Almost 2 years ago we were 1 game away from winning promotion after the best season we had since probably 96/97.
The 16/17 season we were found out, we never strengthened in the areas we needed to, signed too many strikers, the whole squad was unbalanced, performances were not great, probably the worst thing we did in fact was go on that run after Easter of 6 or 7 straight wins to seal 4th, all that did was paper over the long term cracks that were appearing, Carlos had done very well in the first season but we ignored his faults in his 2nd season, this was confirmed when we played an out of form Huddersfield in the play-offs & Carlos tactical gamble over the 2 legs backfired, the warning alarms were louder than the tanoy at Hillsborough yesterday, he should have gone then, thanks for the memories but you've failed twice Carlos, let someone else have a go. But nope, Chansiri is charmed by the charmer that is Carlos & is given a new deal.
17/18 pre-season is here, under Carlos, we go again, 3rd time lucky... we needed to strengthen in the same positions as 12 months ago, we needed experienced CB & pace! We signed George Boyd.
After a disastrous performance against Preston & a miserable first half of the season he finally left, thank god! for me it was 6 months too late or if you're being very kind 3 months too late (after pigs defeat)
Now we are 2 games away from the season finishing, in 15th place, at best we can get 12th but unlikely as we are playing the best team in the world on Saturday. Would you really call this season a disaster? not for me when I look back, we've learnt so much & we are a better team for it...
Carlos has gone! this is a huge positive, after the Wembley defeat he was never going to take us up, this is why:
- Carlos is a short term planner, he doesn't care about the long term philosophy of a club
- Rushed players back from injury despite it having a huge impact on their careers
- Ignoring the U23's despite their achievements 16/17 season, especially Hirsty, he should have been around the 1st team last season & probably not the only one either...
- Jolly up Pre-season, relies on players to get themselves fit so he can do all ball work... erm! This meant we would never produce the goods over 90 minutes & let in late goals often. We also never started games well, we'd just have random spells throughout the game where we raised the intensity, until we were all knackered.
Now for the positives..
Jos has now been here 4 months & here's the other things we've learned:
- Chansiri is very patient with managers, Jos will be given time, this is good, I hate changing managers who haven't had chance to implement their style on their club & bring in their own players. Not many clubs do well who chop & change managers after a bad run of results. All teams get this throughout a season, be patient, it pays off.
- Despite it looking very likely Hirst & Clare will leave, we have learned our lessons that the youngsters are assets too, either to the first team or to sell on in the future, new deals have been tied down to the best ones, very positive & will inspire all our u18 players that hard work is rewarded at Sheffield Wednesday.
- We have 2 very good young keepers. Dawson & Wildsmith will battle it out for the no1 shirt next season. Westwood has been a wonderful servant but it's time for him to move on, we'll still get a good fee for him & he's on big money.
- Tom Lees is very good, a lot of talk about Bannan making a huge difference (he has!) but Lees is one of the best defenders in this league & will be our captain next season, at the heart of our defence we will build a team around him
- Surely now we've had all these injuries, it can't happen again?? I'm taking it as a positive anyway!
- It's clear that certain players need to leave, we have others here that fit our new style better or we'll bring in better players, such as Palmer, Fox, Jones, Abdi, Loovens, Wallace should all be made available to leave
- Nuhiu & Joao are pretty decent! The likes of Hooper, Fletch, Fessi been out has been positive for these 2, expect them both to figure a lot next season, it's good we don't need to buy any more strikers as we have these 2 right under our nose... hoping a new contract announced for the big man soon!
- We can cope without Hooper, Hutch & Lee, 3 big players for us but lets just treat it as a bonus when they are fit, but when they aren't we have players who can perform.
- Jos has had half a season to experiment, I know there's been some poor team selections & tactics under Jos,the 5-5-0 formation at Millwall, 4-4-2 at Bristol City & QPR, but the man has to experiment, it's clear we are more solid in a 5-3-2. I fully expect us to line up like this next season.
- We have a CEO who comes across well
- The kit balls up means this is unlikely to happen again
- Chansiri has made his own mistakes, offering season ticket refunds, the silly questionnaire, bizzare Christmas statement before announcing carlos had left.. but surely he's learned from this?
- Season ticket price freeze for next season
- Now the best until last. No more pre-season jolly up for the players, sounds like Jos will have these lot fitter than ever. Having a fit team means less likely to let go of leads... yes please!
It's not the be all & end all to be up near the top now, the club isn't going anywhere, there's no rush, when we do go up it needs to be under the right guidance on/off the pitch.
I'd like to see us line up something like this that first game of the season.. it looks pretty decent to me!
Thanks if you've decided to read until the end, be interesting to hear people's feedback, had a lot of time to think last night so decided to make this monster post this morning.