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Emotional times!

April 10, 2016

Before Cloughie came back, I’d enjoyed lots of good old-fashioned football banter with decent Derby and Sheff Utd supporters.

Off course, our Nige would come up in convo. Some liked him, some didn’t – that’s football.

I’d always point out to supporters of both clubs that from an outside perspective, he’d left their respective club in a better position than when he joined. Most of them would agree.

But the same comments would come from most people: Naïve tactics, baffling substitutions, player fall-outs.

Being the staunch Clough-disciple, this was near blasphemy to me!

But it also struck a chord how so many different supporters of those clubs would make those comments.

So, back to the Albion. I was unsure if Clough coming back was the right thing (here’s my piece on that here)

The stunning 3-0 win away at Gillingham eased early doubts, and the points continued to roll in.

Clough was true to his word in keeping things pretty much the same. The formation stayed the same, the line up was the same, so in turn, results stayed the same.

Any slight changes were made for the better – Clough bringing out an attacking side of Calum Butcher that I didn’t know existed! Lucas Akins also began to flourish, after looking short of confidence in Jimmy’s final weeks.

Nasser El Khayati leaving was a blow. In an organised, efficient, and hard-working team, he was the wildcard, the man who could produce that bit of magic to send you back down the road (the M6, normally) with the points. Blackpool, Oldham, Wigan away, Nasser was a vital part in us taking 9 vital points from those 3 away games.

But still, the points trickled in.

Clough oversaw brilliant away wins at Coventry and Sheff Utd. After both games he told how at half-time he’d given the players a bit of a rollicking, said the game was there to be won if they upped it. On both occasions we indeed upped it and won.

Hats off to Cloughie there, a point at both the Ricoh and Bramall Lane would’ve been acceptable but Clough didn’t let the players get complacent, and valuable points were won.

So the season’s rolling along nicely, yeah we’re losing the odd game but hey, it’s a competitive league and we seem to be bouncing back well.

I’m quite pleased with how the return of Clough is going. It just feels “right” having him back as manager.

He was given a thankless task, lost a key talisman, but we’re still up there – a commendable job so far.

The 4-0 win at Vale, wow, you’re thinking promotion is now a certainty.

Then comes the last 3 weeks and 4 games.

We were flat against a good competitive Oldham side, but still get a point. As Clough says post-match, at this point of the season you’re going to have games when the players are feeling it a bit.

Fair enough, onto Millwall we go.

For me, to name the exact same XI just 48 hours after such a flat showing against Oldham, especially when you have fit players on the bench desperate for a game, just couldn’t work that one out? Okay you can argue (and I said it on facebook) if Duffy had converted his early chance and we knicked the win, then maybe the line-up would’ve been justified. But that didn’t happen, and some players just looked knackered.

Very strange decision.

Onto Bury at home and thankfully Weir is back in the starting XI, but we’re all beginning to wonder what’s going on with Shane Cansdell-Sheriff? Named on the bench again with Tom Flanagan keeping his spot, unless SCS is struggling with an injury it just doesn’t add up?

Onto the game, and in the terraces Sam had already pointed out “Hamza looks like he’s got a 40-yarder or a red-card in him..”.

Now once Hamza had been booked, considering the way he plays, why was he not subbed? Post-match and Clough says they were thinking about taking him off.. well why wasn’t it done?

Down to 10 men but we still rescue a point.

Onto Scunthorpe, once again there’s no SCS in the starting XI.

We lose 1-0 – I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve heard we didn’t play too badly. No complaints from me, other results weren’t disastrous for us, onto Barnsley.

So just to keep you upto date – Saturday night, a content Brewer.

Sunday morning – have a muse over the Albion facebook page, then I see the posts from a very reliable source (which have since been removed) which all but confirm that Clough and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff have had a fallout.

Update – frustrated and disillusioned Brewer.

There was a little bit more to the posts, which painted a less than rosy picture of the current mood within the squad.

I just couldn’t believe it, for goodness sake how petty is this – surely if it was that bad, SCS wouldn’t be involved with the squad altogether?

So here’s where my frustration comes out and I need to vent.

We are on the brink of an amazing achievement for our small club, which will come with a sizeable financial reward. Don’t give me that “I’d have settled for 20th” bullshit – this set of players are better than that, this team as a whole is much better than that as they have shown on countless occasions over the last 2 years.

We’ve got to where we are by playing a certain disciplined way, relying on clean sheets, with the back 4 of Edwards, Mous, SCS, McCrory being pivotal.

The stats back this up – at one point this season the back 4 of Edwards, Mous, SCS, McCrory kept 8 consecutive clean sheets when played together – 751 minutes – over 12.5 hours!! (Thanks to the Burton Mail!)

We simply look steadiest at the back with the above 4.

This is an amazing opportunity for our club which we may not get again. In order to give us the best chance of realising this dream, surely our best team should take to the park??

Granted I don’t know the full story re; Clough/SCS, but is it that big an issue it can’t be resolved? Or is SCS simply the latest player that Clough has fallen out with?

Whatever your views on this, I don’t think you can deny those particular facebook posts were worrying.

It brings me back around to the opinions of Derby/Sheff U fans, and I feel like I can empathise with them a lot more now.

At this moment in time, the best footballing decisions need to be made for the sake of our football club.

I don’t see how having a fit Shane Cansdell-Sheriff sat on the bench at such a crucial time, is the best footballing decision for our football club.

But hey, I’ll support this fantastic team we have right until the end and I’ll always be grateful to Nigel Clough for what he’s done for this club.

Go on Nigel, get us over that finish-line and shut me up…

UTB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From → The Albion.

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