Greatness Delayed

Here at MakeBluesGreatAgain.com we’re focusing on the day Blues’ famous former greatness is restored.

However, after tonight’s disgraceful defeat to Leeds it looks like the play-offs are pretty much dead, so restoring Blues’ greatness will have to wait for another season.

A few things to say post the Leeds debacle:

13 hours ago I tweeted the following…

rowett tweet

 

Well we got a resounding answer at 7pm ….

‘No’.

Most of us knew it would happen, but starting with three extremely limited, defensive, holding midfielders was a massive error and cost us the game before it even started.

I love Rowett. I’m a Rowett loyalist. The guy is young, bright, articulate, a master man-motivator, he is at ease with the media, he has performed great things with a limited squad, the guy is one of the hottest managerial talents in the game and there is no ceiling for his abilities….

…but that doesn’t mean he is beyond question or scrutiny, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have blind-spots.

Persisting with the same team that beat Reading at the Mad Stad last week highlighted one of Rowett’s major blind-spots – his utter obsession with sticking with a winning team.

Such loyalty to his players is arguably why he is so effective at keeping morale high and bringing out the best in limited footballers, but you have to analyse the results and performances of late and conclude that such rigid thinking is costing us dear.

Simply put, each game in the Championship is its own individual self-contained contest, with specific requirements. What’s good for Reading away, isn’t necessarily good for Leeds at home.

And so it proved.

Blues fans don’t mind 30 odd % possession away from home and winning on two breakaway goals as we did at Reading. But when you’re at home, against a lower mid-table club, the onus is on you to dictate the play, especially when you’re playing catch up with the play off pack.  By flooding the team with holding midfielders who lack ability and creativity and, well, general technique, it sends out the wrong message.

Watching a team saturated with stunted holding midfielders attempt to pass the ball around and over-lap and create for the strikers was like watching two boxers line up to fight, but they each have both of their arms tied behind their back – a tedious, pointless and bleedin’ frustrating spectacle.

The ‘playing three holding midfielders at home’ experiment [if you can call it an experiment, it certainly appears to be a decision based in emotion instead of logic] was attempted and ultimately failed at home to Fulham a few weeks back, when Rowett had to spare his blushes and haul Kieftenbeld off on 50 minutes for the more progressive Maghoma.

To make the same mistake again, tonight, was bamboozling.

I understand that the players executed the game-plan well at Reading and it might have been a ruthless decision to drop one of the midfield spoilers for the home game with Leeds, but it was a decision that needed to happen.

When Rowett caved in tonight and substituted off one of the holding midfielders [this time the woeful Gleeson] and brought on the majestic Toral, Blues looked a far superior outfit and could have easily scored 3/4 goals in the space of 20 minutes but for some poor finishing and even poorer decisions from the officials.

There are other areas of concern, other ‘blind-spots’ such as the seemingly ill-thought out purchase of Fabbrini in January, the length of time it took to recognise that Shotton was centre half material and the bizarre loyalty to the ageing, and unpredictable Paul Robinson, but a deeper discussion on these issues is for another time.

—————————————————————————

On a slight tangent, but another issue that needs to be addressed and one that is becoming more prevalent in modern society, is that of online ‘trolling’.

Where once, internet forums and social media were platforms for informed and reasoned discussion, as with most forms of communication, they are quickly becoming mediums for comedy, parody and spoof.

We see this happening with the Blues forums, especially Small Heath Alliance.

In greater numbers every year, the online millennials are finding that an enjoyable way of spending their free time is to hide behind online ‘characters’ in order to be mischievous, have a laugh and a bit of fun. Some of the characters will be slightly exaggerated versions of the poster themselves, whereas others will adopt totally different personalities in order to add to the online spectacle.

This is happening on Small Heath Alliance with the upsurge in ‘ironic Rowett hatred’.

Posters are falling over themselves to pretend that they’re ‘outraged’ with Rowett. Others ironically and sarcastically call for Rowett to be sacked. Some pretend Lee Clark did a good job. A few opt to operate under the charade that Rowett is a secret Villa fan, giving him the moniker ‘DVB’ [Dirty Villa Bastard].

This is a consequence of the trolling culture that prevails on the internet, but it’s also a backlash to the Cult of Rowett that has sprung up over the past 18 months. It is true, that whenever someone or something is held up as being brilliant and infallible and worthy of high regard, there will be a rebellious counter culture that emerges to act ‘edgy’ and to sail against the tide. This is normal.

Thongs, a good e-friend of mine on Small Heath Alliance is a leading figure in the ironic anti-Rowett counter culture. If you ‘get’ the joke, it’s quite funny, it’s quite intoxicating too and you can find yourself hilariously agreeing that Rowett is worse than Hitler. But it’s all a bit of fun to help the dull working day pass by.

My one concern, and the reason I have mentioned this issue in the blog, is that increasingly the internet fence between us mere proles and footballers / managers is getting thinner and thinner, and I am of little doubt that Rowett and perhaps his younger family members read the fan forums and see some of the comments.

I hope, I truly hope, that Rowett et al, see the mischievous jokey nature to the Rowett-slamming and don’t see the often outlandish criticisms as being serious. It is, truly, just a bit of fun.

There are genuine areas where Rowett deserves to be scrutinised, I have touched on his myopic fixation with remaining loyal to teams who win the week before, that is certainly one area Rowett should be probed on, but the vast majority of the other internet comments are derived from the jokey ‘Isn’t Rowett terrible’ comedic mindset and should be read as such.

Because even though mistakes have been made of late, Rowett remains the best manager outside the Premier League and is idolised by the overwhelming majority of the fans, myself included.

If our tame end of the season ensures we keep hold of Rowett over the summer, strengthen by bringing in better players, sort out the lingering ownership problems off the field and continue to move forwards and build on what we’ve accomplished so far, then surely it won’t be too long before we finally, finally, Make Blues Great Again.

 

– Chris Brown, @vivabrownie

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Greatness Delayed

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