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ncfcstar

Expectations and Reality

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The season is crawling to a close, we''ve got two games left and a win against West Brom will all but seal PL football for another year (potentially even a point will do it, but a win PLEASE!) The last few weeks have been beyond dire for any NCFC fan, even for those who are the most positive in their support.  We''ve backed ourselves into a corner quite simply by running into it ourselves long before our attackers even began the chase.That being said, the result last night should spur the fans and players on for the game on Sunday.  Although the atmosphere would have been good on Sunday, with some pressure relieved it has to be a positive thing.  The players can play with slightly less pressure (which may have enveloped them had Wigan won) and the fans don''t have to check the scores every 2 minutes.  If we stay up, we deserve to stay up, end of story and fingers crossed we seal it on Sunday.Which leads me onto my main point - some expectations are too high.  Yes we all wish we could have been (and should have been if not for some dire performances both from the players and officials) safe by now, but Hughton''s job is to keep us up this year.  A year in which we pay off our external debts and were hindered by this, a year in which our ''saviour'' left for pastures new.  Hughton faced an uphill task from the off and we''d have all taken this situation come 36 games in.  Many have argued that this season should have been about stabilising the club.  How so when the club is financially disabled in comparison to others (ala Swansea who are only 8 points ahead) and when Hughton had to replace the enigmatic Lambert?  Stabilising the club is all well and good but what does it mean? In my opinion it simply means surviving.  Fulham will probably be held as the ''perfect example'' yet year after year they aren''t safe until a few games from the end.  Even this season their current tally of 40 points could potentially see them go down.  Why do we suddenly think that stability means any better than this?Our expectations are exceeding reality - survival in the Premier League is the main aim, and will continue to be, season in season out.  I''m not saying surviving means 17th.  Surviving means you could finish anywhere between 8th and 17th, the points gap is rarely that big between the positions.  If you honestly think survival is going to mean being safe a month of two before game 38 then I think you might struggle to enjoy any more seasons in the PL (if we stay up!) Realistically teams from 8th down will all come close to the relegation zone come May and whilst some will feel safer than others we''re going to be looking at the maths for years to come.Of course this is all on the proviso that we survive this season, and I pray to God that next year brings more positive football and a smoother ride towards the end of the season.  I''m firmly of the opinion that Hughton wants to play more attacking football, the signing of RvW isn''t just for a laugh, but if we continue this negative dirge I''d have him out by October.  Just get realistic guys, fans of the bottom 12 PL clubs are all unsure when the season starts, we can put ourselves at an advantage over the others but you just have to look at Fulham and Stoke to see how even ''stabilised'' PL teams flirt with relegation from time to time.

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The truly frustrating part isn''t about the final league position, as I think 90% of fans would have taken 17th if given it as a certainty this season, it''s the god awful football and tactics that''s been used to acheive it, along with genuine concerns about development and playing style going forwards from this.Yes, we''d all like to be challenging for Europe or reaching cup finals, but the reality is that the money at the very top makes this a glass ceiling that''s almost impossible to break through, and therefore we HAVE to be satisfied with 8th or better, and ecstatic if we go beyond this.What I don''t want to have happen is that we stay in this league, but at the cost of playing the good quality football that we were once known for, in exchange for ''bruiser ball'' like they play at Stoke etc.Other teams in this 8th to 17th band manage to stay there without offering dross on the pitch, so why should we ''expect'' anything less???

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its not about finishing 17th.

Its the worry that the form performances are so poor that we wont achieve 17th next season.

Its easy to attract RvWs when you have a high profile run and mid table finish, not so easy with a run of 3 wins in the last 21 games and escaping relegation by the skin of your teeth. Low confidence and not strengthening in summer could mean a bad start to the season.

Take out what increasing looks like a freak run of 10 games and we have 2 wins in 26 games and some poor quality football and not looking good for another win. Have that sort of ratio next season and we will be relegated...

Thats not unrealistic expectations, thats the level of performances we have had this season.

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[quote user="Indy_Bones"]The truly frustrating part isn''t about the final league position, as I think 90% of fans would have taken 17th if given it as a certainty this season, it''s the god awful football and tactics that''s been used to acheive it, along with genuine concerns about development and playing style going forwards from this.Other teams in this 8th to 17th band manage to stay there without offering dross on the pitch, so why should we ''expect'' anything less???[/quote]I don''t disagree with you Indy, and like I said that''s why I''d give Hughton until October.  I think a lot of our fans, more than the 10% you claim, expected us to better our position last season when in all honesty it''s unlikely to happen.  If we stay up as a random guess I can see finishes of something along the lines of 10th, 16th, 9th, 14th, 10th in the next 5 years.  It doesn''t mean we''re getting worse, of not performing as well - it''s just the way the PL works.Yes we''ve been terrible at points this season, but this has also helped us to some great results.  Man U, Arsenal (and it would have been Arsenal home and away).  My feeling is Hughton can use these tactics again next season against the top 4-6 sides successfully - but he has to be more attacking against the rest of the division.  I can''t see why with the signing of some flair and potency up front he wont do this.  He wont abandon it completely as it clearly works against the better sides, but move towards attacking the others - I think this would be an acceptable conclusion for all parties.

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Even under the 10 match unbeaten run I said that anything higher than a 17th finish was a successful season.

 

Had we finished in the top 12 or 10 would have been superb, but when you consider just how tight 10th to 18th is after 36 games, it shows just how most teams have a similar quality of squad. So in reality you can spend 80 million on players or 10 million it doesn not always mean you buy a top 17 finish in this great league.

 

Next season will be no different, we could finish anywhere from 20th to 7th.

 

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[quote user="Indy"]Next season will be no different, we could finish anywhere from 20th to 7th.[/quote]The former being under Hughton and latter under someone who knows how to use their squad and isn''t afraid to actually attack...

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[quote user="Indy_Bones"][quote user="Indy"]Next season will be no different, we could finish anywhere from 20th to 7th.[/quote]The former being under Hughton and latter under someone who knows how to use their squad and isn''t afraid to actually attack...[/quote]

Ian Hollaway knows how to attack.

Cheers....

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