JUST IN: The Green Light with FGR fan John Light
I AM ANGRY. Eight defeats in nine matches, out of the FA Cup and heading for the relegation zone.
These are the stark facts that everyone involved with Forest Green Rovers are well aware of. The football side of the club is failing. The team represents a drifting vessel, heading for the relegation rocks.
Saturday could have been a pleasant diversion. A tough but correct decision had been made regarding the management of the team and we had a home draw against a lower league team. An air of anticipation was obvious everywhere, then the match started.
An energetic, effective Bishops Stortford side seized the initiative and only good goalkeeping by Sam Russell kept Rovers in the game. Rovers, playing a sterile 4-4-2 formation were predictable in all they did.
The old faults were there – the inability to deal with crosses or corners from the left (six of the last seven goals conceded have come this way), lack of cutting edge and without James Norwood a lack of pace. The result was a fair one. We were lucky to concede only one goal.
What is going wrong? Leadership on and off the field is obviously a problem. The team represents a drifting vessel heading for the rocks. I see no evidence of captaincy on the field and off it.
Gary Seward, for all his experience is not a number one. If ever a pro-active presence was needed it was Saturday. The game was allowed to slip away. There was no urgency when that was exactly what was required. A chance of a good home draw was lost.
The players need to take a good look at themselves. They were out-paced and out-fought by a team of part timers from a lower league.
It would have been a difficult week for them with caretaker Gary wishing to put his own stamp on affairs but collectively did they give enough to at least draw the game? As individuals they are as pleasant and charming a group of young men that you could wish to meet but when they cross that white line they consistently underachieve, and of course three were unavailable for selection as they were suspended. Three self inflicted wounds.
There were not enough players available to make up a full bench, seven substitutes being allowed in the FA Cup. The FGR bench was one short, such is our injury problem of course Green and Brogan were back in the fold. There was no one else.
These problems (injuries and discipline) are just two that the new manager must deal with. They have been running sores for too long. I am not concerned about what formation he decides to play, but worry instead about the way it is played. We need high energy performances to complement the players’ skill factor, but is that as high as we all expected? Determined displays is something we deserve to see. Then superior skill will be obvious.
That word deserve is key to my anger. There are so many real reasons why the football should and must be better. The people who work unstintingly for the club throughout the week or on match days for example. Those who have made the community side so successful deserve a special mention. The remembrance service last year was memorable and this year’s looks like being more so. Do not let the football keep you away – this is an occasion for us all to be together.
Most of all it is our chairman who has been let down. He has a mature overview and ‘let down’ are my words not his, but certainly his support given to the previous manager and to the club in general, merits a better ‘on field’ display.
With Dale what you see is what you get. There is no hidden agenda. He loves this area, loves the club and wishes it to do better. If it publicizes his company so be it. That is a small price to pay. He has made a tough decision, now he has to make a difficult one. He has over seventy applications to look at and will want to move speedily to a swift conclusion. He knows the cost of his support of this club. We all wait to see the value.
When the appointment is made all of us have a duty. It is simple. We all unite behind the new manager. He may not be our individual choice but will expect, and should receive the unconditional support of everyone. He will be handicapped by the length of some of the existing contracts and will need time to move things forward. His first task is to energize and motivate the players. We can help him do this by being the noisy twelfth man. We can do no less.
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