AFC Wimbledon, meet Planet Earth. Again.
So, Mark “Robbo” Robinson’s honeymoon lasted a grand total of two games then.
OK, that’s a bit unfair. Even in better times, going to a highly fancied (and expensively put together) side in Peterborough always had the possibility of a thumping.
But even that wasn’t forthcoming at half time, when it was 0-0 and by all accounts we were good value for it.
As our new Head Coach has already found out though, turds are not meant to be polished.
Looking at the highlights (sic) again, apart from wondering how the hell that pitch could be considered playable, we just look, well, slow.
Not lumbering in a cart horse fashion type of slow, though you could be forgiven for thinking that sometimes.
But so many teams seem that half-a-yard quicker – both physically and in brain power too.
And I’m not sure what Robbo can do about that, at least for the rest of the season.
Their third goal was the type a team down the bottom always tends to concede, and I’m sure it was offside.
Not that it matters though.
One thing that is already different under MR is that he’s not afraid to call out the players publicly in post-game interviews.
That was the case yesterday too. He’s not throwing them under the bus, more pointing out the bleeding obvious.
I don’t know what he’ll be thinking this morning, but the players themselves have long lost the right to be protected in public.
Mollycoddling them, as GH seemed to do, no longer works, so a public attempt forcing them to buck their ideas up is one of few options left with this lot.
Our squad are mentally weak. They are too slow. They are lacking in personality and character.
And they are in the relegation zone because of all this.
Granted, they’re also not very good, but if you can’t be brilliant at least be tough to beat. We’re not even that.
Should we go down, the biggest losers (apart from the fans who will have to watch L2 football again) will be the current squad.
A lot of them will be gone in the summer regardless, and most of them won’t be missed.
Somebody like Rudoni we’d like to keep, but you can see him moving back into L1 if we get relegated.
So really, it’s the players themselves who have everything to lose.
There are three good things to take away from yesterday though, believe it or not.
The first is that our fate isn’t going to be decided by losing 3-0 to Peterborough.
From now until the end of the season, we’ll still be playing a lot of teams who should be beatable.
Fail to get anything out of the likes of Burton, or Brizzle Rovers, and we deserve to go down anyway.
Secondly, not only do we have some “easier” games, we also have a lot of them still to play.
We still have about eighteen fixtures to save ourselves. It’s a sizeable number, and it will knacker a lot of teams out with the relentless grind.
But a purple patch could definitely go a long way to securing our L1 survival. Especially in March, where we play the Gas, the Brewers and Northampton.
Remember that we played OK for the first half yesterday, so this lot are capable of performing at least some of the time.
And we didn’t crumble against Wigan a fortnight ago, when we otherwise might have done.
Thirdly, we’re currently two points off safety. But not only do we have a lot of games to come, we have two games in hand on just about everyone else.
Anyone know which particular games they are, by the way? Ipswich and Rochdale at PL?
It might not feel it this morning, but we’ve actually still got a lot of time to turn this around.
That might explain why MR was talking about “processes”, because he knows that he’s still got enough games to get something – anything – out of this lot.
Lots to do. And I get the feeling our new head honcho was picked as a medium term solution too.
We may never know who else was on the shortlist, but it’s clear the club are wanting to move to a Director of Football/Head Coach setup.
Robbo himself seems happier being the proverbial tracksuit manager, which might have got him the job over everyone else.
Let’s be blunt here – our scouting and recruitment has been too crap for too long.
True, we had the new database put in by Nick Daws** but getting that bit right takes more than a Microsoft Access program.
** – speaking of our recently departed assistant, he made a public comment about his departure on Twitter last week.
Interesting timing, as he did it after Robbo was appointed – did he apply as well?
If so, maybe he thought that he got axed because of GH (who IIRC has still made no public comment on his departure) and felt he could turn things around himself…
At a club like ours, where you literally can’t afford to sign too many dud players, you need to get the recruitment side spot on.
Doing it the “traditional” way (ie a manager who does most if not all the transfers) isn’t working, and hasn’t for some time.
So a Director of Football is a good way to go, because it should boost things in an area we sorely lack in.
If you have a Telegraph subscription, and if you ignore the unfortunate mention of Bury, you’ll have an idea of what one of those does.
We need to be much more attractive as a club to players from now on, and yes – that does mean paying them more.
If we’re to progress, we need to bite that particular bullet.
But we also need to have an identity again, rather than just the whole sign-somebody-and-see-if-it-sticks approach.
To be fair to Robbo, he does seem to understand that (as did Walter and GH), and time has finally run out on us merely talking about it.
We rebuilt the youth development side into something fit for purpose, which is now starting to pay off.
Now, we need to do the same with the first team.
As for who you’d want as a DoF, it would be somebody with lots of links to as many local Prem/Championship sides as possible.
This is for somebody who knows the game, but isn’t a dinosaur. I doubt if there aren’t plenty of those about who are realistic targets.
Maybe we’ve got somebody in mind, and if so – I’d like them in sooner rather than later.
They can then get on with the first task of getting up to speed of who we can get in for the summer rebuild.
Because while the most important close season is always the next one – this upcoming one may genuinely be the most vital so far…