then all sorts of hell will break lose. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we may have to do this rebuilding in the first division – it’s more likely to happen if we do go down, and despite some people scared about us plummeting through the divisions I don’t think it will cause us that much harm – but it must be done.

I make no bones about repeating this undeniable fact for the 5 millionth time – last year, under David Kemp and Mick Harford, the club went on a horrendous freefall and looked even less likely to win a game than the current situation. Now, the players responsible for this are more or less the same players that are playing this year. What was probably most shocking about this is that DK and MH were two people who spent all their time working with the players, and the fact that they didn’t perform for people they supposedly respected makes me believe that a clearout is the only answer in the summer.

Now, to the present. The problem at the moment seems to be a general lack of motivation. It is widely believed that it’s down to the management to motivate the players, which is true to an extent, but a lot of responsibility for that relies on the players themselves. Should players playing in the top flight earning fuck knows how much really need to be motivated? Again, going back to last year, the players knew what they had to do all right, but they didn’t do it. Why? Is their collective character not strong enough? It does make you wonder, especially as the amount of times the team bottles big games is too frequent for comfort.

So to the summer, the main point of this article. What should happen? Firstly, there is likely to be a change of sorts. With luck, we will have a stable ownership by the time the new season starts, something that this season has been sorely lacking. The question is, who to change? The current trend is to sack Drillo, granted even his fiercest detractors fall short on calling for his head immediately, but it’s felt by many people that he is the one to blame. The big danger with that line of logic is that nobody is able to put forward a viable alternative as manager.

The question, once again, is of motivation. One of the big complaints that the anti-Drillo brigade have is that our manager tried to change things too quickly letting things go pear shaped. If you sacked him, and bought in somebody else from outside the club, what’s to stop that new manager wanting to change things (and I mean ANY manager)? What then? Do you sack that manager for not getting things right immediately, for trying to change things? We then get to a situation where managing WFC becomes the job nobody wants (which I think is fast becoming that way anyway) – you can’t change things because, well, you can’t. The last thing WFC needs next season is even more instability.

Of course, you could always employ from within, which seriously narrows your options. Who would feasibly be the new WFC manager from within WFC? Certain people may yell for REMBE, but two problems arise here : firstly, the guy has practically zero managerial experience, and as his captancy shows, I still remain unconvinced that he’s that good a motivator. Secondly, if Wombling Free is correct, he and Michael Hughes don’t exactly get along too well. I’ve heard a couple of stories that REMBE isn’t exactly the most popular member of the team anyway, so will the players necessarily respond to him?

Who else? Mick Harford? The man who so gloriously failed to motivate last season? Further down, we have Stewart Robson, who if we are going to go down the route of employing from within would be by far and away the best choice. Could he deal with the egos in the camp though? Terry Burton you can forget, he doesn’t want to be the manager, and then really you’re stuffed. Oh yeah, I forgot – Lawrie Sanchez. Problem is, he left under a severely black cloud after MH was employed as reserve team manager in Sanch’s absence, so you can probably forget that idea. Steve Cotterill? Promising young manager, granted, though for him to come to WFC would take him up about 3 divisions. And what’s to say that he won’t want to do things his way either? The only other, and I hope very unlikely, situation, is for JK to return, and as What If?? has said, the guy could not make much difference.

Which leaves the current incumbent, Drillo. Many people are currently feeling that he’s alienated too many people, players and fans alike, which may have caused the problems. The question is, what if he HADN’T tried to change things? Would things have improved? The way they were going, I seriously doubt it. The fact that he’s tried to change things and failed up till now isn’t necessarily the end for him at WFC : remember, Withe cocked up a winning team, Drillo is losing with a losing team.

The other thing is, Drillo has a plan. A plan of playing style that has, on occasions this season, worked, so the potential for success is there. Other managers may have their own plans, which may involve changing the nucleus of the squad. Deja vu. So really, if you’re going to get a manager in who is going to change the style of play and bring his own players in to play that style (and get shot of the players who don’t want to play your style), you may as well keep Drillo, give him a free licence to cull at will and do things the way he wants done. The mechanics are slowly fitting into place.
The anti-Drillo backlash also revolves around highly loved players wanting to leave. Would a change of manager persuade these players to stay? Sully is off, he wants more money. Jason Euell is moving because Johnathon Barnett tells him to move. Michael Hughes could stay, but for how long? Forget the reasons for leaving, I would wager that these players would be off regardless of who is currently or potentially in charge. Consequently, the manager (whoever he is) will need to think of a system, and buy players to fit in it. Now, the only way you’re going to do that is by getting in loads of new players who you are confident of playing it, and who are loyal to how you want to do it…….