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ABC (A Basingstoke Canary)

Premiership survival this time vs last time

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There are 2 key factors as to why I feel more convinced about Premiership survival this time around - and they are both to do with PL:

 

1st - Lambert hasn''t consigned to the scrapheap the key players that helped us get to the Premiership!

 

2nd - Probably more importantly, I would bet my house that the current group would not capitulate like the last group did at Fulham - it''s not in the make up of any of the current squad to "give up"

 

What kind of deluded man (mis) management was NW performing by denying Iwan & Malky the right to at least "have a go" in the Premiership - especially after how they performed in getting us there! It left a sour taste in my mouth then - and still does today. Now compare to PL - and every member of his squad would "run through a wall" for him

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My memory might be wrong, but wasn''t Iwan very much a bit part player in the squad during the promotion year - hardly the man who dragged us into the Premier League. I also understand that in discussion with Malky he asked if he wanted to extend his contract but become a back-up player he said he would rather play week-in week-out, something Worthington couldn''t promise him (I think we should all remember just how slow he was that year). They were great players and City legends, but I would never want to see a player kept on beyond their time due to emotional reasons.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I should imagine everyone would do things a little differently if they had the chance again. Hopefully there won''t be so many regrets this time around.

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The decision to not renew the contracts of Iwan and Malky was the correct one, neither were up to the pace and intensity of Premier League.

Iwan moved on to Gillingham I think and made no impact whatsoever whilst Malky did what he did for us at West Ham and Watford before both Pardew and Bothroyd like Worthy understood his limitations and how they would be severely punished at the top level.

Where Worthington got it wrong was bringing in the right players.

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Iwan didn''t play much in our promotion season. If he was in the match squad he tended to be a sub. Though both he and Malky were into their 30s. Personally I would say that it was Huckerby who played the biggest part in our promotion.

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The story on Malky at the time as I heard it, was that the decision was made to get rid of him to avoid paying a bonus that he was due under his contract in the summer.  A deal was agreed with Coventry while he was away at the Scotland team camp.  On his return, Malky managed to get a better deal with West Ham.

 

The justification was that he was too slow to deal with the likes of Thierry Henry in the Prem.  So we ended up with... the Doc and Simon Charlton (all 5'' 11" of him) as our first choice CBs and then Shackell was brought in to the team with far too little experience under his belt.  Maybe they were a bit quicker than Malky, but neither was anything like as good in the air (both defensively, and scoring goals from set pieces) or had Malky''s leadership qualities.  In the Prem I lost count of the number of goals we conceded to simple headers in the 6 yard box.  Personally I''m convinced that with Malky still playing, we''d have conceded less goals and he''d have scored a few as well, which would probably have been enough to make the difference at the end of the season.

 

Iwan was just a squad player in our promotion, but given that about 10 games in we were starting with the Doc up front, it would have been handy to still have him in the squad in the Prem !

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[quote user="211203"]

The story on Malky at the time as I heard it, was that the decision was made to get rid of him to avoid paying a bonus that he was due under his contract in the summer.  A deal was agreed with Coventry while he was away at the Scotland team camp.  On his return, Malky managed to get a better deal with West Ham.

 

The justification was that he was too slow to deal with the likes of Thierry Henry in the Prem.  So we ended up with... the Doc and Simon Charlton (all 5'' 11" of him) as our first choice CBs and then Shackell was brought in to the team with far too little experience under his belt.  Maybe they were a bit quicker than Malky, but neither was anything like as good in the air (both defensively, and scoring goals from set pieces) or had Malky''s leadership qualities.  In the Prem I lost count of the number of goals we conceded to simple headers in the 6 yard box.  Personally I''m convinced that with Malky still playing, we''d have conceded less goals and he''d have scored a few as well, which would probably have been enough to make the difference at the end of the season.

 

Iwan was just a squad player in our promotion, but given that about 10 games in we were starting with the Doc up front, it would have been handy to still have him in the squad in the Prem !

[/quote]Absolutely agree about Malky - as a central defender you don''t necessarily need speed, if you have the experience and the ability to read the game, to enable you to be one step ahead of any opposition forward. Those of us old enough to remember the late, great, Bobby Moore will know what I mean - he certainly wasn''t the quickest, but he could read the game better than anybody, and his ability to anticipate what an opponent was about to do was almost like mind-reading.I know Malky wasn''t quite in that class, but considering our defensive record in 04-05 was the worst in the Prem by some margin, I think even the half-dozen or so goals he would have prevented, would have been enough to keep us up that year.

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One thing we really need to do this time is to get our first win early in the season. I  really thought that awful winless run at the start of the last Prem season started to get to the players mentally, whereas if we had scraped a win in that first home game against Palace, the added confidence would have carried us on to win several of the games that we actually ended up drawing during that run. I am sure any team managed by PL will show plenty of mental toughness, but they are only human after all, and several games without a win could start to sow the seeds of doubt. Let''s hope the early season fixture list is a bit kinder this time!

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