Any formation/system must suit the players available.

Any formation/system must suit the players available.

Shortly after the home defeat to Millwall, who played an effective four-four-two formation, Blues boss Steve Cotterill made it clear that he did not feel that the same system would suit his Blues team. No problems with that as the manager he has the right to play the formation and tactics he wants to as he knows his players better than anyone else. 

In many ways I admire his doggedness and self-belief which confirmed how confident he was in his own ability.

However in my opinion it sums up perfectly how some modern day managers/coaches can at time over-think and over-complicate what is a simple game of “put it in one goal and keep it out of the other”. Yes I know that is a simplification but that is the objective of the game during the 90 minutes. What goes on between the two goals is usually just the opinion of the man in charge which he hopes will put the ball into one goal more often and keep it out of the other goal by at least one less. Of course that opinion is the most important because while we are down the pub playing fantasy football with our team selections he has to do it for real.

Let’s be fair about it Steve Cotterill knows more about coaching in the professional game than I ever will. He has more coaching badges than most people in the game and I understand he is an elite coach who coaches the coaches.

In my opinion one of the most important strengths of any manager or coach is getting the best out of every individual under their charge. That also means playing a way that suits them rather than forcing them into a formation and way of playing that they cannot do or at least are not comfortable with. The likeable Gian Franco Zola found out to his cost although it was hard to argue with how he wanted the team to play they were obviously not comfortable doing it.

Garry Monk arrived and played a four-four-two formation that is simple with every player knowing what is expected from him under that system. Now I don’t know if he did that because it is a system he prefers or because it was the easiest way to get two strikers up front.

That is not to say that he will always play that system and with a different set of players might change to a formation that suits that particular group of players.

Sean Dyche at Burnley plays a four-four-two formation and they sit seventh in the Premier League?

I am not saying any system/formation is right or wrong; just that you have to find one that gets the best out of your players be that four-four-two, or a four-two-three-one, Christmas tree or whatever. The game is and always will be about players’ end of story. While coaching will always be about knowing how to get the best out of those players.and finding a formation/system that suits them rather than forcing them into a formation/system that suits the coach

The Baggies Misery

The Baggies Misery

I am told that the Baggies performance at Bournemouth was better than it has been for weeks however it matters not because the final result was yet another defeat. It was their seventh consecutive league defeat and eighth loss on the bounce in all competitions.

Alan Pardew has a win ration of just 5.8% over the 17 games he has been in charge. I can think of no other club where he would have kept his job with a return of 8 points from a possible 51?

Just for your information Tony Pulis had a win ratio of 16% having won 10 points from a possible 36. 

Tony Pulis scored 10 and conceded 18 in his 12 games while Alan Pardew has scored 11 and conceded 28 in 17 games so whatever your thoughts about either manager the fact is it hasn’t improved since the change was made in November last year and in fact has  progressively gotten worse.

None of us knows exactly what situation a manager has to work under at any club. Did he get the players he wanted in various transfer windows? Are the players he has in the squad up for the fight? Do they care enough? And of course are they good enough?

Now I am not saying sacking Tony Pulis was wrong, far from it, but it is hard to argue anything other than his replacement has been without doubt a massive failure. It is not Alan Pardew’s fault all he did was accept a job; if he is not good enough then the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of those in power at the club who chose him. Should they have bitten the bullet and made yet another change once it became apparent that it was not working? That just might have given themselves a genuine chance of staying up? Maybe after “taxigate” fiasco would have been the right time. Perhaps giving Gary Megson the job until the end of the season just may also have given them a better chance of survival? Who knows?

After all while in charge he got two draws away at Spurs and home to Newcastle could he have continued to accumulate enough points to escape the dreaded drop?

I am not saying that is what should have happened just highlighting the problems caused by letting it just meander along defeat after defeat hoping that fortunes would change. That beggars belief. Especially now relegation looks a nailed on certainty even though the club are not mathematically down yet.

I see on some social media platforms that some Baggies fans would rather play what they consider to be a more attractive style of football under Alan Pardew even though they are losing rather than the football played under Tony Pulis.

That is their choice and no one can deny them that right however as a football fan myself all that matters to me is winning games, not formations, systems, tactics, or how many programmes are sold or if the shirt sponsors are happy or not. Winning is what makes a fan happy or at least it should.

Goals is and has been the Baggies problem with just 24 in 31 games however Burnley have scored less than Albion at home but have only conceded half as many. If you are not scoring freely you have to ensure you are ultra-mean in defence. Sadly Albion do neither.

It’s a good club with some really nice decent people on and off the pitch and without doubt the fans deserve much better.

After working so hard to get into the Premier League and then working just as hard to stay in it how sad it is to see it all being thrown away with a barely a whimper.


The Baggies

The Baggies

Barring a football miracle West Brom looked doomed to relegation from the Premier League to the championship which will be a blow not only for their loyal supporters but also for West Midland’s football as we want more teams in the Premier league; not less.

With eight games to go they are 8 points away from safety, that’s nine points if you take into account their dismal goal difference?

Sure there are 24 points to play for but I cannot see anything changing that convinces me they not only can they win enough games but that the other teams around them will not pick up points. If Albion won 4 of the remaining eight games it would still mean West Ham, Southampton, Palace and Stoke to virtually lose every game. I am a half glass full sort of person but I have to admit it’s looking decidedly grim.

Who is to blame? Everyone has different opinions, some say Tony Pulis, others say Alan Pardew, and lots say the owners/directors while some lay the blame at the players.

I am sure it’s a combination of all those elements but I also think when a team scores so few goals you have to look at recruitment. Did the managers get the players they wanted or the players the recruitment department sourced based on the club parameters of wages and transfer fees? I don’t know the answer to that but it is something that should be considered when looking at the reasons why if and when relegation happens.


Jamie Carragher-just wrong

Jamie Carragher-just wrong

Former England and Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has been the subject on all media outlets as well as sending social media platforms into meltdown. Film of him spitting at a man and his daughter went viral and has resulted in him being suspended from his role as a TV pundit.

Let’s make no bones about it what he did was absolutely disgusting and, in my opinion, is one of the worst anti-social things anyone can do to another human being.

I was not there but it appears that he was goaded about the Manchester United defeat of Jamie’s old club Liverpool.

With his money and profile he should have been big enough to laugh it off and just smile and drive on without responding. At worst banter along with them after all it’s a game of football. However in spitting he crossed the line and can have no complaints about being dropped by TV. If someone had spit at him during a game he would expect the referee to send that person off the pitch. Sky have done just that in giving him a red card. Jamie has shamed himself, his family and SKY with his actions and I understand he is embarrassed and remorseful for what he did and so he should be.

But there are always two sides to any story and the man doing the goading and filming was not innocent either although let’s be clear about it two wrongs do not make a right and certainly does not absolve Jamie Carragher in any way.

However this man was certainly not acting as a good role model for his daughter and it seems he eventually saw the spitting incident as a way of making a few quid from the newspapers shame on him for that.

Also filming while driving was dangerous and should see him prosecuted as he not only endangered himself and his daughter but also other road users.

All in all it was a very unsavoury incident and I wonder if this man would have goaded Liverpool fans the way he is supposed to have done to Carragher or did he see the

ex-footballer as an easy target?

Premier League-The Hype

Premier League-The Hype


The Premier League is where all our clubs supporters want to be. Not for financial reasons because it’s the place where your team can test itself against the big money clubs. And of course your club’s profile is instantly increased just by being in the PL.

When a club gets relegated to the championship pre match press conferences are usually attended by around 4 journalists and they are the local guys. However if you are in the PL the pre match pressers can see around 20 plus and lots more if you are playing clubs such as Man Utd or Man City.

But sometimes the hyped PL game is far better than the actual ninety minutes. I have watched some poor Premier League games despite all the hype from those with a vested interest. Having said that I have also watch some fantastic ones.

At the weekend I watched the Man City v Chelsea and was bored to death especially when Man City’s defenders decided to exclude everyone else from the game and passed it back and forwards to each other. That’s OK by me if that is what you have to do to see out the game and take the points. But please don’t try and persuade me it was wonderful. In fact defending Champions Chelsea didn’t even have a shot in the first 45 minutes.

I am not criticising Man City as they have been amazing, very entertaining and wonderful to watch this season and so should they be with an investment in the team of around 800 million pounds. Apparently they broke a record for passes in a game-902. Who cares is that what the game is about- or is it about penalty box excitement and winning. Man City won and for that should get lots of credit but don’t try and convince me that it was wonderful. It did not live up to the pre match hype.  

I well remember in 2015 in the FA Cup Premier League Villa played bottom of the Championship Blackpool and it was a miserable game but Villa won 1-0 with a goal two minutes from time. After the game Paul Lambert laboured the point that they had created a record for passes in one game? Nobody cared then and nobody cares now, all that matters is the result.

My point is that there are lots of poor games in the PL and yet it is hyped to death as the be all and end all of football. While there are some fantastically exciting games in the Championship and yet they get little publicity because all the focus is on the Football Bank of England League otherwise known as the Premier League.

It won’t change while billions of pounds are ploughed into the Premier League by TV and that isn’t about to end anytime soon.