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Iwans Big Toe

A few thoughts post Brighton

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Well that was yet another poor performance and a worse result. The obvious question is where do we go from here?

There was a distinct lack of cutting

edge going forwards, which has been looking more and more prevalent

over the last few weeks. The defence, as has become their trade mark,

looked decidedly shaky and was unable to to keep a clean sheet for

the 11th consecutive league game. The manager was unable

to influence the game and make changes that had any impact. Finally

we are no longer getting away with our poor performances as the

better sides in the league seem to have figured out that if you can

keep it tight and stop us scoring you are going to get three points

because we''ll always give you a goal or five.

So what are the contributing factors to

our poor run of form and how do we go about solving them?

1. Jonny Howson. I don''t think it

coincidental that the results drying up has coincided with Howson

being missing through injury. We have a distinct lack of leaders on

the pitch, those vital players that can gee up the side when we are

struggling. I think that Howson is more or less the only player in

the squad who demonstrates any kind of leadership ability, he is

someone who will battle and cajole when our backs are against the

wall.

2. The difference between Lambert''s 2010

squad and Neil''s 2016 squad. On paper Neil is blessed with an

abundance of players with international, top flight, and Champions

league experience, the reality though seems to be that they are

players that are trading on past glories and lacking in motivation

because they are not hungry enough. Compare the current squad to

Lambert''s 2010 squad and you''ll see a marked difference. In 2010 we

had a bit of experience in Lappin, Drury, Nelson and Wilbrahamovic,

but the squad was mainly full of players with something to prove.

Surman, Barnett, Whitbread and Ruddy for example, important players

in our squad that had been told by Premier League clubs they weren''t

up to the required standard. Then players like Russ, Wes, Holt,

Jackson who would never get an opportunity with another club to play

top flight football like the one they had with us during that season.

I think that this desire is one of the main ingredients missing from

the current squad.

3. Alex Tettey. A cracking player on his

day and a great servant to the club who performs a vital role in

sitting in front of the back four and breaking up play, but his

distribution seems to be getting worse and this means he often causes us more problems than he solves as we are under pressure immediately as he gives the ball away in our own half. We

desperately need an upgrade. May be it''s time to give Louis Thompson

a chance. After all what is the point in snapping up these young

players if they are not given an opportunity to impress?

4. Inability to sign the required

players. Last year we needed to pull the stops out and strengthen

defensively, nothing was done, and this is still a failure that

continues to haunt us. Then this year we desperately needed to sign

another goal scorer and again nothing was done except the signing of

the hardly prolific Oliviera. Add to this the signings of players

like Naismith, who seems to be on a par with RVW with lack of return

on investment and it is clear that our whole scouting network needs a

serious overhaul. January is fast approaching and our dealings in the

transfer market need to be greatly improved. IMO we need to attempt

to ship out several players, Naismith, Lafferty, Olsson and Bassong

chief among them. Then we need to sign at least one awe inspiring center

forward, someone of the calibre of Danny Ings, Nouha Dicko or Britt

Assombalonga. In addition to this I would like to see two new left

backs, plus a leader for central midfield and central defence. But

the main requirement is that any new signings are driven and hungry

for success. All of this is of course a very big ask, especially given the recent capability of our

“transfer board” to get business done.

So then, it''s just lack of desire, lack

of on field leadership, lack of transfer signings and lack of

defensive stability that are the main problems we face. If we can

address these before the end of January we have a chance of a swift

return to the top flight. If we do not I can see several years of

languishing in the Championship before a return is possible. This

then brings the spectre of what happened to the club post-Worthy, and

even more ominously the last year or so have felt rather like the

last couple of the Worthington era. There''s a scary thought for you

on halloween.

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A very good and well substantiated post. I almost forgot how good the 2010 squad were under Paul Lambert. Not because they were a team of big names or premier league quality, but because they gave it their all and did their positional duties well. Whenever it wasn''t working, PL would change the system and try again (even as early as 20 minutes in). Today exemplified the ''rabbit in the headlights'' approach by our current manager. You can''t always beat teams by just having better players. The test of a good manager is doing something when it clearly isn''t working.

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[quote user="Iwans Big Toe"]

Well that was yet another poor performance and a worse result. The obvious question is where do we go from here?

There was a distinct lack of cutting

edge going forwards, which has been looking more and more prevalent

over the last few weeks. The defence, as has become their trade mark,

looked decidedly shaky and was unable to to keep a clean sheet for

the 11th consecutive league game. The manager was unable

to influence the game and make changes that had any impact. Finally

we are no longer getting away with our poor performances as the

better sides in the league seem to have figured out that if you can

keep it tight and stop us scoring you are going to get three points

because we''ll always give you a goal or five.

So what are the contributing factors to

our poor run of form and how do we go about solving them?

1. Jonny Howson. I don''t think it

coincidental that the results drying up has coincided with Howson

being missing through injury. We have a distinct lack of leaders on

the pitch, those vital players that can gee up the side when we are

struggling. I think that Howson is more or less the only player in

the squad who demonstrates any kind of leadership ability, he is

someone who will battle and cajole when our backs are against the

wall.

2. The difference between Lambert''s 2010

squad and Neil''s 2016 squad. On paper Neil is blessed with an

abundance of players with international, top flight, and Champions

league experience, the reality though seems to be that they are

players that are trading on past glories and lacking in motivation

because they are not hungry enough. Compare the current squad to

Lambert''s 2010 squad and you''ll see a marked difference. In 2010 we

had a bit of experience in Lappin, Drury, Nelson and Wilbrahamovic,

but the squad was mainly full of players with something to prove.

Surman, Barnett, Whitbread and Ruddy for example, important players

in our squad that had been told by Premier League clubs they weren''t

up to the required standard. Then players like Russ, Wes, Holt,

Jackson who would never get an opportunity with another club to play

top flight football like the one they had with us during that season.

I think that this desire is one of the main ingredients missing from

the current squad.

3. Alex Tettey. A cracking player on his

day and a great servant to the club who performs a vital role in

sitting in front of the back four and breaking up play, but his

distribution seems to be getting worse and this means he often causes us more problems than he solves as we are under pressure immediately as he gives the ball away in our own half. We

desperately need an upgrade. May be it''s time to give Louis Thompson

a chance. After all what is the point in snapping up these young

players if they are not given an opportunity to impress?

4. Inability to sign the required

players. Last year we needed to pull the stops out and strengthen

defensively, nothing was done, and this is still a failure that

continues to haunt us. Then this year we desperately needed to sign

another goal scorer and again nothing was done except the signing of

the hardly prolific Oliviera. Add to this the signings of players

like Naismith, who seems to be on a par with RVW with lack of return

on investment and it is clear that our whole scouting network needs a

serious overhaul. January is fast approaching and our dealings in the

transfer market need to be greatly improved. IMO we need to attempt

to ship out several players, Naismith, Lafferty, Olsson and Bassong

chief among them. Then we need to sign at least one awe inspiring center

forward, someone of the calibre of Danny Ings, Nouha Dicko or Britt

Assombalonga. In addition to this I would like to see two new left

backs, plus a leader for central midfield and central defence. But

the main requirement is that any new signings are driven and hungry

for success. All of this is of course a very big ask, especially given the recent capability of our

“transfer board” to get business done.

So then, it''s just lack of desire, lack

of on field leadership, lack of transfer signings and lack of

defensive stability that are the main problems we face. If we can

address these before the end of January we have a chance of a swift

return to the top flight. If we do not I can see several years of

languishing in the Championship before a return is possible. This

then brings the spectre of what happened to the club post-Worthy, and

even more ominously the last year or so have felt rather like the

last couple of the Worthington era. There''s a scary thought for you

on halloween.

[/quote]
Insightful read. But we were top of the league not long ago. Perhaps sleep on it and wait for Leeds?

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In the last fortnight I''ve started to see Howson as much more important than I previously thought.

In our current formation we have two attacking fullbacks, two attacking wingers and our fifth midfielder inevitably out wide/ in the box. This leaves the entire midfield third to be marshaled by our two sitting midfielders; Tettey and Dorrans have been found to severely lack the engine and speed to do this and as a result we are losing the midfield battle every single time.

Howson gives us a box-to-box motor which is oh-so important when we expose our defence with this style of play. It''s no surprise the negatives have started to mount up.

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Very good OP. The lack of desire, mental fortitude, whatever you want to call it, becomes more obvious with each game.

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The result today emphasises that we have a problem or two.

Either with our manager or our players.

The ''happies'' can no longer brush it under the carpet.

The dubious amongst us take no delight in being proven correct.

We now need the biggest and most successful rebound since Neil Adams left.

One point from nine, topped with a thrashing is a major slump.

Top of the league to embarrassment in a few short weeks.

AN will be tested as never before. Make or break Wee Alex?

OTBC.

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Exactly.

BUT: How much did the Hudders squad cost?

How much are they paid?

I think that these two factors are the basis of our discontent.

We don''t expect to win our way to the top table, but we shouldn''t have to put up with losers.

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BroadstairsR, I have a vague recollection that you''d said AN should have ten games this season and when he''d passed your test, that he deserved the full season. Maybe my memory is playing tricks.

So while I''m not entirely sure you take no delight in being proven correct, your position on AN appears to have shifted along with the results.

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The things is though everyone seems to be taking the fact we were top of the league as evidence that everything was OK. It wasn''t and the flaws that were costing us points were still present and evident in patches of almost every game we have played this season. In my view we just got by in many of the games against weaker opposition due to our greater attacking quality.

I see no evidence that Neil has learnt anything or is managing this squad of players effectively. We are far less than the sum of our parts and beating Leeds will prove nothing to me. We must not prolong a decision until the likes of Villa catch us up or Brighton are out of reach.

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We have played 15 games ,scored 26 and conceded 24. These are not statistics that will see us in the top two. The last two games have seen us shut out, defend well and hit us on the break. Alex has been found out, maybe he will be great one day but personally I don''t think so.

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I do however take great delight in stating Alex Neil is a poor manager and will always be so and in telling it is at is. But that is only one small part of our problems the major problem being our spineless, football knowledge deficient Board of Directors. Who want me to endorse the nonsensical appointments of Balls and Young Tom at the AGM, and MWJ to be reappointed in my Annual Report pack. Does Jez have the moxey to shake them out of their malaise, of course not. We can look forward to years of mediocrity.

Don''t start me on recruitment.

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Good post. The signings thing is a huge issue, when was the last player we prized away a player from another team who didn''t want to sell? We signed some good players like Pritchard and Canos but basically players like them were a) being made available by their parent club for transfer and b) not really in a position we desperately needed to strengthen. Because they were good players probably the club passified the fans alittle who were calling out for a new centre back and an out and out striker.

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Very good OP, I have thought for a while now that the good work done by Tettey breaking up play and protecting the back four is cancelled out by his poor distribution and tendency to slow down counter attacks, I think he is more effective when he has Johnny Howson alongside him in midfield. The yellow card means he misses the Leeds game, so maybe it is time for Louis Thompson to be given a chance to step up to the plate.......

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Can''t disagree with anything you have written here, which is a shame as i would like to be positive having had an extra hours sleep. The list of negatives is growing, all because our expectations were raised. Lambert & McNally managed to do that in a few short years. On the back of that i expected the board to go on that same journey of continuous improvement. For a short period AN survived and prospered on the tail end of what was built before so he clearly has something. However the board have clearly not improved, enjoying the success as if they were the major partner/reason, yet silent when issues surface as if to "blame the manager, team, fans, brexit, exchange rate etc" and all this going on so Chairman (lackov) Balls continues to further his own career whilst Rome starts to ignite. Obviously i do not blame the board for this winless streak, it would be ridiculous to blame this streak on one thing (the combination of issues raised by Iwan''s Big Toe listed a number of these) however they rode the wave of success but suddenly quiet now the issues are starting to surface. Don''t get me into transfer deadline day activities, perceptions etc!Do they think they can just fine dine at the top table and blame the serf''s, servants and staff for the troubled waters? or worse this is their pension for what limited working lives they (as we all) have left. No investment, not even looking to sell, content to sell the ground home & away and only spend what we receive. Great parochial view when the likes of a Lambert & McNally ride in, relieving the pressure on them, not so great when all around us are improving. As is the case, by doing nothing we move steadily backwards, just ask any decent (of which there are thousands just like us) Ipswich fan. So my main gripe is i''m afraid aimed at the board, a collection of local shopkeepers, regional businessmen, family members, failed politicians. The movers and shakers moved on, what''s left is ...............cue tumbleweed, hardly inspiring.Any wonder why we haven''t been sold? well, because they don''t want to, they are doing well out of it thank you.Again add this to the number of on-field issues and we have the beginnings of a bit of a problem brewing, it now takes bravery, forward thinking and acumen to takes us forward. I like AN but think he is becoming increasingly isolated and blamed, the board need to start showing leadership and direction and to show the fans exactly why they are there.

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I''ve written before about the board''s role in our downfall, but from

Alex Neil''s perspective a few general points follow, not all mutually

exclusive :-

1) We''ve held on to too many players for too long, too often spurring the opportunity to take a profit and reinvest.2) Too much focus on short term targets; hence we''ve gone up, got in too many older players, loanees and not stuck with a playing style.3) Lack of investment in players in their mid-20s with experience.4)

We have failed to bring on many of the younger players and often farmed out their development to teams of dubious quality.5) As a consequence of some of our transfers, we''ve found it both harder to sell and retain some of our big earners.6) Lack of fitness has been evident and commented upon by many.7) Lack of tactical accumen; we seem to be too gung ho, and lack a lot

of the basics that Parma has alluded to. As the side has weakened over

time this has translated into conceding too many goals.8) Lack

of passing and possession ability. Nutty, LDC and Duncan have mentioned

Dave Stringer''s sides as being the gold standard for this aspect of our playing style. We are

far, far below that level, and it should be what we focus on (as

opposed to big money signings) if we want to compete.

There

has been the vague post-Preston rumour doing the rounds, Ray''s posts

about Alex Neil''s management skills/inexperience and disharmony in the squad. All of these are negatives from Alex

Neil''s perspective, but the above numbered points can be influenced by our

board.I''m

not too sure what happened with Ed Balls'' 10 year plan, but I think we

need a much greater footballing input when it comes to decision making

and general management of the club.I think the board clearly needs strengthening, and quite possibly the general management structure altered. The football board needs

to be re-implemented in a beefed up form and proper plans need to be

formulated to deal with the above issues. It''s worrying that we don''t hear about any such plans, particularly when lots of these problems have been recurrent for years.The corporatisation of the Bowkett &

McNally era was hailed by many for its macho ''big balls'' methodology. But at least post-Lambert, this approach hasn''t proved to be a lasting

success as it has lacked footballing input and long term strategy.The bottom line is that whoever is manager, they need to work within a stricter and better-planned framework. And that framework should be provided by the board.

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