After a season where criticism of the club and its fans has been waiting around every corner of the JJB stadium, ears have been pricked all round waiting to sample how the new manager would handle the barriers that Paul Jewell insisted stood in his way. Early indications are that he’s got his pole out and is ready to vault all the way over them.
Taking the ‘if you say it enough, people will start to believe it’ approach, Hutchings has returned to the ‘ambitious club’ book that was popular during our time in the Second Division. He wants quality players who want to play for the club, will work hard and most of all match his ambitions.
According to the new guy, Bramble’s signing isn’t one of a small club scratching around for the best it can get, it’s a sign that we’re taking a step forward and beating other clubs to signatures and as far as he’s concerned, Sibierski has signed because he wants to help take the club forward.
Hutchings isn’t bothering putting the club down or pointing out how difficult his job is, maybe he has realised that we’re football fans and there’s on point even trying to manage our expectations, but at the same time he’s making no promises. Then again, I’m guessing we’ve seen enough of those turn into lies to not bother who’s making them any more.
Hutchings’ piece de resistance has to be his ‘no one is for sale’ comments of yesterday. Of course he doesn’t mean it. How could he stop a player like Leighton Baines joining a top four club? Why sign Sibierski if not to replace McCulloch? Who would want a mard arse like Camara around if he decides he wants out? Of course we’d be prepared to sell, but how good is it to hear otherwise? How much better does ‘it’s easy for me to turn offers down’ sound than ‘I wouldn’t stand in his way’, even if, deep down they mean the same thing?
Essentially, all Hutchings is doing is selling the club. Dusting off that forecourt patter for the benefit of players and fans alike, telling them what they want to hear so that they’ll buy anything. It may just be a side affect, but something strange is happening. Even the most cynical of fans are feeling positive about Hutchings’ chances.
Of course the proof of the pudding won’t come for a couple of months, but it’s not been a bad start for the new gaffer. If nothing else he’s started to renew the enthusiasm that has been missing from almost every aspect of the club for a season or two now and what a welcome contrast that is making.