Bijou Bob wrote:
Let's be honest with ourselves. The past 3 or 4 seasons we've stayed up by the skin of our teeth. Without Sturridge last year we'd have gone down. To lose 2 of our most important players and have others shackled by injuries, it was always going to be hard, if not impossible.
Yes, the manager is tactically naieve at times, but we are where we are because we aren't good enough, haven't got enough money to buy improvement and will struggle to compete for many years to come. I'm looking forward to Burnley next year already. When it comes to it, so will all of you.
That's been he case for the 11 years we have been punching above our weight in the top flight.
But Norwich and Swansea only demonstrate what decent management can get you.
Coyle is not good enough or astute enough to keep us up. The frustration is he's chucked away 11 years hard work when it wasn't really necessary. We are going down because we've inflicted in upon ourselves, NOT because the other teams are so good and have spent loads....
I've never been too certain just how much good management from a tactical, formation stand point plays a part come kick off and so am always a bit reluctant to place all the blame on the managers themselves when players are either going through a dip in form or have merely been flattering to deceive. Sure it all matters to some degree, but whether they can be a decisive denominator in winning or losing a match (or having a similar effect the course of a season) i've never been completely sure.
IMO it often appears that managers 'get lucky' and some are just the right man at the right time, or just the right personality (i.e Di Matteo) at Chelsea. Even Pardew at Newcastle has only made the odd changes here and there although they have played a blinder in the transfer market. This is why i've always been abit slow to criticise Coyle, and was probably a bit slow on the uptake i.e Megson but recent months (February onwards) have set the warning lights good and proper.
When he was appointed manager Owen hardly moved mountains from a tactical point of view but what he did do was add a refreshing air of positivity, both to the players and to the fans. Whilst we we're credited at the time for playing 'nice football' I feel this was more due to the confidence in the side and players actually wanting the ball and having no fear in testing opposition defences than it was to a difference in work in the training ground or instruction from the sideline. Throughout the majority of this season it is obvious Coyle's positivity and motivation has wandered, and the players don't seem to have that air of confidence they once had. At times we've showed spirit (Stoke/Blackburn home come to mind) but it seems our motivation has often had to come from outside influences and other factors than merely the management and coaching staff.
Overall tactical naivety isn't the nail I believe Owen will be crucified with, although i'm more than happy for others to try and convince me otherwise. For me what has really done it for him, and for our side, is the disappearence of his main managerial asset, his man management. A couple of years back I felt he was the manager to become our David Moyes, that he'd be given the reigns at the club for our long term future and, although there would be times when some of us would stray, the fans as a whole would stick with him and we could go from strength to strength. I still wish the man the best, and in my heart of hearts I still want him to keep us up, find his old self and push on next year with that same self belief and infectous charisma he had when he joined as manager. Alas I think the reality will be quite different.