Has The Project Stalled?
Reflections on the Brum defeat and what happens next?

Everyone knew we needed a big response to the derby defeat in the game at Birmingham and CC assured us there would be one.  As it turned out we were better than the Sunday debacle but that has to viewed in the context of Birmingham being a lot worse side than you know who, and they had not won for 8 games and were without  a clean sheet in 9 before Wednesday night. It was Groundhog Day again with not enough tempo to our game, crab like progress, no pace, no one running in behind their defence, poor crossing and concession of a soft goal. Yes, we had a goal wrongly chalked off for off-side but these things happen and you simply have to be better than that against a side that was there for the taking. I disagree with CC - we didn’t deserve to win just because we had 60% possession; having the ball, but not doing anything with it, is not the purpose and objective of the game of football. Was it Albert Einstein who said that expecting different results from the same actions was the definition of insanity? Not a big response then, sadly.

In the run-up to game I said we couldn’t contemplate defeat at St Andrews but that is what we got and that now makes the game on Sunday a defining one surely? I have been a Carlos sceptic for some time but it is now apparent he is losing many of the fans who have stuck with him when the minority, me included, would have made a managerial change earlier. A significantly improved performance and a win will surely be required, any win of course would be welcome, but just scraping over the line might not be enough to paper over the cracks. To be fair Carlos is taking the flak that ought to some extent be hitting under-performing players and DC himself. Carlos has put himself in the line of fire and protected his players, that was his choice, but a wrong one in my view as they also need to be held accountable for what’s not going right on the pitch as much as he does. The cock-ups regarding shirts, the 150th anniversary, poor communication, financial restrictions, high ticket prices, the ill-judged Club 1867 initiative and player recruitment  are DC territory, yet it all creates a negative backdrop against which CC and the team are viewed. CC seems a decent man who has made a positive contribution to the club and he doesn’t deserve to be hounded out of the club in an ignominious fashion – if it goes wrong on Sunday he and DC need to be having a conversation and then set about managing any departure with dignity and respect. Some of the abuse directed at him by some so called Wednesdayites is shameful.

Irrespective of what happens on Sunday and the aftermath I still think the DC Wednesday ‘Project’  has stalled and needs a bit of a re-boot – we have stood still whilst other clubs have progressed. Signing older experienced players on very good wages hasn’t worked. The recruitment doesn’t appear to match what the team needs. The money situation has tightened up. We have an un-balanced squad, no money to change it with and no chance to do it till January. And even then the January window is not one for a total rebuild, but at least creates space for a few tweaks. The off the pitch matters listed above are surely sortable with some focused management action? DC might be a very good business man but that doesn’t necessarily qualify a person for running a football club – football is a very different business – and he has no previous experience to fall back on. It feels like we can’t compete financially with some clubs and rightly we don’t want to risk the future by busting FFP, but the football strategy we have embarked upon has wasted money that could have been used to better effect. I wonder if DC taking a step back by appointing a Director of Football to run the football side of the business and allowing Joe Palmer (Chief Operating Officer) to run the non-football side might be more effective. A D of F should be charged with bringing down the age of the squad, reducing the wage bill and removing players who aren’t contributing, and replacing those moved on with younger, cheaper and hungrier players.  The COO should just sort all those things listed earlier, give a sense of direction and purpose and most importantly communicate, communicate and then communicate some more!

 A lot of this is long term stuff and can’t be sorted now, but we could make a start on it, and nothing is predicated on changing manager now. But if results determine that a managerial change is needed then we have a choice to make – stick with the current model that isn’t working, make that model work better, or start down the road to a different model. If we went down the D of F model we would have the time to get people in place well before the January window, or if we stay with the current model we need a coach who can work effectively within the restrictions that model places on him.  A new model might cost a bit of investment at the front end but might be more cost effective in the long term. The Rotherham Chairman said that their wage bill was higher than that of Huddersfield last season – evidence, if any was needed, that it isn’t just about money but more about having an effective model that makes the best use of the resources available. To me the current evidence indicates we are not getting the best use of the resources we are deploying and something needs to change.

So, it’s not the most positive context for a game against a high flying Dirty L**ds when things are not going right for us and they want a response from a thumping at Cardiff. Carlos and the players simply have to make this work on Sunday. Anything less than a win will not be good enough and will give DC some thinking to do. I am a declared Carlos sceptic but I will be supporting the team on Sunday, I want them to win, I want Carlos to prove me wrong, I don’t want the team to lose to hasten his departure.  I hope that every other Wednesdayite is the same too.

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