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JayT
30-11-2005, 06:33 AM
Clubs relegated from the Premiership like to think of themselves as among the front runners for promotion. However, as this season's experiences of Crystal Palace, Norwich and Harry Redknapp's Southampton show, there are no guarantees. By Paul Newman

Darren Huckerby is not complaining, but as the Norwich City winger treads gingerly in bare feet around the club's training complex he appears to be feeling more than his 29 years.

"I never feel 100 per cent," he admitted. "You're playing every three days in this division and that's tough. You don't get much time for training. You play a game, recover from it and then the next game's upon you. In the Premier League we sometimes wouldn't play for two weeks or more.

"Your body just doesn't recover fully. It's OK if you're 20 years old, but once you get to 25 or so you start to feel it. One of the reasons we've struggled this season is that so many of us have been carrying knocks. You just don't get a rest between games."

While Huckerby's team have fared the worst of the three clubs relegated from the Premiership in the summer, Crystal Palace and Southampton have also found it tough. Norwich, who failed to win any of their first six matches, have not won two successive League games all season and lie 16th. Southampton, having won five of their 20 Championship matches, are 12th. Ninth-placed Palace, despite a recent run of six wins in nine matches, are 20 and 16 points respectively behind the clubs in the automatic promotion places, Reading and Sheffield United.

The Championship's physical demands have quickly taken their toll on teams which had happily adjusted to a 38-match Premiership season. Norwich have completed 21 of their 46 League games; at this stage last year they had played 15.

"The sheer volume of games is the major thing that separates this division from the Premiership," Iain Dowie, Palace's manager, said yesterday. "I like to be well prepared for matches, but it's very difficult to do that when you're playing game after game after game. Last week we played on the Sunday against Brighton and on the Tuesday against Coventry. If you spoke to anyone else in the world of sport about that they'd ask if you were mad."

Norwich's Nigel Worthington agrees. "The number of games is relentless, though it's obviously the same for every club," he said. "I think it's unfair on both players and paying supporters. Clubs have smaller squads these days and you're having to turn to the same group of players week in and week out. There's only so much that the body can take."

In the previous three seasons West Bromwich Albion were the only club to win promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt. All too often relegation from the Premiership has led to financial calamity and wholesale departures, although this summer, ironically, there were signs that clubs were learning to prepare properly for demotion. Many Premiership contracts now have pay cuts triggered by relegation - some of Southampton's players have 50 per cent less in their pay packets this season - while the £8m annual parachute payments made to relegated clubs for two years helps to ease the burden.

Not that relegation comes without a cost. Norwich have debts of £18m, while Simon Jordan, the Palace chairman, said recently that he had put £32m into the club over five years (when asked for his net football wage by the Football Association, pending a disciplinary hearing into comments he had made about referees, Jordan said "minus £127,000 a week").

Southampton, relegated after 27 unbroken years in the top flight, suffered the most upheaval in the summer. Peter Crouch and Kevin Phillips, the first-choice strikers, headed a long list of departures, while continuing speculation over Harry Redknapp's future as manager and his relationship with the club's performance director Sir Clive Woodward may not have helped their cause.

Palace and Norwich, however, kept stronger squads than their fans may have dared to hope. Both retained most of their Premiership players and in particular hung on to their key strikers, Andy Johnson (who even signed an extended contract at Selhurst Park) and Dean Ashton. There were departures, but both clubs brought in fresh blood, with Palace spending nearly £2m on two Premiership forwards, Clinton Morrison and Jon Macken.

"I keep waiting for Norwich to climb the table," Redknapp said. " They kept their players and I thought they had a great chance. Palace also kept Johnson and I was the only manager of the three to ship out. I lost 13 players. Six of them would walk into the team now and we would have walked away with this league if I had kept them. Imagine if we still had Crouch and Phillips up front, because we are lacking a natural goalscorer."

Some would argue that being forced to rebuild can be a blessing in disguise. Jason McAteer, now playing in League One with Tranmere, recalls relegation under Brian Kidd at Blackburn. "He's one of the best coaches but the mistake he made was he then tried to get promoted with Premier League players," McAteer said. "You need Championship players to get you out of the Championship. I struggle in our division at times. I find it hard to adapt, to just kick it out, because I'm looking for a pass all the time."

This season's relegated trio all remain committed to trying to play their way back. "We have a formula that's worked well over the last few years, " Worthington said. "Now that things haven't gone as well it's been only natural that we've looked at the way we do things and wondered if we should make changes, but I think it's important that we stick to the methods that have served us well in the past."

Dowie, who admits that it could be difficult to keep the likes of Johnson if Palace fail to return to the Premiership at the first attempt, is refusing to look to short-term fixes, even after games like last week's emphatic 2-0 defeat at Luton, where his England Under-21 central midfield pairing of Ben Watson and Tom Soares was given the runaround by more experienced opponents.

"I'm a big believer in investing in youth," Dowie said. " This is a long-term job and I'll build for the future at all costs. Watson and Soares didn't play well on Saturday, but it's a massive learning curve for them.

"It may sound difficult, but it was a good thing for them to experience defeat like that. It will be another building block for them as they build towards being top players."

What the relegated clubs have all had to recognise is that the Championship is much more physical and offers no easy games. Millwall and Brighton proved that by winning away to Wolves and Palace respectively from bottom place in the table.

"It's a very honest division, with a fantastic array of players who are prepared to run through brick walls and unless you match that you can get caught out," Dowie said. "The Premiership gives you tactical problems. This division gives you much more physical problems, through both the number of games and the way teams play."

While Dowie does not accept that his players are more suited to Premiership football, Worthington concedes that it has taken time for his players to adapt.

"The football is more hurly-burly, more rough-and-ready," he said. "We have a group of good footballers who enjoyed their time in the Premiership. In this division you need battlers as well as good footballers, people who are going to compete game in and game out."

Worthington believes the Championship places particular physical demands on defenders, who are given no time on the ball because of the hard work of forwards.

Craig Short, who dropped out of the Premiership to join Sheffield United in the summer, agrees. "As a centre-half playing in the Premier League, if the right-back for Chelsea or Manchester United gets the ball he's not going to launch it and stick it over my head for two centre-forwards to chase," Short said. "He'll pass it or keep it, so that's when you get your rest. In this division it's more end to end."

Redknapp insists there is still plenty of time for teams to make a promotion charge and the relegated clubs can take heart from recent history. West Ham went up last season despite losing 15 matches, while Palace won promotion in the previous campaign having been 20th on Boxing Day. "Anybody who's capable of putting a run together knows that anything can happen," Worthington said. "We just have to keep working at it."

How clubs relegated from the Premiership have fared in the following season

2001-02 Season/Now *

Man City 1st (P) 8th (Prem)

Coventry 11th 21st

Bradford 15th 14th (Lge 1)

2002-03

Ipswich 7th 15th

Derby 18th 17th

Leicester 2nd (P) 14th

2003-04

W Ham 4th 9th (Prem)

WBA 2nd (P) 17th (Prem)

Sun'd 3rd 20th (Prem)

2004-05

Leicester 15th 14th

Leeds 14th 4th

Wolves 9th 9th

2005-06

Palace n/a 8th

Norwich n/a 16th

So'ton n/a 12th

http://sport.independent.co.uk/football/coca_cola/article330159.ece

ebyeeckeagle
30-11-2005, 09:18 AM
"In the previous three seasons West Bromwich Albion were the only club to win promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt"

Hadn't realised that. Interesting article.

bern5161
30-11-2005, 09:28 AM
Out of the three clubs that went down last year I think we have the best chance of promotion but that's not saying much. Even ID didn't sound too hopeful in this thought provoking article.

Scoot
30-11-2005, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by JayT
[b]where his England Under-21 central midfield pairing of Ben Watson and Tom Soares was given the runaround by more experienced opponents.

"I'm a big believer in investing in youth," Dowie said. " This is a long-term job and I'll build for the future at all costs. Watson and Soares didn't play well on Saturday, but it's a massive learning curve for them.

"It may sound difficult, but it was a good thing for them to experience defeat like that. It will be another building block for them as they build towards being top players."


Cannot argue with that IMVHO

krackers
30-11-2005, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Scoot
Cannot argue with that IMVHO

would be nice if people like gonzo could see things in this light a little more....am sure raddars would agree

917L
30-11-2005, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by Scoot
Cannot argue with that IMVHO

So according to IDs comments he's just going to keep playing Soares and Watson no matter how badly they play(repeatedly) It appears he is more interested in their personal development than the best interests of the team on the pitch.

Building for the futurte is great but its not supposed to be at the expense of the present.

Scoot
30-11-2005, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by 917L
So according to IDs comments he's just going to keep playing Soares and Watson no matter how badly they play(repeatedly) It appears he is more interested in their personal development than the best interests of the team on the pitch.

Building for the futurte is great but its not supposed to be at the expense of the present.

Yes but you could argue that he is doing it for the development of the club. Why bring in an experienced player on stupid wages and these two potential England players rot in the reserves cos a few fans believe that we should be a big club.
So we don't go up this year but next year we have one hell of a midfield pairing especially if they do learn and start to play consistantly as they did against Liverpool.

Watson was a saviour last year after Villa ... now he appears to be a villian.
Just a thought ................

917L
30-11-2005, 09:48 AM
Originally posted by Scoot
. Why bring in an experienced player on stupid wages and these two potential England players rot in the reserves cos a few fans believe that we should be a big club.
Watson was a saviour last year after Villa ... now he appears to be a villian.
Just a thought ................


Perhaps he shouldnt have sold Derry?

An experienced player needent be on stupid wages.

Watson and Soares playing for England?(full team) dont make me laugh, on their form for the majority of this season they wouldnt get in Br*htons side.

Watson our savior? I dont think so.

Freddy Kurz
30-11-2005, 09:49 AM
With all this evidence of the difficulties experienced by teams relegated
from the Premier League in trying to bounce back the following season,
how did Simon Jordan conclude that Palace would achieve promotion
as Champions this season?

JayT
30-11-2005, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Scoot
Yes but you could argue that he is doing it for the development of the club. Why bring in an experienced player on stupid wages and these two potential England players rot in the reserves cos a few fans believe that we should be a big club.
So we don't go up this year but next year we have one hell of a midfield pairing especially if they do learn and start to play consistantly as they did against Liverpool.

Watson was a saviour last year after Villa ... now he appears to be a villian.
Just a thought ................

Last year Watson thrived in a 5 man midfield, where his defensive duties can be neglected. He'll never have the greatest defensive attributes, I think we can all see that from watching him play. If he is to play with Soares, then it's Soares that will have to develop defensively - he'll be the box to box attacker and defender.

I can see what Dowie wants to do. I still think you need to play experience with youth though - everytime experience has started in the middle, we've played poorly.

JayT
30-11-2005, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by Freddy Kurz
With all this evidence of the difficulties experienced by teams relegated
from the Premier League in trying to bounce back the following season,
how did Simon Jordan conclude that Palace would achieve promotion
as Champions this season?

Because he was speaking as many passionate fans have?

Mackenuff
30-11-2005, 09:56 AM
The whole article is simply proof that some people around here have expectations that are above and beyond the realms of reality.

GreatGonzo
30-11-2005, 09:59 AM
Originally posted by ebyeeckeagle
"In the previous three seasons West Bromwich Albion were the only club to win promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt"

Hadn't realised that. Interesting article.

They were also the only ones as far as i can work out who kept their squad together.

Most clubs on relegation see a large number of regular players move on. Norwich are doing poorly as it was Saints who had the biggest problem there, Of the 3 clubs relegated last season we were the ones who not only kept the squad together but also spent money in the closed season. The last club i remember doing both those things was - West Brom.

It is also interesting seeing Huckerbys comments about the number of games and the lack of time to recover. Surely as we have one of the biggest squads in the division we should be coping with this better than most?

bern5161
30-11-2005, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by 917L
So according to IDs comments he's just going to keep playing Soares and Watson no matter how badly they play(repeatedly) It appears he is more interested in their personal development than the best interests of the team on the pitch.

Building for the futurte is great but its not supposed to be at the expense of the present.

Typical BBS post:confused: . ID did not say "he's just going to keep playing Soares and Watson no matter how badly they play". He does not appear "more interested in their personal development than the best interests of the team"

Why is it that even when something is written in black and white in front of a BBS face, some of them can still read the exact opposite of what is written.:confused:

Freddy Kurz
30-11-2005, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by JayT
Because he was speaking as many passionate fans have?

You are probably right, but it was noticeable that Iain Dowie, the man
who has to deal with realities made no such a prediction. It is, surely
a mistake for the Chairman of a club however passionate a supporter,
to raise fans' aspirations unrealistically, simply because if these fail to speedily materialise, they become transformed into impatience,
discontent and finally disillusionment.
Most of the more experienced and consistently successful leaders of
football clubs prefer to keep their hopes and expectations to them-
selves and let their players do their talking for them. Above all they
have understood the importance of not putting undue public pressure
on managers and players by making unrealistic predictions.

Scoot
30-11-2005, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo
They were also the only ones as far as i can work out who kept their squad together.

If memory serves they also managed to kick thier way out of the league in the first place and thus were ideally suited for the rough and tumble of the cc.

With regards to Watson, young 917L, I never originated him being a saviour moreover many on here did. Watson and Soares are both suited to a less physical, passing style of football ala The Premiership and yes the fact that they are/have been looked at for u21 level must indicate that they have something.

You may not like them, and to be honest I could not give a monkeys but I have been watching Palace a long time and these boys have enourmous potential and I beleive will prove to be the best midfield pairing since Thomas and Gray.

LP
30-11-2005, 10:11 AM
In their haste to reduce the number of games Premiership teams play and free up time for the Champions League etc the powers that be have effectively created a 2nd tier consisting of too many games. I don't think it's in the interests of the players or the clubs. What you end up with is a situation where a team like Sunderland win the physical battle to get promoted, but are woefully inequipt when they get there.

AndyStreet
30-11-2005, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by 917L
Perhaps he shouldnt have sold Derry?

I actually agree with this, but Shaun was hardly ever appreciated at Palace anyway. The number of 'never passes the ball forward' comments I saw on the BBS was often very frustrating. I do wish we still had him in the squad personally.

GreatGonzo
30-11-2005, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by Scoot
If memory serves they also managed to kick thier way out of the league in the first place and thus were ideally suited for the rough and tumble of the cc.

Indeed they did play a style of football more suited to the CCC which helped as well.

My point was simply that while many take the article as an explanation for why we are doing so poorly and constantly compare us to Norwich and Saints that there are some fundamental differences. Of the 3 teams IMO the team who is doing worst Vs expectation is probably Norwich, with Saints doing a reasonable job under the circumstances and we are somewhere in between.

If we were playing well and looked like we were actually trying and things just weren't going our way then our position would be understood. The fact is very few Palace fans have thought we have played anywhere near our potential in any league games this season.

GreatGonzo
30-11-2005, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by AndyStreet
I actually agree with this, but Shaun was hardly ever appreciated at Palace anyway. The number of 'never passes the ball forward' comments I saw on the BBS was often very frustrating. I do wish we still had him in the squad personally.

Derry wasn't as good a passer as Ben, and he wasn't as good a tackler as Hughes or Aki.

What he did have was a better combination of the 2 than anyone at the club and that is what we really lack.

AndyStreet
30-11-2005, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo
Indeed they did play a style of football more suited to the CCC which helped as well.

My point was simply that while many take the article as an explanation for why we are doing so poorly and constantly compare us to Norwich and Saints that there are some fundamental differences. Of the 3 teams IMO the team who is doing worst Vs expectation is probably Norwich, with Saints doing a reasonable job under the circumstances and we are somewhere in between.

If we were playing well and looked like we were actually trying and things just weren't going our way then our position would be understood. The fact is very few Palace fans have thought we have played anywhere near our potential in any league games this season.

We have not been trail-blazing in this league because we've been trying to play the sort of football that would hold us in good stead were we to be promoted back up to the Premiership. You only have to look at the Liverpool game to see that we are capable of playing decent passing football when playing against teams who are your typical Championship kick-em-up-in-the-air outfits.

Many of our fans would perhaps like to see us in Sheffield United's position - certainly I wouldn't mind being top of the league - but if it was playing their brand of football I would be distinctly unimpressed because it will get them absolutely nowhere should they be promoted at the end of the season. Somebody already refered to Sunderland on this thread, and rightly so. They pissed on the Championship because they were physically up for it, but once they arrived in the Premiership they have been cannon-fodder, could well outdo their record low of 19 points and are already getting ready for a return to the Championship before Christmas has even come. What I am saying here is that I would rather we have a spluttering ascent back up, even if it takes two seasons, in the manner that West Ham did whilst trying to play the sort of football that will keep us in the Premiership should we get there. It's incredibly frustrating for the fans to have to see us beaten by Luton twice and various other clogging outfits, and incredibly difficult trying to play a decent brand of football against some of these teams, but sometimes the bigger picture has to be looked at and it's not easy to beat such outfits without descending to their level.

bern5161
30-11-2005, 10:23 AM
You can't criticise the chairman for wanting to return straight to the premiership after relegation. How much pressure that puts on the manager is irrelevant. SJ has invested his time and money in the club and has a right to set goals for his staff. Dowie does the same for people working beneath him. Whether those "goals" are attainable or realistic is a matter for discussion amongst everyone who supports the club. The consequences of not achieving those "goals" are a matter for discussion between the chairman and his staff. The proof of the chairman's ambition is shown in his signing AJ to a new contract, buying Macken and Clinton and maintaining the strongest squad in the division. He has invested heavily in ID. Now ID has to justify that investment.

GreatGonzo
30-11-2005, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by AndyStreet
We have not been trail-blazing in this league because we've been trying to play the sort of football that would hold us in good stead were we to be promoted back up to the Premiership. You only have to look at the Liverpool game to see that we are capable of playing decent passing football when playing against teams who are your typical Championship kick-em-up-in-the-air outfits.

Many of our fans would perhaps like to see us in Sheffield United's position - certainly I wouldn't mind being top of the league - but if it was playing their brand of football I would be distinctly unimpressed because it will get them absolutely nowhere should they be promoted at the end of the season. Somebody already referred to Sunderland on this thread, and rightly so. They pissed on the Championship because they were physically up for it, but once they arrived in the Premiership they have been cannon-fodder, could well outdo their record low of 19 points and are already getting ready for a return to the Championship before Christmas has even come. What I am saying here is that I would rather we have a spluttering ascent back up, even if it takes two seasons, in the manner that West Ham did whilst trying to play the sort of football that will keep us in the Premiership should we get there. It's incredibly frustrating for the fans to have to see us beaten by Luton twice and various other clogging outfits, and incredibly difficult trying to play a decent brand of football against some of these teams, but sometimes the bigger picture has to be looked at and it's not easy to beat such outfits without descending to their level.

I agree with you about the style of football issue but for me that is not the issue.

The 2 things that do annoy me at present are the passion and application of the players which seems non-existent, we do not compete in a lot of games (still necessary in the prem) and are playing with no passion at all.

The second being the suspect team selections and substitutions which were apparent last year in the premiership and are still there this season. I think if these 2 were sorted out even a brand of premiership football would be enough to take us up. Look at Reading for example, they are far from a clogging team, they play nice football.

ebyeeckeagle
30-11-2005, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo
They were also the only ones as far as i can work out who kept their squad together.
....?

I would have thought Wolves did too? And have Norwich shipped any out?

Your general point is correct, but I still suspect the difference in the game catches teams on the hop.

I think it is interesting that West Ham, who were really shite last year and barely made the play-offs, seem happier at Prem level ( I can see them sinking near the bottom as the seasons goes on mind). Yet Sunderland are the opposite. It's not as if the Hampsters spent much money.

EDIT - it would be interesting, if Andy and others hadn't said the same thing before me - and better :clown:

GreatGonzo
30-11-2005, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by ebyeeckeagle
I would have thought Wolves did too? And have Norwich shipped any out?

Francis 32 apps (7 goals)
Muryne 10 apps
Edworthy 28 apps
Helveg 20 apps
Holt 27 apps
Svennson 22 apps
Bentley 26 apps

We lost Powell, Lakis, Wayne, Shipperley, Kollka, Sorrondo, Ventola who played a total of 109 apps 38 of them by Wayne who most wanted to see leave anyway! :eek:

6 of the players that left Norwich played 20 or more league games, compared to 3 of ours (and Sorrondo was only 20)

As i say i think Norwich are underperforming too but their upheaval was far greater.

Wolves you are right did similar and had a season like we are - they changed manager mid season.

AndyStreet
30-11-2005, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo
I agree with you about the style of football issue but for me that is not the issue.

The 2 things that do annoy me at present are the passion and application of the players which seems non-existent, we do not compete in a lot of games (still necessary in the prem) and are playing with no passion at all.

The second being the suspect team selections and substitutions which were apparent last year in the premiership and are still there this season. I think if these 2 were sorted out even a brand of premiership football would be enough to take us up. Look at Reading for example, they are far from a clogging team, they play nice football.

I would say that trying to motivate a team with recent experience of playing against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to play to their optimum abilities against the likes of Crewe, Luton and Brighton has got to be one of the toughest tasks that any football manager could be faced with. On some occasions this season Iain seems to have failed in that respect, but there have been other occasions where we've done well.

As for team selection, of late the team has practically picked itself because of injuries. I'm sure Dowie would have liked to have had a fit AJ, Macken, Leigertwood, Granville, Aki, Butterfield etc for the last few months but unfortunately we haven't. It's only because of these injuries that we've had to resort to playing the likes of Wayne Andrews and lumping Hudson up front for the last few minutes when chasing a late goal. I'm fully aware people will use the example of the Valley from last season, but the fact is that in that situation all we had open to us at that late stage was getting the ball forward in the air as quickly as possible. But I digress. I think the true time to start judging Dowie's managerial achievements this season will be from the New Year onwards when hopefully we should have a squad with fewer injuries hopefully.

Cleon
30-11-2005, 11:12 AM
Interest article that hopefully should wake a few people up. I was interested in McAteers comment about Championship players needed to win the Championship. We are not doing all that badly, especially when you consider the loss of AJ for the last two months. Hopefully, if we stay relatively free of injuries now we will see a continuing improvement in form over the Christmas crunch and into the New Year.

ebyeeckeagle
30-11-2005, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo
...as i say i think Norwich are underperforming too but their upheaval was far greater...........................................
Wolves did similar and had a season like we are - they changed manager mid season.

Hardly think your stats suggest Norwich have had a 'far' greater upheaval than us. And Wolves swapping managers - hasn't really helped them has it?

Paulie Walnuts
30-11-2005, 11:56 AM
Although we have kept the majority of our squad we lost two huge players in Sorondo and Routledge. Hall actually looked a premiership player when he played with Gonzalo, and Wayne, love him or hate him, was our creative spark. If we get a result up at Boro tonight it'll be an interesting scenario to ponder- are our players really better suited to Premiership football rather than the hussle and bussle of the Championship?

kolinkins
30-11-2005, 11:59 AM
I would say about 90% of BBSers underestimated Routledge’s importance to our team. He was a bigger loss to us than Crouch and Phillips were to Southampton.

Away Day Eagle
30-11-2005, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by GreatGonzo


The 2 things that do annoy me at present are the passion and application of the players which seems non-existent, we do not compete in a lot of games (still necessary in the prem) and are playing with no passion at all.


If this is resolved then I'm sure the rest will slot in just fine

Harry Holmesdale
30-11-2005, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by kolinkins
I would say about 90% of BBSers underestimated Routledge’s importance to our team. He was a bigger loss to us than Crouch and Phillips were to Southampton.

Definitely a massive loss, Jobi is a poor mans Routledge for sure

But more of a loss than those two were to Saints, steady on mate !

JayT
30-11-2005, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by kolinkins
I would say about 90% of BBSers underestimated Routledge’s importance to our team. He was a bigger loss to us than Crouch and Phillips were to Southampton.

I agree with this to an extent. The majority of our attacking play, during our promotion season and last season, came from Routledge's wing, whether that be the left or right. We played with pace and our counter attacking football was much better. We also managed to spread the ball about better as well.

It's amazing what happened when Jules Gray returned to the squad too.

A fully developed Routledge will be more than a threat - he'll be potent.

Richard
30-11-2005, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by kolinkins
I would say about 90% of BBSers underestimated Routledge’s importance to our team. He was a bigger loss to us than Crouch and Phillips were to Southampton. Completely agree, and I would also add Julian Gray despite his departure being 12 months earlier. I think that it was the strength of our wide players that contributed to our very impressive run up the table in 2004, just as much as AJ's ability.

limited_edition
30-11-2005, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by Richard
Completely agree, and I would also add Julian Gray despite his departure being 12 months earlier. I think that it was the strength of our wide players that contributed to our very impressive run up the table in 2004, just as much as AJ's ability.Absolutely. Good as they are, Reich and McAnuff aren't half as effective in this league as Gray and Routledge. Having a physical striker like Shipps upfront along with a nippy striker helps in this league, too. Just ask Neil Warnock. There isn't the balance in our side we had 2 years ago.

haggsy
02-12-2005, 04:23 PM
return match against Saints is on 25th Jan

Celestial Empire
02-12-2005, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by AndyStreet
As for team selection, of late the team has practically picked itself because of injuries. I'm sure Dowie would have liked to have had a fit AJ, Macken, Leigertwood, Granville, Aki, Butterfield etc for the last few months but unfortunately we haven't. It's only because of these injuries that we've had to resort to playing the likes of Wayne Andrews and lumping Hudson up front for the last few minutes when chasing a late goal. I'm fully aware people will use the example of the Valley from last season, but the fact is that in that situation all we had open to us at that late stage was getting the ball forward in the air as quickly as possible. But I digress. I think the true time to start judging Dowie's managerial achievements this season will be from the New Year onwards when hopefully we should have a squad with fewer injuries hopefully.

This is true, but it makes me wonder why Ryan Hall hasn't been given a chance, and why we have not made two or three short-term loans (preferably of experienced pros).

limited_edition
02-12-2005, 06:46 PM
Originally posted by AndyStreet
As for team selection, of late the team has practically picked itself because of injuries. I'm sure Dowie would have liked to have had a fit AJ, Macken, Leigertwood, Granville, Aki, Butterfield etc for the last few months but unfortunately we haven't. It's only because of these injuries that we've had to resort to playing the likes of Wayne Andrews and lumping Hudson up front for the last few minutes when chasing a late goal. I'm fully aware people will use the example of the Valley from last season, but the fact is that in that situation all we had open to us at that late stage was getting the ball forward in the air as quickly as possible. But I digress. I think the true time to start judging Dowie's managerial achievements this season will be from the New Year onwards when hopefully we should have a squad with fewer injuries hopefully. I'm sorry, it's not a one off. Dowie threw Hall upfront at home v Boro. Torghelle wasn't even on the bench. Away at Blackburn when chasing a late equaliser, Pops came off the bench, rather than Ships. As for the Valley, yep Powell came on. Then in the last min he made a sub that made even less sense than DP, with Aki coming on, when what we needed was another attacking sub - Ventola. None of these desperate tactics worked.

As for judging Dowie, well we've got a few more options available with the return to fitness of AJ, Macken (fingers, toes and everything else crossed his jinx doesn't strike again) and Leggy.

glaziers fan
02-12-2005, 07:09 PM
I think it's a huge balancing act trying to get the young players some more experience and yet win games, even in the CCC at the same time, especially as Watson and Soares have extremely limited experience of this division which is more rough and tumble.

The simple fact is that Watson and Soares are not consistent enough, even for the CCC but they will both be bloody good players, especially in the Premiership.

I think the key for us to get out of this division, however, is to blend the kids with experienced players. We are trying to blood too many kids in too many games.

There are 2 problems as I see it:

1) Left-back. We desperately miss Granville as GB is sadly not up to it, not experienced enough, and it is causing teams to pinpoint our weakness as down our left-hand side.

2) Too many youngsters in the heart of our midfield. I count Leigertwood as a youngster as well, so it means that in all seriousness one of Aki or Hughes should play every game.

I believe we have to adapt our game and be more physical. Watson should be sent to the weights room and in the meantime Soares should play with Hughes in the centre. Andrews and McAnuff as the wide men because they work hard and are not afraid to tackle.

The Vicar
02-12-2005, 07:15 PM
Originally posted by glaziers fan

I believe we have to adapt our game and be more physical. Watson should be sent to the weights room and in the meantime Soares should play with Hughes in the centre. Andrews and McAnuff as the wide men because they work hard and are not afraid to tackle.

It's a tough call in centre mid, but I think you are probably right. The only niggling issue is that neither Soares nor Hughes can do as good a job protecting the back 4 as Leigertwood or Aki (who of course is injured). Plan B might be for Leigertwood to play with Hughes.