Easy come, easy go…

October 26, 2010

I’m still in a state a shock. No, not about Celtic’s dismal defending against Rangers yesterday, that I expected (and I have a post on that coming!) Instead, I’m shocked that while watching said Old Firm game I received a text message from a mate saying “Shorty’s been sacked!” I know I should never be surprised by anything in football, but I was certainly caught off guard here. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed, too.

For a new squad, in a new division and under a new manager, I’ve thought we’ve been doing alright. A couple of good solid performances at Wolves and Peterborough, as well as the demolition of Yeovil have shown real potential in our squad, and if we’d had a bit more luck we’d be flying high. Perhaps it is because of Short’s previous connection to the club, but I was personally willing to give him the time to provide us with some much needed stability.

There have been a few dissenting voices towards Short from the first day of the season, but I myself thought that given a bit of time, the side would come together. Indeed, the majority of Notts fans I’ve spoken to this season seem to have had the same opinion, so yesterday’s news came as a shock to a few of us.

Even more disappointing though was the news that Dave Kevan had also lost his job. Dave was a vital part in last year’s promotion, holding the playing squad together while we went through manager after manager, and throughout the turmoil at board level. From what I’ve heard he was very popular with the players too, so it does then seem a little harsh for Dave to be removed from his position.

However, I can see the other side of the coin. We clearly have a highly ambitious chairman, who has the best interests of Notts County at heart. If he didn’t then he wouldn’t have pumped so much money into our beloved club, sold a business for the sole purpose of adding extra funds to the club’s budget, or bought Nottingham Rugby, for that matter. It seems he’s looking to protect that investment, and rather than let too much time slide by, he’s made the decision quickly. Ultimately, this suggests he believes he made a mistake in appointing Short in the first place.

Many of us can make a defence for Short, beginning with just how unlucky we have been under him. So many games we’ve dominated, playing good football in the process, but just unable to take our chances. If we’d scored a second against Colchester the game was in the bag. Sheffield Wednesday were there for the taking as well, and if we’d taken one of our many chances in the first half we could easily have gone on and scored two or three. That’s just to name two matches. However, football is a results business, and “what ifs” ultimately don’t win points.

As a fan I have to trust the chairman’s judgement, something which I’m certainly prepared to do. Now we have heard that the new man “will be an experienced head”. A wise decision I believe, but it has to be the right appointment. I’m not convinced by many of the names I have heard mentioned so far, but I’d suggest there is somebody already lined up. I believe Kevan lost his job because most managers these days expect to be able to bring in their own back room team, or at least an assistant manager. I just can’t see any other explanation, so if you have one please feel free to enlighten me.

So now we have to ask just who is next? I’ve heard a few people suggest Paul Hart, but I’m not convinced that would be the right move. Peter Reid would be a strange one for me too, and some of the other names in the mix are just ‘pie in the sky’. Gordon Strachan? Phil Brown? Never going to happen. I think Paul Ince would be a decent shout, as would Alan Pardew. An outside bet for me would be someone like Micky Adams, who has Port Vale flying in League Two, and who has experience in all four divisions. However, I’m not convinced he’s a big enough name for Ray Trew’s ambitions, so perhaps I should raise mine accordingly. In that case I’d go for Alan Curbishley, but I just couldn’t that happening (see above ‘pie in the sky’ statement!)

Ultimately I’ll back whoever comes into the club. What we need is a manager who will come in and tighten the defence up, and demand more from our front players. We need to turn these good performances into victories, and as much as I accept that Steve Cotterill is ancient history at Notts, I can’t help but think if he’d been in charge we’d have at least six extra points thanks to his demands of the players.

All I would personally ask is that Tony Mowbray gets nowhere near the Meadow Lane hotseat, and I hope Middlesbrough hurry up and appoint him. Nine months of Mowbray as a manager of your team is enough to provide a major dose of the blues to even the most optimistic supporter. For it to happen to both of my clubs within twelve months may see me off to the doctor for a course of valium!

If you need convincing otherwise, YouTube has dozens of examples of Celtic’s dismal performances last season. Get some popcorn and settle down for a true horror show. Just make sure you tell me first so I can hide behind the couch…

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5 Responses to “Easy come, easy go…”

  1. Steve Says:

    I can’t quite believe what I reading here!
    Before I go onto Notts county you speak of Tony Mombray and his dismal record at Celtic- how many games did you actually see in the flesh or did you, as you pointed out to your 11,000* viewers, watch snippets on YouTube that, like stats, can be manipulated to suit purpose?! I am pretty certain WBA fans don’t share your view and your wide sweeping statement about him “Nine months of Mowbray as a manager of your team is enough to provide a major dose of the blues to even the most optimistic supporter” is way off the mark and you have no proper evidence other than sitting on your arse watching the results on TV and internet clips to base your assumption on.
    As with Notts, were you at the game on Saturday or just picking up snippets from match reports that said we dominated the first half? That much was true but the second half we were awful, devoid of ideas and lacking industry and it was only a matter of time before we conceded and went on to lose (which has happened time and time again this season, especially away from home)- Short and the players were found wanting when John Ward changed the tactics and we looked out of our depth and unable to change the game plan- a sign that we are ill equipped at the higher level.
    You speak of Trew being highly ambitious, why because he has saved a club from going to the wall- he said he wants promotion but it is not stupid enough to demand it this season and as for you ‘fancying’ Curbishley are you having a laugh- we are nowhere a bigger enough draw for somebody like him- we would be a platform and nothing else for a manager like Paul Ince but he hasn’t got the experience of which Trew speaks of- 4 years in management is not enough- the same old names will be banded about and someone will come in for 2 years max, not be able to achieve anything and get the boot due to you and other idiots that call themselves fans having unrealistic expectations for this great football club but very ordinary team.

    *11,000 hits rather than readers would be more accurate as you frantically press F5 to see if anyone has shown any interest in your un-educated ramblings.
    For future reference, this is how a blog should be… http://wellypie.blogspot.com/2010/10/craig-short.html

  2. Mike McKenna Says:

    Ah, back again huh Steve? By the way, I’m very much aware of WellyPie’s blog, it’s a good read.

    Now then, Tony Mowbray. If you’ve read any other posts on here, you’ll see that I’m also a Celtic fan. So yes, I watched a lot of Tony Mowbray’s side. It was the most dismal football I’ve ever encountered in all of my 30 years. Truly awful. No fight, no heart, no ability, players were just passengers, and in under a season Mowbray lost THIRTEEN games. Thirteen. In a two horse race for the title.

    And if you want to bring West Brom into it, go right ahead. Ask West Brom fans about their season in the Premier League. Ask them about his “I won’t change my football philosophy, even if we lose 10-0”. Ask them about his tactical ineptitude. He had a shocker. So my statement about “the blues” certainly has foundation.

    And onto Notts. Time and time again this year we’ve created chance after chance, and been unable to take them. There were chances for Davies, Hawley and Smith to add to our lead in the first half against Colchester, much like against Sheffield Wednesday there were all kinds of chances in the first half (Spicer in particular missed a golden one, if memory serves me rightly!)

    It shows we have the ability to make chances, we’ve just been unlucky not to take them. Not quite sure how you can disagree with that statement. And yes, Short has been caught out by a change of tactics on a couple of occasions this season, but as a new, young manager he is going to make mistakes. It’s all part of the learning curve. How he learnt from those mistakes is what is key.

    Does it mean we are ill equipped for this level? I think there have been a few performances that suggest otherwise (Charlton, Peterborough, Yeovil, even Wolves)

    Ray Trew clearly is highly ambitious. He provided a “top 7” budget for Short at the start of the season, and clearly expected a similar position in the league. If you happen to have read Notts County Mad in pre-season then you’ll see he was hoping to finish up around the play offs, which is certainly ambitious. That doesn’t mean promotion, but it means more consistency than we are showing.

    You clearly didn’t read what I said about Curbishley either. I called it ‘pie in the sky’, did I not? ie not going to happen! Feel free to criticise my posts, but AT LEAST have the decency to read them first!

    I resent the implication that I have been calling for Short’s head. I haven’t. I believe that the most successful clubs are those that back their manager. Ferguson took 4 years to win a trophy. David Moyes has taken Everton through a couple of relegation fights, and they are now a top 8 side. Even Jimmy Sirrell’s record was poor in the early stages, and by today’s standards he’d have been sacked. Look at the first paragraph of my blog. I said I didn’t see this coming, and I was disappointed.

    And unrealistic aims? I’d personally settle for staying in the division, but I’d suggest that the chairman has different ideas.

    So thanks for your input, Steve. But you’ve got this one totally wrong.

  3. Steve Says:

    Mike,

    At last you actually back up your statements with facts and a good case to argue, unlike your initial blog which I always find to be wanting of any real depth and feel as though you skim on the surface of what has been published on other websites/newspapers around which I feel makes you lose creditability.
    In this response you have shown you are able to add a few valid points and wish you could include these on the initial blog to add more substance to an other wise tedious read.
    However, you seem to contradict yourself on occasion, notably with the Mombray comments, you go on about managers needing time to win things and that you cant be judged too quickly etc and how you need to learn from mistakes but then only mention Mombray’s premier league tenure at WBA and not the successful promotion with the free flowing football they played and enjoyed- scoring near on 100 goals in the process. You then go on to mention about how managers learn from their mistakes (I refer you to your quote about Mombray not changing his tactics at WBA in spite of losing) but he learnt from that and changed it accordingly in the tin pot league which is Scottish ‘football*’ so surely, successful or not, he learnt from the error of his ways at WBA in a proper, though still weak (bottom half), league and decided to play in a different way.
    You use the word unlucky in describing us in front of goal this season, well how long can that tired excuse be brought out before something has to change, I am a great believer in the comment “the harder I train/try, the luckier I become” if the manager wasn’t working on these things as much as he should then who’s fault is that, if the players are not taking these opportunities then who’s fault is that?
    I don’t know if you were at Colchester on Saturday, or indeed any away game this season but I was and I believe that qualifies me better than you to talk about the game- I have been to EVERY match this season and have seen the same mistakes at every game- this brings me back to the ineptitude and lack of response to the managers cries from the players, maybe they lack the intelligence to grasp change or maybe they are just an unlucky bunch who it will come good for eh?
    Only time will tell and I shall be there at every game unlike people like you who go to home games and think that qualifies you to speak with authority about my beloved club.
    *the term is used very loosely considering it is Scottish football!

  4. Mike McKenna Says:

    Ah, one of those who believe only fans who go to away games are “qualified” to talk about the club. I should have known. That view is about as valid as me suggesting that I’m more qualified to talk about Notts because I’m a football commentator. Neither has any weight, and so I won’t use mine. What’s your excuse?

    Anybody can talk about the football club, whether they travel away, just go to home games or are occasional fans. No view is invalid, no matter how much you kid yourself. Some can be scoffed at, but they still have the right to that opinion.

    I’ll take your point about adding further facts into consideration, but if I’d added those Mowbray facts it becomes a massive tangent, and not a piece about Craig Short.

    Onto your main point. How have I contradicted myself? Mowbray was given nine months at Celtic, time which I thought he deserved. He failed to qualify for the Champions League, and then finished bottom of the Europa League group, and was given the time to continue. He was knocked out of the League Cup at the quarter final stage in a home game against Hearts, and still allowed to continue. He even lost 2 out of three Old Firm games (winning none) and was still in his position. It finally took the the pitiful defeat to St Mirren (by 4 goals to nil) to move 12 points behind Rangers before the trigger was pulled.

    I’m all for giving managers time, but they have to show some resilience, show that they are capable of the job in the first place. I believe Short was capable, and he showed it in the games with Wolves, Peterborough, not to mention the incredible come back at Bournemouth. Mowbray on the other hand was not.

    As for his time in the Championship at WBA, he did well, no question. However, he has had to make a step up twice, once to the the Premier League (where he failed) and once to Celtic (where he was even worse). You state that he learned from one job to the other. I beg to differ. He played exactly the same way with Celtic as he had with WBA. He wanted to play open, attacking football and to hell with the consequences. I’d rather win ugly than lose playing lovely football every day of the week. Mowbray wouldn’t, and I’d wager he’s the same even now. Any manager that can be so tactically naive is not one I want in place at Notts, especially after we have taken action to remove a rookie for a guy with more experience. It would be utterly pointless, even if he does have a good record at Championship level.

    As for Notts being unlucky, it is true that the argument can be used too much. I’m not quite convinced we were there yet, and so I think the decision was premature. But it’s happened, so we move on.

  5. Steve Says:

    I dont want to gwet into a huge debate with you as we will end up going around in circles, however if you could read my post correctly I said better qualified to talk about THE GAME AT COLCHESTER as I was there- I dont buy into the notion that because I attend every game I have more knowledge, however I do believe, having witnessed it in the flesh, that I can comment with more authority on events that I actually saw in that game (and others) than what people read as second hand information.
    With regard Mombray being given time- in your first post you mention about Ferguson being given 4 years, how can that compare to 9 months with a dreadful squad- Rangers were, and still are, streets ahead of Celtic who have been in decline for the past few years- even in their last championship winning side with GS they were not the force they were under MON- that can not all be blamed on Tony Mombray.


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