|Tickle Tackle - The Big Question|
Tue 18th Dec 2007 21:32 by Steve Tickle
The question everyone seems to be asking is “do we spend big in January or wait until June/July?”.
It seems like Adam Pearson is going to succeed in bringing in American money in time for the January transfer window so does the club accept relegation and use that money to rebuild in the summer or do we chase the almost forlorn hope of Premier League survival?
Well, I'm not sure we should just throw money around like confetti in an attempt to maintain our Premier League place but although our form and results up to now don't give us much hope of staying up, promotion next season (or even the one after) is by no means a gimme.
Winning that promotion last season didn't come easy and I certainly don't believe we should give it up without a fight. The impartial observer could be forgiven for looking at the league table and dismissing the Rams as already sunk without trace. It's pretty hard to argue against but the truth is the fat lady isn't even practising her arpeggios yet..
If you look back over the season so far, there's really no reason to be optimistic but you can't do anything about the past – only the future – and that's the message that Paul Jewell has to be drumming home.
Some people say that we need to start playing like champions to get ourselves out of trouble but that's not strictly true. We don't need 40 points or whatever, the bottom line is be need to make up an eight point gap to get ourselves into 17th place and then perform at least as well as the teams below us for the rest of the season.
When you say it like that it doesn't sound quite so daunting. The problem is that in addition to the lack of quality that we all knew existed before a ball was even kicked back in August, there's obviously a huge problem with confidence now. Addressing that is really Paul Jewell's biggest test.
But let's get back to this issue of spending. I'm sure PJ will already have a pretty good idea of who he thinks isn't up to the job – either because they're not good enough or because their confidence is too shot to be sorted out in the short term. They have to be moved on – either transferred or loaned out.
Now PJ's a pretty shrewd operator and unlike Billy Davies, he's been in this situation before – in fact he's pretty much made a career out of it – so we have the right man for the job.
He's a battler and I don't see him just meekly accepting relegation. I don't know a lot about Adam Pearson but I sort of get the impression that he's out of the same mould. I think between them they'll work out a middle way. I think PJ will try to make good use of the loan system and I think the chairman will be tailoring contracts to reflect our success in beating relegation or not.
Sunday's game at Newcastle at least gives PJ something to work with on the confidence rebuilding front – after all, he can point to the fact that Newcastle are the one team we've managed to beat this season. As I said earlier in this column, you can't change the past, however you can learn from it and use it to your advantage. He has positives he can draw on in preparation for the game, it was after all, the same two sets of players.
I'm certainly not confident we'll stay up but neither am I convinced we're relegation certainties yet. Last season, West Ham looked like dead meat but then they brought in Carlos Tevez and he pretty much saved them on his own. Now it was pretty clear that Tevez was always way too good for a team like West Ham and I don't suppose we'll be lucky enough to land someone like him but if PJ can bring in someone who's going to act as a focal point for the whole team, who knows what might happen?
Talk about this on the message board.
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