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Tickle Tackle - Indefensible
Tickle Tackle - Indefensible
Tuesday, 13th Nov 2007 22:47 by Steve Tickle

Awful! Truly awful! We're just not competitive and we should at least be that. Surely?

Well what can you say about Saturday's result and performance? It's one thing losing to big scores against the likes of Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal but 0-5 at home to a weakened West Ham? Indefensible!

I know I've been banging on about us having to learn quickly and bridge the gap between the Championship and Premier League but to be turning out performances like we're currently doing is frankly ridiculous. Last season we won a reputation from grinding out results and you have to think that last season's team would make a better fist of it than this season's squad is currently doing.

You would suppose that this season's squad is stronger than last season's but where's the evidence for it? Even the most optimistic of Rams fans are finding it almost impossible to find anything to be upbeat about. I know we had three central defenders unavailable against West Ham but come on... we should have been able to put up a better performance than that! After starting the season reasonably well we now seem to be going backwards rather than adjusting to life at the top level. The truth is that as things stand right now, we really shouldn't be playing in the Prem at all.

I've been supportive of Billy Davies in this column and I make no apology for that and I'm not suddenly going to jump on to the sack Davies bandwagon now but the buck will eventually stop when it reaches his office. We have enough players who've proved they can hack it at this level with other clubs so there should be no reason why they shouldn't now. It's up to him and his not insignificant coaching staff to come up with the tactics and organisation to do it.

But even that's not the whole story. When they're out there on the pitch the players just have to do their jobs better... it's a collective responsibility thing and they're not doing the basics properly. I know that after a run of bad results like ours that lack of confidence becomes a factor but the level of performances that are currently being turned in can't be allowed to continue... no excuses!

I don't have a problem with us being relegated... as fans there's still some enjoyment and entertainment to be gained by going to places like Old Trafford and Anfield and giving the big boys a fright even if we come away as plucky losers, but to turn out the kind of performances we've been doing recently is just not an option. If this season is allowed to continue in its current vein it could well have a negative effect on the following season when we'd be hoping to bounce straight back.

With games against Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool coming up before the end of the year it could get very ugly. As it is, we're damned lucky to still be in touch with safety but current performances don't give any reason to expect we'll ever bridge that gap.

Adam Pearson recently said that he would give Billy Davies lots of time but if the fans turn against Davies, Mr Pearson's hand will be forced. He also recently said that the club has two options in front of it right now with regard to transfer spending depending on how things were going as we go into January. The first option would be to spend big if Prem survival looked to be a real possibility, the second option was to accept relegation and spend big next summer, with a view to bouncing straight back.

I put it to you that a third option is becoming a real possibility and that's that either of the other options is taken up with a new manager spending the cash.

I don't pretend to have the answers but the next few weeks are going to hold some very difficult decisions for Mr Pearson and the board.

© Steve Tickle 2007

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