Love's Labour's Lost


Six points from six games. That's close to relegation form, not the stuff of promotion. How in the name of all that is Holy did we blow an automatic promotion spot?

In his post Fleetwood interview Jack Ross seemed to finally acknowledge what has been staring the fans in the face for weeks, probably since the January transfer window closed. We don't score enough goals and we can't keep a clean sheet. The last time we were in the third tier our stay lasted only one season and two key players in that team were a striker (Marco Thunderthighs) and an unflappable centre half (John MacPhail). If we had players of that calibre now we'd have been promoted with games to spare and yet neither of these players broke the SAFC bank to get them.

Sadly, whilst the fans can see what's going wrong now, they can't do anything about it. Indeed, the one outstanding success of the season has been the way the fans have backed the club to the hilt.

Unfortunately, that support hasn't been rewarded in the way that it should. Even if, hope against hope, we go up via the play offs, some of the gloss will have been taken off it for me because of the way we let slip something which was entirely in our own hands.

The 'love-in' with Jack Ross has certainly been sullied in the last couple of months. All managers know it is a results-based business and the buck has to stop somewhere. The team selections (plus substitutions) and the tactics have been questionable at times to say the least.

We have used at least five different central defenders this season, five different strikers and several permutations of defensive and attacking midfielders but we have only succeeded in being consistently inconsistent.

With the unfortunate departure of Maja we went from a good passing side to one resorting to route one football. So, who is responsible for that? I know Ross is a young manager (in relative terms) but there are quite few about these days and the job title says everything it needs to.

In the Inquest which will inevitably follow any failure to get promoted this season, people will point to the factors which cost us dearly, poor recruitment, dubious team selections (Bali Mumba surely deserved to be given a chance and don't get me started on dumping Ethan Robson out on loan) and questionable tactics.

I hope that Ross' post Fleetwood criticisms of his players, whilst justified, wasn't also simply a poor attempt to deflect some of the 'heat' from himself. The love affair with Jack Ross may not be over but after all the early promise, it would be reasonable to suggest the fans may not now be as smitten as we once were.


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