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South Bank Hank

Nov 4, 2003
...and other overly-simplistic comments. If only football were a simple game?

There's still much to take heart from!

Having seen a lot of debate already following two defeats about which player is letting the team down (Hammell, Francis, Guttridge, JCR) I firmly believe that selecting ONE player as the root of the problems we've faced in our two tough away games is always going to be narrow-minded.

We all knew/know that Prior will find things difficult this season due to his lack of pace and aging muscles. For these reasons, he'll need to be at the top of his game or it may be too much of a challenge. What we WILL benefit from though is his experience and organisation. Tilly's reluctance to throw Peter Clarke straight into a defence that barely knows his name is at least understandable (even if hindsight suggests the plan didn't work). We may well see changes now Peter has had a chance to settle.

While the evidence suggests that both Hammell and Francis have played poorly in the last couple of games too, I believe both will improve. Both been tracked by bigger clubs than ours and the reviews from previous clubs' fans does everything to suggest that these two have more in their respective lockers than we are seeing right now. Tilly's style will no doubt here be to play the players through their difficult periods, something that will cause us no small amount of stress in the short-term but good things throughout the season.

BUT there are also other factors at play.

* We've just stepped up into the Championship and the difference in class has been instantly apparent.

* Set-pieces and dead-ball delivery has proven to be significantly superior and 3 of our 5 goals conceded have come from them.

* Our defence has changed dramatically. Despite it's good showing last year, we needed to move on and in time things will settle down. I believe Clarke will come in, Sodje will return and Hammell and Clarke will find form.

* Equally, the defence isn't an independent unit. Our midfield has been misfiring and while Gutts and Maher are coming to terms with the better opposition, our passing has been wayward at times as we've given the ball away. Give the ball away at this level and you invite pressure on the defence we've already been talking about. The TEAM needs to improve and they will.

Personally I've seen enough from our showing against Stoke, our first-half (AWAY) against Palace and our second-half (AWAY) against QPR to suggest we're more than capable of competing at this level. Even if we lose against Sunderland on Saturday, I'm still confident we can do well this season but patience and perspective will be needed.


Life President
May 29, 2005
The amount of negativity regarding certain individual players is pathetic... Especially considering Freddy had a poor game on Saturday and nothing bas been said about him. gives an insight into the mind of a fickle supporter i guess...
Oct 25, 2003
I'm referring SBH's post to the moderators. We simply cannot have well thought out, reasonable and sane posts on this board. Whatever next. We have our reputation at stake here. An absolute disgrace.




Youth Teamā­
Aug 7, 2006
Fully agree with both posts - way to early for doom and gloom. Have had two difficult away games and in both we have shown glimpses of what we will achieve at this level. The new guys need time to settle and good players don't become bad ones overnight. Think we will need to be difficult to beat at home to get a solid foot-hold this season though.
Feb 17, 2004
All this abuse of Spinner has got me thinking.
What about somebody like Malky Mackay, he's featured in 3 consecutive promotion winning squads from the Championship & arguably didn't perform as consistently at a high level (despite being an international) like Prior did earlier in their careers.

Maybe Tilly's thinking is we need the old experienced head of Spinner to marshall the rest of the defence. I have to say though I was very suprised when I found out on Saturday we were unchanged from the previous 2 games. As mentioned on another thread, maybe not Clarke has had a couple weeks of training with the squad he will now feature v Sunderland this weekend.


First XI
Aug 20, 2005
I think the debate on the performance of our players is inevitable following two defeats, and its good to hear the various views whether they match your own or not.

Good post though Hank, another interesting perspective on what has been a tough week.