Date: 26th September 2019 at 7:07pm
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This started as a forum post, but it became war and peace, so I thought I would front page it!

So, I’ve been rebuked because I’m not happy clapping at the moment. I don’t feel things have been ‘right’ and for some, including my very good buddy Deano, some have read into that I mean the team spirit/dressing room has problems. I cannot for the life of me see why what I’m saying has been interpreted that way.

I’m not happy clapping, but I’m also not all doom. I’m just realistic. This league doesn’t wait for you to catch up on fitness, or to learn, or gel, it carries on without you.

The only thing I’ve commented on in that respect is the flashpoint between El Ghazi and Mings. I said I want to see players fighting FOR each other, not fighting each other, that isn’t any good for team unity. But it was a tiny (we hope) flashpoint and looks like it was dealt with very quickly. I don’t mind seeing passion and I do want to see players who look like they give a damn, unlike the couldn’t-care-less dross we’ve seen for way too many years.

I’ve heard nothing and I’ve not said anything at all about things not being right in the squad/changing room.

I’ve also pointed out positives and even in the Arsenal thread when they were down to ten men, although we should have held on, I did point out they have 10 VERY expensive and experienced players.

But my opinions are balanced as far as I am concerned and actually, I’ve said nothing that Mings and McGinn (after match interview, can’t recall where and can’t find the link) haven’t after a second poor performance v 10 men. They questioned fitness and mentality.

It is ok to question things without being a doom monger. We are a few wins away from being fine, we are a few more losses away from not being fine. That’s football and this league is unforgiving.

People are saying our defence looks solid, based on what? Because in the next breath the same are saying it is just silly mistakes. Well, if we are making silly mistakes in defence, then it doesn’t look solid. It has the potential to be solid, if they can stop the silly mistakes. Will they? I don’t know, I’d hope and imagine so.

That’s not unreasonable is it? That’s not slagging them off? I like Mings a hell of a lot, if we’d not got up, we’d not have kept him and that would have saddened me! #mancrush! And Engles looks a great buy. But I am quite, quite sure they aren’t patting themselves on the back saying how solid they have been, nor will JT be doing that.

I don’t think things are right. That annoys my erstwhile colleague Deano, but I guess I can’t help how he’s interpreted that, but I can explain.

We haven’t been fit enough, our stamina (as ironside says in the Arsenal thread) hasn’t been there and we’ve faded on 70 odd mins. The other teams haven’t, so we need to get up to speed and damn quick. The good thing about that is it will happen.

Now, for me, starting the season with just one new striker looked a risk. I wasn’t alone in that. He might be the best thing ever once settled, we have no way of knowing, he hasn’t got experience at this level. Some of you have ripped him apart to be fair, I haven’t, he needs time… but in this league, tick tock, tick tock. I like the fact in his two goals he’s moved to the ball, not done what so many of our strikers have done over the years and waiting for the ball to come to them. That shows promise. He has also, at times, looked slow and hasn’t held the ball up brilliantly. It was a gamble, was it not, to get just one striker in?

Yes, we have Kodjia. Will he ever be the player he was before his serious ankle injuries? *Shrugs*. So there is your next gamble. Can he light up the Prem? Maybe he can, he has skills no doubt, quite often in bursts but then, that’s ok. But he also looks devoid of luck, just as he gets back to fitness, he has a freak injury and breaks his cheekbone.

Then we have a youngster in Keinan who for me, (not just for me, he didn’t hold down his place when given a chance, so for the managers as well) he didn’t light up the Championship, so can we really put our faith in him that he will the Premier League? He might become a great player, I hope he does, but he is the same age as Tammy Abraham (21) and look at the difference.

Anything happens to Wesley, what then? It was a gamble that Dean Smith did mention, saying we have enough goals from midfield. He might well be proven right, it is nice to think that our midfielders do now have goals in them, goodness knows we had about ten (or more?) seasons where there were no goals from pretty much anywhere! lol

And then we have the squad. I haven’t waxed lyrical OR slated the new signings because I have been honest, I don’t know them and I don’t judge players by youtube. I have read about them, I have hopes for them, but none (Heaton aside and what a great signing) have Premier League experience. Sorry, that to me is folly. It might prove to be great, but it is/was a gamble and 4 points in 18 shows we haven’t hit the ground running. That isn’t doom, that is fact.

Would it have been that unreasonable to get some Prem experience in the mix?

The Club can’t really help the fact that we have had to rip the Champ side apart and start afresh, but a bit of experience would have helped. Man City when they started spending big with new owners concentrated on Prem experience AND THEN they branched out to the world-class foreign players.

I think our plan is to buy players with sell on values. Ok, I get that. But one can question lightly, why? What is the plan of the owners? To get to the top of the league? To win things? To get towards the top and be sustainable? Dunno, excited to find out, I’ve been lucky enough to meet them, meet the ceo, meet new staff and I like them. But I liked Randy et al, I liked wasn’t anti some under the awful Xia lot either. In other words, we have our hopes and dreams, but only time will tell. I am sure, like Randy before him (Xia purposely left out) they have great intentions. They nor us know if they will end up fruitful or not. Edens record in the States suggests great promise.

The manager? I’d have moved heaven and earth for Brendan Rodgers as I said at the time. With our sort of money, I think we could have got his ilk and showed intention. However, I like Smith, I like the fact, albeit it isn’t the be-all and end-all, that he is Villa. But he’s on a learning curve also, same as players. How long in this league do you get to learn? Not long, it is unforgiving and it doesn’t take much to scupper a season. It was him turning things around, after a turgid time, and the 10 win run that got us in with the chance of promotion. I’m realistic this season, not ultra positive, because at the end of the day, we were 5th last year, it isn’t as if we walked the league and have a sense of entitlement. Even those who did walk the league don’t have that.

Yes, we’ve had some bad luck ref wise, but then other teams have, even against us, the West Ham second yellow/sending off was never a red.

SO.

I didn’t expect anything from Spurs or Arsenal, so as per my comments in the threads, I could hardly get angry when we got nothing. The hope does kill and we had great hope during the Arsenal game. I think we went on the back foot, wrongly and invited them on. You never invite quality like that on. Some said they were dirty, look at their card tally. I wouldn’t be that bothered if our team got a bit more stuck in and got dirty as well. We are fighting for dear life this year to stay up, in order to – we hope – consolidate and start building.

The next three games are absolutely crucial are they not? 2 wins and a draw, or 3 wins. All will be fine, as we then get to games that I don’t even see as a free hit, Liverpool and Man City are a different league to all other clubs at the moment in my humble, which is part of the reason I’m no longer a big fan of the Prem League, the league I know we HAVE to be in.

There is no reason why we can’t beat Burnley, Norwich and B&HA. It is a tough league though, there is no reason why they can’t beat us.

Imagine how 3 wins would set us up! Then, things will start to look a bit more ‘right’. They need to look at these as three Cup Finals, because if you look at our fixtures after that, they are extremely tough (although Wolves and Newcastle are also within that run and we can get points there)

We need to get some points on the board before the tough games. If not, although we’ll try, we might need to wait until Dec 14th v Sheff Utd, then Saints, Norwich, Watford, Burnley to get a run of results again.

Oh and it would remiss of me not to mention my book! You can see all the details, how to buy and the reviews at: https://thefear.net/ and on Amazon (if you don’t have Prime, it is cheaper to buy from me directly and means I can donate more to the AVFC Foundation: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fear-Conquers-All-mission-inspire/dp/1527244393 and reviews there: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fear-Conquers-All-mission-inspire/product-reviews

 
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