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Style of play - Players interaction 10:18 - Feb 12 with 7482 viewsClitheroeDale

I would be interested to know if at any time, some of the players have said to McNulty they need to change the system and try something a little different. I would have taken the current points we have at the start of the season, but it just seems such a shame that we cant go to a plan B. I think when all fully fit, we have a decent side but this persistence to keep playing this style of play is crazy.

Jim seems an intelligent bloke, he must be able to see, that sometimes a different approach is needed.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 10:44 - Feb 12 with 3342 viewsDalenet

Remember the Barnet home game. We can do it. Would be good if we did for the rest of the season and built some momentum for next. Lets hang on to the few hundred new fans we have attracted.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 12:32 - Feb 12 with 3169 viewspioneer

Has he got a de facto assistant coach who might be prepared to question him on things. I suspect the head of performance type positions are essentially providing analysis/input but are not there to challenge or question in the same way Flicker may have done with Hill.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 13:13 - Feb 12 with 3075 viewsHopwoodblue

Style of play - Players interaction on 12:32 - Feb 12 by pioneer

Has he got a de facto assistant coach who might be prepared to question him on things. I suspect the head of performance type positions are essentially providing analysis/input but are not there to challenge or question in the same way Flicker may have done with Hill.


I would also suggest he’s not being challenged by the BOD.
I think if we had a BOD in it for the long haul then maybe they may question some of the performances especially the home ones, as I’m sure they would be making a serious attempt to try and encourage people to turn up at Spotland.
I’m confident Dunphy would have had something to say to Keith if he had served up that type of display.
There is absolutely no pressure on BJ from above to do anything as they are hoping not to be here
much longer, their priorities remain in selling the club, not what kind of football we play.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 13:28 - Feb 12 with 3032 viewsD_Alien

Style of play - Players interaction on 13:13 - Feb 12 by Hopwoodblue

I would also suggest he’s not being challenged by the BOD.
I think if we had a BOD in it for the long haul then maybe they may question some of the performances especially the home ones, as I’m sure they would be making a serious attempt to try and encourage people to turn up at Spotland.
I’m confident Dunphy would have had something to say to Keith if he had served up that type of display.
There is absolutely no pressure on BJ from above to do anything as they are hoping not to be here
much longer, their priorities remain in selling the club, not what kind of football we play.


This is true. If we were bottom of the NL with zero points, there'd still be zero chance that his position would be at risk because the club simply couldn't afford to dismiss him

Given he's done a fair bit better than many (including myself) thought, at least in terms of points gained, there's zero pressure on him to change anything. As a first team coach in his first full year, that's almost unprecedented in a professional football club, and unfortunately it's beginning to show. The style we're playing may well help him find a job higher up the pyramid at some stage, as with BBM

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Style of play - Players interaction on 13:33 - Feb 12 with 3009 viewsfitzochris

I've read numerous comments on this forum and on social media regarding our "style of play" and I'm perplexed.

There is nothing wrong with our style of play when it is implemented correctly. That is, quite obviously, to retain possession until a gap presents itself and then to exploit that gap by any means necessary. This has been highlighted via missile-like long balls from the keeper/defence to the front men, needle like through balls, or even wide players seizing the initiative and having a pop. Total options, as McNulty calls it.

The issue with our "style of play" is the ability, or inability, to execute it effectively. We have not done that for the past three games, and there are other examples dotted between our success pre-Christmas too.

This is down to selection issues/injuries/lack of quality augmentation.

Jim McNulty is responsible for some of this, but not all. Some of his selection and in-game decisions have baffled, for sure.

Remember, though, the vast majority of us were praising his success in the face of massive adversity around December time. Yes, three points from 15 since then focuses minds and sharpens criticism, but he is a novice manager trying to stick to his principles in very difficult circumstances. We are not a team that is going to sit deep and hit on the counter - that's how most teams are setting up against us.

I'm sure he'd love the budget of some of the other full-time teams at our level, but, in my opinion, he cannot even put together a squad that can compete over the course of an entire season. That is the issue, as is everything that is happening behind the scenes at our club. That, in my opinion, is where minds should be focused.
[Post edited 12 Feb 15:06]

Blog: Rochdale 2018/19 part three: Getting points on the board

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Style of play - Players interaction on 14:48 - Feb 12 with 2822 viewsjonahwhereru

Style of play - Players interaction on 13:33 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I've read numerous comments on this forum and on social media regarding our "style of play" and I'm perplexed.

There is nothing wrong with our style of play when it is implemented correctly. That is, quite obviously, to retain possession until a gap presents itself and then to exploit that gap by any means necessary. This has been highlighted via missile-like long balls from the keeper/defence to the front men, needle like through balls, or even wide players seizing the initiative and having a pop. Total options, as McNulty calls it.

The issue with our "style of play" is the ability, or inability, to execute it effectively. We have not done that for the past three games, and there are other examples dotted between our success pre-Christmas too.

This is down to selection issues/injuries/lack of quality augmentation.

Jim McNulty is responsible for some of this, but not all. Some of his selection and in-game decisions have baffled, for sure.

Remember, though, the vast majority of us were praising his success in the face of massive adversity around December time. Yes, three points from 15 since then focuses minds and sharpens criticism, but he is a novice manager trying to stick to his principles in very difficult circumstances. We are not a team that is going to sit deep and hit on the counter - that's how most teams are setting up against us.

I'm sure he'd love the budget of some of the other full-time teams at our level, but, in my opinion, he cannot even put together a squad that can compete over the course of an entire season. That is the issue, as is everything that is happening behind the scenes at our club. That, in my opinion, is where minds should be focused.
[Post edited 12 Feb 15:06]


Thanks for your input.
This no plan B stuff drives me mad. We vary our play much more than I have seen for many years. At Aldershot we scored with a goal which was plainly a mixture of the much detest (and I can see why) walking football followed by a ball over the top and Hendo finish. The goal against D&R was a nice footballing goal. Plus this side press more without the ball than they have done in recent years.
Every manager in every game changes his plans at some stage in a game, it’s what they call tactics.
I was not a supporter of McNulty getting the job but I am glad he did.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 17:08 - Feb 12 with 2606 viewssamueloneils

Style of play - Players interaction on 13:33 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I've read numerous comments on this forum and on social media regarding our "style of play" and I'm perplexed.

There is nothing wrong with our style of play when it is implemented correctly. That is, quite obviously, to retain possession until a gap presents itself and then to exploit that gap by any means necessary. This has been highlighted via missile-like long balls from the keeper/defence to the front men, needle like through balls, or even wide players seizing the initiative and having a pop. Total options, as McNulty calls it.

The issue with our "style of play" is the ability, or inability, to execute it effectively. We have not done that for the past three games, and there are other examples dotted between our success pre-Christmas too.

This is down to selection issues/injuries/lack of quality augmentation.

Jim McNulty is responsible for some of this, but not all. Some of his selection and in-game decisions have baffled, for sure.

Remember, though, the vast majority of us were praising his success in the face of massive adversity around December time. Yes, three points from 15 since then focuses minds and sharpens criticism, but he is a novice manager trying to stick to his principles in very difficult circumstances. We are not a team that is going to sit deep and hit on the counter - that's how most teams are setting up against us.

I'm sure he'd love the budget of some of the other full-time teams at our level, but, in my opinion, he cannot even put together a squad that can compete over the course of an entire season. That is the issue, as is everything that is happening behind the scenes at our club. That, in my opinion, is where minds should be focused.
[Post edited 12 Feb 15:06]


Heartily agree.

No-one likes to lose and particularly when you know the team is underperforming.

But we need to concentrate on "what is happening behind the scenes". This is what will dictate what our club is doing in the next few weeks and possibly in the foreseeable future. Personally I would settle for survival this season and then tackle building a squad for next season. Hopefully with JM at the helm.

It is frustrating when the Board is keeping its cards close to its chest, but it would be foolish to spark a public debate at this stage. Surely everyone can tell there are many conversations taking place. which have to be played out in private.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 17:38 - Feb 12 with 2549 viewsTheTedOliverFanclub

Sorry to disagree with many fans , this tippy tappy football will bring only more problems in the long run.JM is completely fixated with these tactics, no plan B , in many cases no plan A, sorry to say, if he cant change tac tis then the club must change the manager.All this clubs problems started with BBM,you can play this type of football if the players have skill and pace, at the moment we have neither.It gives no pleasesure to say this manager is tactilly inept and team selection is dreadfull, the only thing the club will get from JM are more terrible performances seen in the last 3 weeks.Time for a change in all areas of the club.
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Style of play - Players interaction on 17:53 - Feb 12 with 2514 viewsRAFCBLUE

I'm not sure if many of the players expect to be here past June 2024, so for the majority are marking out time.

The possession based stuff works when you don't make silly mistakes and invite pressure and too often we have done both.

There also needs to be an acceptance by JM that his style of play at home needs to be different to that away from home.

The away form of 20 points from 16 is creditable if we have a good home record. The home record is the issue having 9 games where we haven't, with home advantage, taken all three points but the home record has been the issue for the past 5 years plus.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:01 - Feb 12 with 2495 viewsJames1980

On the OP didn't some of the England squad discuss tactical changes with Bobby Robson during Italia 90?

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:27 - Feb 12 with 2427 views442Dale

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:01 - Feb 12 by James1980

On the OP didn't some of the England squad discuss tactical changes with Bobby Robson during Italia 90?


Think there was a suggestion they had input to going to a back five, though even during games they shifted to a back four. They were quite flexible and performances improved.

Fitzo’s analysis is near enough to the mark as far as analysing the season is concerned. McNulty’s mistakes the last few games have come from selections rather than style employed.

Even during that we’ve seen Henderson’s goal at Aldershot as a perfect example of how there’s literally no argument in saying we only play one way. EEL’s ball forward was not that of a team who play tippy tappy football.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:46 - Feb 12 with 2391 viewsJames1980

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:27 - Feb 12 by 442Dale

Think there was a suggestion they had input to going to a back five, though even during games they shifted to a back four. They were quite flexible and performances improved.

Fitzo’s analysis is near enough to the mark as far as analysing the season is concerned. McNulty’s mistakes the last few games have come from selections rather than style employed.

Even during that we’ve seen Henderson’s goal at Aldershot as a perfect example of how there’s literally no argument in saying we only play one way. EEL’s ball forward was not that of a team who play tippy tappy football.


49 commented on the body language of players could confidence or lack of be playing a part in recent performances

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:50 - Feb 12 with 2369 views442Dale

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:46 - Feb 12 by James1980

49 commented on the body language of players could confidence or lack of be playing a part in recent performances


Wasn’t there on Saturday, and won’t be going off them strolling out onto the pitch in tracksuits, but simply think it’s being overthought. The manager just hasn’t selected the right teams recently, only he can rectify that.

One thing that I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere I don’t think, that Mitchell headed miss at 0-0 could have been a real turning point. Glorious chance.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:53 - Feb 12 with 2366 viewsD_Alien

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:50 - Feb 12 by 442Dale

Wasn’t there on Saturday, and won’t be going off them strolling out onto the pitch in tracksuits, but simply think it’s being overthought. The manager just hasn’t selected the right teams recently, only he can rectify that.

One thing that I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere I don’t think, that Mitchell headed miss at 0-0 could have been a real turning point. Glorious chance.


Like you, i've only seen the highlights but another point of interest was the number of accurate long passes Brooks played out to the wings, quite high up the field

I've not seen enough of him to make a judgement about his overall ability compared with Moulden, but in that respect at least, he seems to be on a par

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Style of play - Players interaction on 18:56 - Feb 12 with 2345 views442Dale

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:53 - Feb 12 by D_Alien

Like you, i've only seen the highlights but another point of interest was the number of accurate long passes Brooks played out to the wings, quite high up the field

I've not seen enough of him to make a judgement about his overall ability compared with Moulden, but in that respect at least, he seems to be on a par


Yep, thought the same. Certainly wasn’t playing triangles with his centre halves when there was a direct route out wide.

On Moulden, he’s meant to have impressed after coming on in the second half on Saturday. Some impressive saves by all accounts.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 19:22 - Feb 12 with 2294 viewsnordenblue

Style of play - Players interaction on 13:33 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I've read numerous comments on this forum and on social media regarding our "style of play" and I'm perplexed.

There is nothing wrong with our style of play when it is implemented correctly. That is, quite obviously, to retain possession until a gap presents itself and then to exploit that gap by any means necessary. This has been highlighted via missile-like long balls from the keeper/defence to the front men, needle like through balls, or even wide players seizing the initiative and having a pop. Total options, as McNulty calls it.

The issue with our "style of play" is the ability, or inability, to execute it effectively. We have not done that for the past three games, and there are other examples dotted between our success pre-Christmas too.

This is down to selection issues/injuries/lack of quality augmentation.

Jim McNulty is responsible for some of this, but not all. Some of his selection and in-game decisions have baffled, for sure.

Remember, though, the vast majority of us were praising his success in the face of massive adversity around December time. Yes, three points from 15 since then focuses minds and sharpens criticism, but he is a novice manager trying to stick to his principles in very difficult circumstances. We are not a team that is going to sit deep and hit on the counter - that's how most teams are setting up against us.

I'm sure he'd love the budget of some of the other full-time teams at our level, but, in my opinion, he cannot even put together a squad that can compete over the course of an entire season. That is the issue, as is everything that is happening behind the scenes at our club. That, in my opinion, is where minds should be focused.
[Post edited 12 Feb 15:06]


While some good points in there Fitz you've kind of argued against some of them, surely if there's only certain players available due to injuries shouldn't any decent manager act accordingly and maybe change this "style" the fact we're still trying to play a way which would maybe work with a fully fit squad an acceptance that maybe we need to change things when certain players become available/unavailable.

Don't even get me started about his in game decisions, he's totally reactivate rather than proactive and seems to only change things when there's literally nothing else to lose, the game at Altrincham a fine example, how we set up was never going to trouble them and clearly not working, yet he waits till the 3rd goal hits the net to provoke any kind of real reaction, frightening
[Post edited 12 Feb 19:23]
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Style of play - Players interaction on 19:57 - Feb 12 with 2200 viewsfitzochris

Style of play - Players interaction on 19:22 - Feb 12 by nordenblue

While some good points in there Fitz you've kind of argued against some of them, surely if there's only certain players available due to injuries shouldn't any decent manager act accordingly and maybe change this "style" the fact we're still trying to play a way which would maybe work with a fully fit squad an acceptance that maybe we need to change things when certain players become available/unavailable.

Don't even get me started about his in game decisions, he's totally reactivate rather than proactive and seems to only change things when there's literally nothing else to lose, the game at Altrincham a fine example, how we set up was never going to trouble them and clearly not working, yet he waits till the 3rd goal hits the net to provoke any kind of real reaction, frightening
[Post edited 12 Feb 19:23]


I hear what you’re saying, but if you read the post again, I do say that McNulty is not entirely blameless in terms of personnel selection. I’ve also said he’s a novice manager who is sticking to his principles. That may well be admirable, it may well be a flaw. Regardless, McNulty is doing it his way.

As I also said, if he had even a fraction more freedom in the transfer market, he may well have been able to bring in adequate players to keep his system going effectively in the face of injuries or suspensions.

Instead he’s having to beg favours from clubs who need to incur the vast majority, if not all, of the cost of any loans. This severely limits the field of quality available.

I’m prepared to cut him more slack than previous Dale managers due to the circumstances under which he is operating. Same with many of the players (many of whom didn’t even know if they were getting paid in November). It’s also not his fault we are currently playing in the National League in the first place.
[Post edited 12 Feb 19:59]

Blog: Rochdale 2018/19 part three: Getting points on the board

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Style of play - Players interaction on 20:05 - Feb 12 with 2166 viewsEllDale

Shall we see if things improve once Clayton is starting games again?
Our midfield is being completely bypassed for long periods of games.
But please could the keeper and halfbacks desist from just standing there with their foot on the ball?
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Style of play - Players interaction on 20:47 - Feb 12 with 2078 viewsRodingdale

Style of play - Players interaction on 13:33 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I've read numerous comments on this forum and on social media regarding our "style of play" and I'm perplexed.

There is nothing wrong with our style of play when it is implemented correctly. That is, quite obviously, to retain possession until a gap presents itself and then to exploit that gap by any means necessary. This has been highlighted via missile-like long balls from the keeper/defence to the front men, needle like through balls, or even wide players seizing the initiative and having a pop. Total options, as McNulty calls it.

The issue with our "style of play" is the ability, or inability, to execute it effectively. We have not done that for the past three games, and there are other examples dotted between our success pre-Christmas too.

This is down to selection issues/injuries/lack of quality augmentation.

Jim McNulty is responsible for some of this, but not all. Some of his selection and in-game decisions have baffled, for sure.

Remember, though, the vast majority of us were praising his success in the face of massive adversity around December time. Yes, three points from 15 since then focuses minds and sharpens criticism, but he is a novice manager trying to stick to his principles in very difficult circumstances. We are not a team that is going to sit deep and hit on the counter - that's how most teams are setting up against us.

I'm sure he'd love the budget of some of the other full-time teams at our level, but, in my opinion, he cannot even put together a squad that can compete over the course of an entire season. That is the issue, as is everything that is happening behind the scenes at our club. That, in my opinion, is where minds should be focused.
[Post edited 12 Feb 15:06]


Taken verbatim from Gary Neville on commentary of Palace v Chelsea: “I’m sick of watching defenders pontificate on the ball at the back. Pass the ball quickly, get the ball into the midfielders, get the ball into your wider players….this sort of stuff, no need for it. I get it if your 2-0 up, but your nil nil. It’s possession in the final third that counts They think they’re doing a good job with this , they’re not.”

Wonder what he’d make of McNulty ball.
[Post edited 12 Feb 20:48]
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Style of play - Players interaction on 21:06 - Feb 12 with 2037 viewsTVOS1907

Style of play - Players interaction on 18:50 - Feb 12 by 442Dale

Wasn’t there on Saturday, and won’t be going off them strolling out onto the pitch in tracksuits, but simply think it’s being overthought. The manager just hasn’t selected the right teams recently, only he can rectify that.

One thing that I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere I don’t think, that Mitchell headed miss at 0-0 could have been a real turning point. Glorious chance.


That comment about them strolling onto the pitch was remarkable.

They 'strolled on' in exactly the same way as they do in every other game, even those we have won.

Undoubted knowledge? Or just the application of common sense and using my brain?

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Style of play - Players interaction on 21:26 - Feb 12 with 1993 viewsJames1980

Style of play - Players interaction on 20:47 - Feb 12 by Rodingdale

Taken verbatim from Gary Neville on commentary of Palace v Chelsea: “I’m sick of watching defenders pontificate on the ball at the back. Pass the ball quickly, get the ball into the midfielders, get the ball into your wider players….this sort of stuff, no need for it. I get it if your 2-0 up, but your nil nil. It’s possession in the final third that counts They think they’re doing a good job with this , they’re not.”

Wonder what he’d make of McNulty ball.
[Post edited 12 Feb 20:48]


Which version of McNulty ball?

'Only happy when you've got it often makes you miss the journey'
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Style of play - Players interaction on 23:51 - Feb 12 with 1882 viewsnordenblue

Style of play - Players interaction on 19:57 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I hear what you’re saying, but if you read the post again, I do say that McNulty is not entirely blameless in terms of personnel selection. I’ve also said he’s a novice manager who is sticking to his principles. That may well be admirable, it may well be a flaw. Regardless, McNulty is doing it his way.

As I also said, if he had even a fraction more freedom in the transfer market, he may well have been able to bring in adequate players to keep his system going effectively in the face of injuries or suspensions.

Instead he’s having to beg favours from clubs who need to incur the vast majority, if not all, of the cost of any loans. This severely limits the field of quality available.

I’m prepared to cut him more slack than previous Dale managers due to the circumstances under which he is operating. Same with many of the players (many of whom didn’t even know if they were getting paid in November). It’s also not his fault we are currently playing in the National League in the first place.
[Post edited 12 Feb 19:59]


Yes totally get what you're saying and you make some good points, I just think carrying on doing something that's blatantly not working with wrong personnel expecting a different result is absolutely insanity,

Most teams we come up against keep it simple and seem to play to their strengths, we stick rigidly to a plan regardless of players available/unavailable
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Style of play - Players interaction on 12:57 - Feb 13 with 1595 viewsRAFCBLUE

Style of play - Players interaction on 19:57 - Feb 12 by fitzochris

I hear what you’re saying, but if you read the post again, I do say that McNulty is not entirely blameless in terms of personnel selection. I’ve also said he’s a novice manager who is sticking to his principles. That may well be admirable, it may well be a flaw. Regardless, McNulty is doing it his way.

As I also said, if he had even a fraction more freedom in the transfer market, he may well have been able to bring in adequate players to keep his system going effectively in the face of injuries or suspensions.

Instead he’s having to beg favours from clubs who need to incur the vast majority, if not all, of the cost of any loans. This severely limits the field of quality available.

I’m prepared to cut him more slack than previous Dale managers due to the circumstances under which he is operating. Same with many of the players (many of whom didn’t even know if they were getting paid in November). It’s also not his fault we are currently playing in the National League in the first place.
[Post edited 12 Feb 19:59]


I think it is good that McNulty has certainty for next season. Unless he went to another job, ala BBM, then he will get next season which will be a test of his skills and apply what he has learned in this campaign.

There's a trend of EFL clubs taking National League managers who do well - Pete Wilder (Halifax to Barrow), Mike Williamson (Gateshead to MK Dons) and Stuart Maynard (Wealdstone to Notts County).

All three of them had a number of years at this level before they got it right and none of them won promotion to the EFL to get their next job. I'd say Wealdstone are financially the weakest of the three but Halifax and Gateshead have big similarities to us.

Aside from Chesterfield, the standard is a similar one across the league and one the can be adapted to. McNulty has only managed for 9 months and it shows as it did for Keith Hill when he first got the job.

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Style of play - Players interaction on 14:33 - Feb 13 with 1467 viewsDale69er

Style of play - Players interaction on 12:57 - Feb 13 by RAFCBLUE

I think it is good that McNulty has certainty for next season. Unless he went to another job, ala BBM, then he will get next season which will be a test of his skills and apply what he has learned in this campaign.

There's a trend of EFL clubs taking National League managers who do well - Pete Wilder (Halifax to Barrow), Mike Williamson (Gateshead to MK Dons) and Stuart Maynard (Wealdstone to Notts County).

All three of them had a number of years at this level before they got it right and none of them won promotion to the EFL to get their next job. I'd say Wealdstone are financially the weakest of the three but Halifax and Gateshead have big similarities to us.

Aside from Chesterfield, the standard is a similar one across the league and one the can be adapted to. McNulty has only managed for 9 months and it shows as it did for Keith Hill when he first got the job.


Not as recent as those mentioned, but also Ian Evatt at Bolton. Weren't we looking at him at one stage when he was at Barrow?
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Style of play - Players interaction on 14:40 - Feb 13 with 1447 viewsTVOS1907

Style of play - Players interaction on 14:33 - Feb 13 by Dale69er

Not as recent as those mentioned, but also Ian Evatt at Bolton. Weren't we looking at him at one stage when he was at Barrow?


I think that was a rumour started by FRMSE

Undoubted knowledge? Or just the application of common sense and using my brain?

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