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Jul 15, 2006
It's a word that I've seen bounded about on here and heard it mentioned by many post play offs. How we have progressed this year, Sturrock's second full season in charge. I suppose points wise and final placing in the table suggests we have improved under Luggy, but after five days since we drew with Crewe I've wondered...what was Sturrock's better achievement - his first or second season as Southend manager?

When he arrived he had nothing of note to work with and somehow managed to put together a squad that achieved a respectable mid-table position. This time around, he had a far greater pool of players at his disposal and ultimately he failed to take us up. Yes, we went close, but I still feel this was a huge opportunity missed with that squad in mind.

I'm still gutted at missing out. At another season in league two. I wonder whether he can deliver a better season than this and therefore, in my mind, question his ability to take us up. It was there for the taking, but he couldn't manage it.

I'm not moaning about Sturrock for the sake of it. After thinking about it for a few days, I don't want him sacked. He deserves another shot, but that doesn't mean I'm happy with his performance over the second half of the season. In certain games I felt he hampered our chances of winning them rather than help. I know he won games too, but at crucial times in the season he got it wrong - he admitted as much himself on more than one occasion.

As for his style of football, I don't really care. I want to see a winning team, but when going direct and it's not working why persist. If he wants to hit the forwards early then play big men up front - not Benyon and Eastwood. There is little evidence of PS diverting from his philosophy of how to win games, but I feel that's a negative too. Football evolves and good teams in league two need to do more than hit the forwards early/smash it into forward areas to win promotion. Swindon, Shrewsbury, Crawley and Crewe are proof of that.

Sturrock's paranoia about the fans views on 'hoofball' is pointless too. Why concern himself with it? I was hoping for an explaination why we failed...'December cost us' wasn't enough. I didn't want to read about what he thinks about fans bemoaning 'hoofball.' I wanted to read about a plan to take us forwards. On how he could improve us next time around. How he could learn and improve too. Because, if he replicates this season then that means not only the good things he did, but the bad also and that will not get us promoted next season either.

In answer to my own question, Sturrock's better work was in his first year in charge in my opinion. Only four pro's on board in the summer of 2010. Built a team from nothing and restored pride and belief to the fans after some very concerning times for all. Failing to get promotion with a squad that was, on paper, as good - no better - than Swindon's isn't nothing to reflect upon as a season of 'progress.'