Monday, 15 August 2011

Are Town aiming too low? Or are the fans aiming too high?

Being a Yorkshire Blue nowadays I rely almost entirely on the coverage provided by t'interweb and I don't mind telling you it made for dismal reading this weekend.

The trouble with not being able to make it to the games is that you have to rely on the opinions and moods of others, which - in the aftermath of Saturday's match against Hull - was rather gloomy.

Understandably, the Town Tweeps were disappointed with the result. There was some direct criticism of manager and players alike - with JET getting the worst of the hits (what a difference four days makes, eh?!).

So, as I couldn't make it to the first home game, I turned to the media for an objective report.

The first problem with this situation is that there is so little of that around, media coverage of the boys I mean. Trusty EADT Sports writer Dave Gooderham looks set to be my rock for this year's reports on Town. But other than that there are little or no places to turn.

The national newspapers lost my confidence the day they started the witchhunt against Roy Keane (which was quickly picked up by our former local journalists I would like to add) and I grow tired of their opinion that games outside the Premier League can be covered significantly in one paragraph and from one point of view.

Sky Sports News are also guilty of this, with more than a large proportion of their coverage this weekend focusing on the top flite. Constantly hearing the phrase 'the first weekend of the season' when you are already two games in (three if you count the Mickey Nouse Cup) grows tiresome and frustrating, but such is life in the world of commercial media.

But more than anything it was the BBC's The Football League Show that disapppointed me. For the second week running we have been relegated to less than a few minutes of their time, this despite the fact that we were Top of the League, still sporting fabulous new signings and playing against a fellow promotion favourite. They must do better this year or else my Sky+ series link will be quickly cancelled and I'll opt for imagining the game in my head... at least I'll see more of it.

But back to the matter in hand, for the second problem I encountered in the media this weekend is what was actually said: namely, Paul Jewell's comments about 'playing for a draw'. If you missed it in the post match press conference here's what he said to the EADT:

'We have got to get used to drawing games, it's either win or lose with us'.

And to the club website:

'I said at half time, if we can't win don't get beat'

I'm no football manager and maybe I'm just a little naive but is that really how a manager thinks? I'm gobsmacked.

Throughout the whole of the last season the frustration always came from the fact that the poor results had come from the boys just not trying hard enough. If we tried our best to win and lost then we wouldn't mind, in fact we applauded our boys for doing so.

Of course, I can see where PJ is coming from: sometimes you have to make a considered decision on how to play against a team that seems to have got your number. But surely you change the tactics a bit? Bring on some super subs, put someone else up front, find out what's going wrong and sort it (I refer here directly to comments that Chopra didn't get enough support). Don't just say, 'well lets aim for a draw' because then you get beat by a sloppy goal (See Saturday's game for perfect example of this).

I cannot see how this kind of play is going to get us anywhere and, had it been further into the season, I fear we would've looked on this result as the one that cost us the play offs.

But, as it is, we still have plenty of time to fix things, something else PJ said:

'I'm not getting carried away with the defeat, just like I didn't get carried away with the win at Bristol last week.'

Just as I would never expect anyone without an MA in Journalism and three years work experience to tell me how to write an article for the news, I would never expect to be able to tell a man with PJ's CV how to do his job.

I continue to chant the mantra 'In Jewell We Trust' as I still believe he will be the one to take us to the promised land. I just need to keep reminding myself that may not be this year.

PJ failed to turn the team around in time for the difficult first home game, and I'm reminded of comments among the Town Tweeps that it will take some time for this new side to gel. Perhaps tonight's game against Southampton will bring the big revolution we're all waiting for... after all, we have a habit of winning the games we're not expected to don't we?

As long as we don't play for the draw....

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