or, This is Not a Match Report
Because, my first pointer for people volunteering to do match reports would be to remember stuff. Work out a way to get the right events in roughly the right order to get the story of the game flowing. My second would be to pick a game where there were things to remember and a flowing storyline. Thirdly it doesn’t matter if you’re biased, we’re not the national media. Fourthly, count to ten before you write, the best time and place to vent your spleen is in a blog a day or two after (at least then you can pretend you’ve given things careful consideration and finally, never, ever start a match report with…
What an absolute pile of steaming horse droppings that was. I’m sorry for expecting more, but it’s Christmas and a week where we’ve been promised all out energy and passion, seen a first win since who knows when and started our build up to a local derby in The WA, erm sorry, FA Cup. I’m sorry for expecting more, but we sacked our last manager and put a, relatively, expensively assembled squad in the hands of Malky Mackay just so we could.
I gave up on writing match reports because I was terrible at remembering just what had happened in games, too much chatting and too many post-match pints saw to that, but I’ve got the sequence of events for this game nailed. 1) We kicked off, 2) We flapped about a bit, 3) the whistle went for half time, 4) two blokes didn’t have the good sense to stick at a signed Latics shirt (then again who wants one of those at the moment?) 5) we kicked off again, 6) Wednesday started to realise they were a good bet to win the game, 7) Mcmanaman came on, 8) Mcmanaman got sent off, 9) Wednesday scored, 10) We all went home.
I could talk about the tactics, about how I was pleased to hear of the move to a back three at Leeds but was disappointed to see how easily it became a back five in this game. How it doesn’t matter what formation you play if all you’re going to do is stand your players in lines on the pitch and try to hit long balls up to a front man.
I could talk about strikers, about how you can’t suddenly expect a 25 year old lad, who’s never been a striker to suddenly understand how a striker should play, or about how playing James McClean centrally takes him out of the areas where he’s proved dangerous this season, or about selecting strikers being a case of selecting horses for courses, and how hitting high balls to Fortune and McClean is like asking a flat specialist to take on sodden national hunt course.
I could talk about wing-backs, midfield roles, captaincy, leadership, passing and passion. I could talk about all those things, but more often than not I’d be talking about the lack of them and I’d just be adding a level of interest in this game that just wasn’t there. It was flat and inspid, untidy and morose. Halfway through the second half I put forward the suggestion that in all those 5-0 defeats to the likes of Man United or even in that 9-1 defeat to Spurs, we were never this inept. No one argued differently although I’m not sure whether that was because they agreed or because they’d all gone to sleep by then.
A lot of the blame has to go with the players for this one. Mcmanaman’s hot headed stupidity proving just why no one with any sense will pay £5m for him, Espinoza’s headless chicken act proving why four managers have never really fancied him, Keirnan’s naivety and lack of concentration proving that he’s just not ready for the responsibility yet. Forshaw came out of the first hour or so with some credit but he was the only one, the rest lost interest very quickly and just didn’t look like they wanted to play for each other, or for the manager.
Ah, the manager, because at the end of the day, the buck always stops there. He was the man brought in to sort the squad out, to stop whatever had been going on over the first third of this season and so far you can only say he’s failed. If anything, we’ve gone backwards on the pitch and god knows what’s happening off it. With the New Year starting tomorrow, I’d like to say that I can see the green shoots of recovery somewhere at the club, but if the turgid, unimaginative, long-ball nonsense on display here last night is typical of how Mackay wants us to play then I’m sorry, I just can’t.
Happy New Year
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