Sunday, December 15, 2013
No Way Out
Suggs sang that, it was fitting for a while as I showed hospitality to an East Midlands lad. He's back in Derby now (this lad, not Suggs) and to be fair, he's bloody 'full of it'.
A week before kick off my phone was restless, every day a text came through delighting in the Rams current good form and his predictions for the Saturday whilst poking fun at our less than satisfactory results, league position and hopes for both the match and the future generally. I didn't really mind, he used to come round all the time. Not any more, that kind of attitude wouldn't get him through the front door, even if he is right on every count.
He knew Derby would win the Wednesday before, I knew Derby would win the Wednesday before yet come Saturday I still obligingly arrived in SE7, spent a fair share of my weekly pay packet, and came away just as depressed as I was on arrival. I wasn't the only one.
The takeover by the rich 'septic' is off, the manager and the majority of the team don't have a clue as to who will employ them come next summer, the consumer, the customer is dejected, the owners have no interest and just want to sell what they see as a lost cause, the atmosphere around the place is one of defeat, if it wasn't football but just another business venture the towel would have been thrown in ages ago. If it were a horse it would have been shot, turned into burgers and would currently be residing on the supermarket shelf resplendent in a yellow reduced sticker.
Chris Powell respectfully, dutifully, and emotionally said his players gave not only him but all the fans everything they had. Unfortunately that just doesn't seem to be enough. Week in week out we play well but always lack two elements, goals and luck. If we could just find one of these the other would be sure to follow.
We conceded two against Derby, the first a free kick which took a major deflection off the wall,wrong footing our keeper and the second a deflating match winner after we had run our hearts out and were ready to collapse. This against a team which are without doubt the in form side in the division. This against an in form side whilst we are without, Leon Cort, Richard Wood, Chris Solly, Ben Hamer, four players that would all stake a claim to a starting place in a full strength defence. Quality in depth certainly isn't a hindrance in certain areas of the park.
Our best chance though also fell to a defender, Michael Morrison, who should really have done so much better with his header. On another day, under different circumstances...
Kermorgant looked lonely up front, often dropping deep for the company. Church was dropped to the bench to consort Marvin Sodall. Both would later come on as Powell adopted rather desperate 'three up front' tactics. Bradley Pritchard got a start (a player out of his depth at this level coming in against the form team!), as did Danny Green who did everything right except for the finding the killer cross. Callum Harriott also appeared from the bench running circles around the visiting defence but, like a dog chasing its tail, with little direction or purpose to all his hard work.
Derby County, who for marketing reasons presumed their white shirts and black shorts would clash with our traditional red jerseys and therefore wore their 'thunderbirds' third kit, knew that if they soaked up the pressure without having to exert too much energy they could counter and find another victory.
I refuse to blame the referee at all, in fact I always see it as being a little despairing when we do, but there is little doubt he was atrocious. As have been so many before him, but no team finds themselves as precarious as ourselves solely on the basis of poor match officials. This is still largely a League One squad that has lost its match winners. Fuller, Haynes, and to a lesser extent Wright-Phillips, all gone and not really replaced, not that that's Powell's fault. If he's got any sense he'll be looking to the future, we won't be adding to the squad in January, it's unlikely he'll get the boot as Slater and Jimenez won't be able to entice anyone else here, no, he'll be watching the managerial merry go round closely to see where his next opportunity lays. Love, passion, pride, loyalty, he has the lot but he's still got a family to feed as have the rest of the squad that are currently faced with no secure future.
They all have a way out. We however are stuck with this melancholy for the foreseeable future, until either fortunes somehow change for the better or the owners finally run this club into the ground.