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NEW ARTICLE: Parky, Powell and Patience

Not a happless firm of solicitors from a Carry On film, but as the Chris Powell rateometer heads south as quickly as it advanced north, it’s been interesting to read the understandable re-emergence of whether the Club were right to dispose of the previous incumbent.

Parky was not the great revolutionary, nor tactical genius, but he was honest and committed. His overriding sin was not to prevent us from being relegated to League One, but by failing to get us promoted back out of it.

If you look back on the previous campaign with the benefit of hindsight, there were two noticeable things in play:

1. It was a very decent squad for League 1

2. It was unfortunate that Norwich and Leeds were also particularly strong.


Whether those two were that much stronger than us is highly up for debate. In Norwich's case, i think the core of our squad was stronger than theirs, but they possessed a creative influence in Hoolihan and a match winner in Holt that we simply did not have.

Leeds looked more similar to us but were boosted by both Beckford, and having a manager who had either built a squad of players with the right lower league mentality, or was able to get them 'up for it' more than we could. The big club on the rise scenario also helped give them momentum.

However, were the squad we had capable of more than they produced ?

Most definitely, and reflections of far too many underpar performances re-iterates that point.
A great start fizzled out and only really returned for the last 4 games of the season.

Where Grayson, Lambert or Jackett at Millwall, were able to get under the skin of their troops and coax a reaction on a regular basis, Parky despite his core attitude and intentions was unable to garner such a response.

The respective goal difference for the last half hour of games for last season (ultimately where draws become wins, and defeats become draws) was:

Norwich +33, Millwall +23, Leeds +18, Charlton +8.

Onto this campaign, and if you compare now the squad to last season does that show that Parky was doing a good job following a severe reduction in budget in the Summer to have us in a play-off position ? Or is it reflective that this appears a lower standard league this season ?

I think the answer is probably a bit of both.

I wasn't a ranter who wanted him sacked, but i could see more likelihood in our season fizzling out after once again a decent start, than i could see a side that was improving the more they played together. A disappointing replication of last season was emerging. And something from the application and co-ordination shown in those couple of dire home games leading up to his dismissal told you that something clearly wasn't right.

Now i see a squad that is pretty much ok in ability, but maybe lacking in heart, confidence and determination. It also now has little settled structure or balance. We are currently positioned where we deserve to be.

The one good thing is that if you can get things right, its pretty easy to progress. Getting things right with our budget though is obviously a lot more difficult than you would think it is. Mentality overcomes ability in this league, and sadly if the players don't have the right ingrained approach then you are always playing with a handicap.

Are those currently getting on Powell’s back after this run of defeats justified ?

Of course not, it’s frustration overcoming realism. It is ridiculous to make such judgements after just a few weeks when injuries appear to be having an impact on an already imbalanced squad of players. Football managers are largely governed by their budget, but on a flat budget are effectively guardians entrusted to deliver steady improvement over time. They are not miracle workers, who unless the previous regime had completely fallen apart, are able to deliver instant results within a couple of weeks, or get a player who has been playing football for 20 years to suddenly trap a ball.

Does that currently exonerate Powell from criticism ?

Equally no, it is his job to pick the best eleven to win games, and at present they are not winning. Formations are being tinkered with, players are being played out of position, we look defensively frail as a unit and the desire to include Ecclestone somewhere in the side provides further imbalance.

Powell’s ethos so far appears to be to try and get the team playing improved football. It is a run ahead of a walk, as what is by far the most important approach to this league is matching the desire of the opposition. Win the personal battles, adopt a will-not-lose mentality and then build on the football from there.

Winners come in all forms but at this level it is not just centred on those who can play, but built around a core of those who are organised and those who will fight. Without those values, the ability to play improved football with rightly see you as a soft touch who can be got at.

We must somehow change that mentality as soon as possible. Our home games are not just attractive to opponents because they are coming to a decent arena. First and foremost they are looking forward to it because they know they’re going to face a team that can be got at. We need to become the team that others don’t want to play, not lick their lips ahead of it.

Our manager needs to be given time to rebuild a squad to his preference and assert his values, yet the supporters are rightly frustrated and disappointed with the offerings that are currently on show. It is a horrible, undesirable catch-22 scenario, that cannot just be looked at in isolation because it has blossomed from a backdrop of incompetence and disappointment.

Patience in the stands at this crossroads stage is vital, but it is equally importance that this is a two-way street, and being a soft touch is never something football supporters at any club wilfully accept.

Show the desire, show the mentality and you’ll find the supporters will be willing to be patient for a lot longer than they currently are.
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Comments

  • Good article.
    [cite]Posted By: AFKABartram[/cite]Whether those two were that much stronger than us is highly up for debate. In Norwich's case, i think the core of our squad was stronger than theirs, but they possessed a creative influence in Hoolihan and a match winner in Holt that we simply did not have.

    I think a lot of people think this, but did anyone really know enough about Norwich's (or Leeds' for that matter) squad to back up this argument? I don't even know who played in defence for Norwich apart from Doherty - the rest may have all been better players than our back 4. Holt and Hoolihan, Austin and Paynter, Morison, Beckford and Bechio always get mentioned but what about the rest of the squad? It can't have been just the goalscorers that made the difference.
  • A disappointing replication of last season was emerging.

    Yep, wouldn't want that to happen again !!!! 10 minutes away from Wembley.........
  • However, good article.
  • I think if we'd have had BWP last season we would have gone up.
  • I know it is simplistic but if we had held on at Carrow Road for a 1-0 win instead of conceding a Grant Holt injury time winner, which looked like a foul on Elliott. And we had beaten Millwall at the Valley when we were 3-2 up and they had a player sent off, we would now be playing a season in the Championship and this conversation would be redundant.It was a good squad last season but if we had a Grant Holt playing for us i am sure we would have been promoted. The fine lines of football.
  • I know it is simplistic but if we had held on at Carrow Road for a 1-0 win instead of conceding a Grant Holt injury time winner, which looked like a foul on Elliott. And we had beaten Millwall at the Valley when we were 3-2 up and they had a player sent off, we would now be playing a season in the Championship and this conversation would be redundant.It was a good squad last season but if we had a Grant Holt playing for us i am sure we would have been promoted. The fine lines of football.

    Dick, if your aunt had bollox she would be your uncle.
  • edited March 2011
    [cite]Posted By: masicat[/cite]A disappointing replication of last season was emerging.

    Yep, wouldn't want that to happen again !!!! 10 minutes away from Wembley.........

    Our prior gutless performances by PP's team against Millwall suggest that perhaps it was a good job we stayed away from Wembley.

    Good article AFKA
  • Did he play?
  • [cite]Posted By: masicat[/cite]Did he play?

    Who's that question to?
  • Good article,

    I believe our squad is probably weaker this year than it was last year, although we have now got a goal striker that we didnt have then. I don't think we can judge Powell yet, he hasnt even had a chance to get players in that he wants, to suit his style of play. That being said, I think Parky got alot out of a team that are probably quite average for this level (I really can't understand people who think we have one of the best teams in the league). Powell should be judge in may 2012, after his first full season as manager, with players that he has got in himself.

    We are not far away from the play off places and a late run of wins (especially against rivals) could propel us into them, in which it is a lottery (as we found our to our detriment last year). We can still go up this year, keep the faith...
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  • You? Assuming we judge a manager on the players performance, where does the Carlisle game rank as far as gutless goes? Playing a good Millwall side at the Den or playing a real crap Carlisle side at the Valley? I won't lay in to CP, but see my point??
  • [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: masicat[/cite]A disappointing replication of last season was emerging.

    Yep, wouldn't want that to happen again !!!! 10 minutes away from Wembley.........

    Our prior gutless performances by PP's team against Millwall suggest that perhaps it was a good job we stayed away from Wembley.

    Good article AFKA

    You mean like the gutless display by Sir Chris Powell's team on Tuesday?
  • [cite]Posted By: masicat[/cite]You? Assuming we judge a manager on the players performance, where does the Carlisle game rank as far as gutless goes? Playing a good Millwall side at the Den or playing a real crap Carlisle side at the Valley? I won't lay in to CP, but see my point??


    I didn't go to Carlisle. Did you go to either Millwall game? Whilst I wasnt at Carlisle Im sure the Millwall performances hurt a lot more?

    No of course parkinson didnt play, cherlish question. It was his job to motivate the players, pick the team, fire them up and select the tactics. I saw little over either game that suggested he would outwit Jackett in the playoff final.

    Yes I agree that CP should also be judged on performances and results but my original response was to your point that getting within 10 minutes of the Play off final against Millwall was some kind of achievment. It wasnt....it was failure.
  • Compared to this season it will be an achievement.........................................that's my point.
  • Good post Danny.

    Sadly the fans patience has been totally eroded in the last five years. The board made a correct judgement in that who ever came in was going to have their work cut out and have little time from the fans to get it right. On that basis Powell was a great appointment - the fans were always going to give him more support and time than an experienced manager unknown to us. Sadly he is both inexperienced as a manager and, more importantly, at this end of the league.

    Parkinson had a good grasp of what was needed to win games in this division. I didn't particularly want him kept, but despite having little resources, and no recognisable playing style, we were hard to beat. Ignoring the Millwall local derbies we only conceded three goals twice last season, and in 22 games this term it was at two before his last two games, and I think the pressure on him and the team might have had something to do with that.

    In 5 home games we've conceded 8 goals under Powell (that doesn't include the Colchester one that was stolen from them).

    I'm not looking to blame Powell, but we seem to have completely changed our aspirations without much increase in resources. Lee Martin might have disappointed on occasion, but there's no doubt that he has talent. With him leaving and Eccleston and BWP coming in we haven't really increased our pool of talent significantly, yet we seem to be trying to play like Arsenal rather than trying to battle it out and start by not losing. We have also let Sodje and Abbott go, the former of which went early and was a really good option for the latter stages of a game we were chasing.

    We are getting to the point now where loan signings are going to have to make a huge impact. If the board had sanctioned the signings in January it might have been better. I read somewhere that Powell wanted a young, fast, centre half and a creative midfielder. Here we are in March and we still, obviously, need those two players. We have played 8 games since Powell came in and if either of those players had played four of those games we might be in a much better position.

    Basically Powell is being asked to achieve success with the same players that Parkinson signed without the vision and plans that Parkinson had for them when he signed them. If the board had decided to back up the first four games with some real quality then we might still be chasing for the automatics. Instead it looks like we are going to have to find a way to achieve success with little or no improvements in the squad with a manager with significantly less experience of this division than the one that couldn't do so. We should remember that Parkinson built a side from scratch at Colchester that won promotion from this division. Maybe he was lucky, but in all honesty we have been flirting with the top four with a free or cheap squad for most of this season.

    Big screens and cheap tickets are all well and good, but at the end of the day people have got to be willing to pay money to watch the football, and right now I don’t want to watch it if it's free
  • Well time will tell masicat. If we achieve anything less than failure in the playoffs after CP has the same amount of time that PP was given then I'll readjust my view.
  • Interesting article with some nice aliteration in the title.

    Shame that some of the comments are going back over same old ground of last season although as the article does refer in some depth to that time it's to be expected.

    Personally I found the analysis of this current team more relevant.

    Our home games are not just attractive to opponents because they are coming to a decent arena. First and foremost they are looking forward to it because they know they’re going to face a team that can be got at. We need to become the team that others don’t want to play, not lick their lips ahead of it.

    That, for me is the crux of the matter. I still believe that we have, by division 3 levels, talented footballers in this squad. We do not, or at least not often enough, have an effective TEAM. We have relied on individual pieces of skill or expect our fast players to outrun their full backs and goals to somehow appear because of it. Other teams and their coaches have worked that out and know that if they hold out long enough they will be given a chance or three by our defence.

    The nine men who played against Swindon and the ten v Orient did not lack spirit or graft so it is not as simple as saying that they are "no good" or "gutless".
  • edited March 2011
    we were leaking goals and the fortunate injury that led to randolph going in goal for the last 9.5 league games letting in just 4 goals was a big bonus
    if parky had half a brain this would have happened earlier and we wouldn't be sloshing about in this mess
    and his failure to recognise who was our best keeper has led to the poor position we are in keeper wise
  • Bring on a bit of failure like that this season. 10 minutes away from Wembley, i would settle for that. Every performance where we don't win hurts. So if we don't get to the play off final, Rodney, and win it are you going to come on here and say Chris Powell failed?
  • Why should he succeed, because we like him? Noobody has a divine right to be a success. We needed experience if we were going to part company with PP. We were unbeaten away from home in 4 months, and that included some big games. The Wallsall home game cost PP his job, it was a awful. But, in 8 games under Powell, we should have lost 7, doesn't bode well.
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  • Isn't one of the problems that at this level the individual players do not make that much of a difference - but it is how they add together as a team, the tactics they employ and their motivation that really makes the difference. It is interesting how getting all the "team" factors right is often the difference between success and mediocrity. I suspect Charlton is not too badly off in terms of individual players and where we have failed is on the "team" factors ever sine the arrival of Dowie - and if they are to be fixed it will be a long rather than a short term project which will involve the changing of a lot of bad habits.
  • [cite]Posted By: dickplumb[/cite] So if we don't get to the play off final, Rodney, and win it are you going to come on here and say Chris Powell failed?

    don't be a plum you dick , judge powell at the end of next season
  • [cite]Posted By: AFKABartram[/cite]Formations are being tinkered with, players are being played out of position, we look defensively frail as a unit and the desire to include Ecclestone somewhere in the side provides further imbalance.

    I'm OK with a lot of what you say, but why do you see the inclusion of Ecclestone as a problem?
  • edited March 2011
    Nope read my post properly dickplum
  • [cite]Posted By: oohaahmortimer[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: dickplumb[/cite]So if we don't get to the play off final, Rodney, and win it are you going to come on here and say Chris Powell failed?

    don't be a plum you dick , judge powell at the end of next season

    Personal insult,how clever of you Ooohaah. Must have taken you a long time to rearrange those words plum er dick, well done. Are we going to see you on the Comedy circuit anytime soon?
  • dont be so touchy dick

    the point being powell needs to the end of next season to be properly judged
  • I felt sorry for Parkinson as ever since the takeover was confirmed the team did not win, that isn't just the football manager's fault but often when a company is involved in a takeover the employees feel unsettled and their work suffers, football is no different. However at the Swindon game PP looked a beaten man and the Board made the right decision.

    Any good team at any level is built around the spine of the team GK, 2CD, 2CM and a striker and we don't have a strong spine nor has CP, or the Board done much to improve it except for the purchase of BWP. Without that strong spine the team will not achieve promotion and I doubt if a couple of loan signings will make enough difference. The team must be strengthened in these areas and it can't be done until the summer but it would be nice if the current team played with a bit more cohesion and guts which might, just might, sneak us into the playoffs.
  • edited March 2011
    [cite]Posted By: Dave Rudd[/cite]
    I'm OK with a lot of what you say, but why do you see the inclusion of Ecclestone as a problem?

    Because (to me), his natural position appears to be that of a 2nd striker. But we saw 1st hand that his partnership with BWP had no gel to it as BWP won't / can't play the role he needs to play off, and BWP is rightly picking himself at the minute.

    So he is being played wide, which isn't his natural game because in this league you need to do a hell of a lot defensively in those positions and that isn't his natural instinct. We then tweak the formation on paper so its meant to be a 433, but ultimately to me it leaves us exposed at right midfield. The knock on effort is Francis becoming exposed, and the impact it has on Semedo / Racon.

    The Semedo / Racon partnership has worked best and looked effective in the games they have Bailey / Jackson on left, and Sam / Wagstaff on right; relatively disciplined up and downers on one side, and another playing slightly more narrow on the other. Throw a defensively indiscipled Kyel Reid, Ecclestone or Martin into those slots and its no coincidence we then start getting stretched across the middle and Semdo and Racon lose their individual battles (i actually think like you we need to change the midfield combo, but i'm basing this on what i've seen over the last 18 months).

    I think Ecclestone is being consistently played because we have to justify the loan. I think he is going to be a good player, but like Martin i'm still not convinced what his best position is, and i'm not sure we've seen him playing in it.
  • Interesting posting, but for me it simplifies things too much by suggesting that what we need is a bunch of brave hearted guys who will never give in and if needed put their lives on the line. It is true that teams who are hard working and determined have consistently made things difficult for us this year, however the teams that were promoted last year, and look likely to be promoted this year are well coached to play good football with the addition of a hard working ethic. Our aim is to head back to the top, therefore I believe that CP has the right idea but the wrong players which makes this Summer so important.
  • [cite]Posted By: Henry Irving[/cite]The nine men who played against Swindon and the ten v Orient did not lack spirit or graft so it is not as simple as saying that they are "no good" or "gutless".

    Only 3 of the players who appeared in the 2-2 against Swindon are playing regularly for us now - Elliott, Semedo and Waggy (rest of the team was Llera, Basey, S Sodje, Omozusi, Bailey, Shelvey (Dickson), Spring, Burton, A Sodje (McKenzie)). Even the turnaround in players from last season has been massive.

    I don't think the current problems are due to lack of effort or even spirit at all. It's coherency as a team as you rightly say, Henry. Look at the highlights on the BBC website - numerous times one of their strikers drops deep just in behind Semedo and Racon then a simple ball between them slices us apart, then the huge gap between defence and midfield is quickly apparent as our back 4 keep back peddling and Semedo/Racon don't get back. I don't know enough about tactics to know what we should be doing in this situation but it seems to happen in most games to me.
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