Whilst lacking the disappointment of our Carling Cup capitulation mid-week, this weekend saw us lose yet another match where we had no answer to the opposition.
The first half, just like in the last few games, we played well, we pressured and we were even starting to frustrate united with our play. A dive in the dying seconds of the half and a well-taken penalty moments later saw us go into the dressing room 1-0 down despite what had been a decent, solid performance.
That was to be the end of our performance for the day though. We emerged after half time a completely different side and unfortunately for us, so did Man Utd. Whatever Sir Alex said to them in the dressing room had the desired effect and we were torn apart in the second half, admittedly helped by some of the most incompetent referring from Paul Scholes’ dad.
Not many of us expected to get anything from the game in terms of points but what I’m sure many of us were hoping for was a performance to lay the mid-week result to rest and focus on climbing the league. The first half gave us that performance but 45 minutes of ok football, followed by another 45 of absolutely dire play isn’t good enough.
As we’ve seen all too many times before, change for the sake of change is not the way to progress. Swapping managers whenever we have a dip in form is not the answer. However, I can’t help but feel that we need something to freshen us up, something needs to change. We are left with several options and I’ll outline my thoughts on them below.
More and more fans are calling for Jol to leave but that would set us back firmly at square one and can’t possibly be in the best interests of the club. We do however have the structure in place to bring in a new manager to work within our Director of Football system which could possible ease the transition between managers. There are choices out there if we were to go down that route, such as Seville’s manage who we’ve been rumoured to be interested in. There’s also the impressive Clive Allen who’s coming through our own managerial ranks who I imagine may be being groomed to eventually fill the WHL hotseat. I personally don’t believe this is the answer and Jol needs time to do his job.
This nicely brings me on to the next possibility.
Director Of Football
Whatever the spin we put on it, Comolli failed during the transfer window to do his job. His claims that we don’t require a left midfielder despite everyone knowing that’s what we’ve needed since Daveed moved on are beyond belief. This must just be PR spin after we realised there was little chance of securing anyone after missing out on Young. However, there are more and more rumours emerging about a rift between Jol and Comolli. The cause, Comolli’s inability to fill the positions that Jol believes we need to strengthen whilst at the same time paying what’s beginning to appear to be an extortionate amount for the disappointing Zokora. Is it time that Jol was left to do the whole job? As it’s Jol’s head that’s on the line if results don’t go our way, it is beginning to make sense that he should be able to bring in the players he feels he needs and not be forced to play players who he has no interest in.
With the closure of the transfer window there’s now obviously no chance to make any large personnel changes but we do have a lot of young, unproven players who it might be worth throwing in the deep end. Pekhart, O’Hara, Barnard et al are certainly young enough and eager enough to be in consideration. This would be one last throw of the dice by Jol but have we reached this stage yet? I’d like to see these players slowly brought into the team, not all at once by any means but bringing on Barnard or Pekhart would make much more sense then persisting with Keane/Defoe up front when Berbatov and Mido are unavailable.
More rumours, these ones denied by the club, are surfacing the Paul Kemsley, Levy’s right hand man, is looking to launch a takeover bid of the club. If these rumours are true, this could be just what we need. Kemsley is seen as a non-nonsense, maybe even arrogant figure but it could very well be this sort of shake up that we so badly need. From the top down there is something wrong with the club, through the ticket office, the stadium, the management and the team. An internal takeover of this nature would minimise unnecessary disruption and allow Kemsley to address the real problems that the club faces.
Jol Out? Comolli Out? Levy Out? Give the kids a chance? Where we go from here is unclear but we’re all certainly hoping that the only way is up.