Often Partisan

Dear Lee: Leeds Preview

Blues face Leeds today in what is a crunch game in the Championship – win it and the teams around us lose and we are virtually mathematically safe; the reverse and we are in deep trouble. A game without a win today also sets a much unwanted all-time record in the Championship of seventeen home league games without a win. With this in mind I’ve decided to dispense with the normal style of these pieces and address this directly to Lee Clark.

Dear Lee

It’s not been the greatest of seasons has it? Teetering on the cusp of relegation without a home league win in seven months on the pitch; various stuff beyond your control off it. I wonder how you cope with your ears burning at all the horrible stuff people say about you on social media but you’re a  tough East End of Newcastle lad and I’m sure you don’t look at what people say about you online.

All this talk of unity in the dressing room, these attempts at breaking the home game hoodoo are going to come to nought if you keep playing formations like the one you did against Blackburn. I’m not sure even you were convinced by the team you played and they reacted in the manner we all knew they would – they went down heavily within 45 minutes. Heads dropped, fans departed home and that depressive feeling returned big time to St Andrew’s.

We have to face up to the team not being very good and work around it – and for me the only way to win a game is to score goals. We’re unlikely to keep a clean sheet at the moment so let’s attack Leeds – have a word with Nikola, he loves playing against them and scoring against them. Wind him up – get him firing and we’ll win. Tell Kiko that there are scouts in the crowd who are watching him, that there is the big contract he wants out there – he needs to earn it. Tell Chris Burke that unless he wants to spend his life in this division he needs to show he can do it consistently. Tell them all that it’s only Jack Butland in goal and didn’t they score bucketloads past him in training last year?

I know you have a bee in your bonnet about back seat tacticians and about people criticising how you place your personnel but to be fair Lee, I think people were almost unanimous in being critical of Monday. As a first choice eleven it was okay – but not in those positions. I don’t care if people have played in those positions for their under 14s team – it’s not going to work. Caddis at right back, Packwood/Thorpe/Martin at centre half – Spector if you are desperate for experience there – Hancox at left back. It’s not hard.

What it comes down to Lee, is that passion will only get you so far. It’ll get you over the line when it’s been a long drawn out battle but you’ve got to be in position to get over the line first – and you don’t get there by handicapping your team with a daft selection or by playing players who can’t cut it. I’m going to say something controversial here but I don’t think I care right now who is banging them in training and who is turning up three hours late wearing a tutu and declaiming that they are Fairy Queen of all England – you need to pick your best players on the pitch, the ones who do it when the “real ball” (c) Steve Bruce comes out – and that doesn’t include Peter Lovenkrands. Give him a mic and tell him to practice being a pundit.

Hopefully, come six o’clock we’ll all be happy and relieved Blues fans and you can have a pint in peace – the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about right now.

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53 Responses to “Dear Lee: Leeds Preview”

  • DoctorD says:

    Can I add a PS?
    PS Tell Nikola it’s his last three games for the club so he had better put in a good shift and go out on a high.

    • Steve says:

      He was our best player again today.Worked his cobs off.

      • Chris W says:

        And achieved nothing… as usual
        Plenty of arm waving and moaning at the referee…
        First half maybe he won a few headers but to nobody.
        To be fair I don’t think many, if any, could be pleased with their second half performances…

        • Pete says:

          All our first half chances came from his knock backs, Adeyemi’s miss after 10 minutes, Novaks volley, Burkes attempted shot. Only Novak and Macheda know what to do when he is under the ball. Give Burke a rest and play them three on Tuesday.

        • Steve says:

          He did what he had to do.It’s not his fault if nobody is around him to feed off his headers.he has to start again on Tuesday with Macheda up front wiith him.

        • Steve says:

          He did what he had to do.It’s not his fault if nobody is around him to feed off his headers.he has to start again on Tuesday with Macheda up front wiith him.

          • Chris W says:

            I disagree, he does better as a second half impact player.
            After 4 years at the club you would think A) managers would know how to get the best out of him.
            We become one dimensional, long ball up for Ziggy, that is not his game. He wants the ball to feet, he is a skilful ball player and can bring a lot more to our game. he is not and never has been a target man, he is not and never has been an aggressive centre forward, probably the manager who saw that was McCleish.
            I like Zigic but not the way he plays, or rather the way he is expected to play, he either can’t or hasn’t adapted to the old English style and now it is too late.

          • Steve says:

            I,m sick of hearing this impact player shite.Always play your best players.And he is one of our best players.

          • Chris W says:

            He has been one of our best players I agree, he just hasn’t performed regularly this season, the same as all the players, no consistency.
            This season has seen teams put two players on Burke and snuffed him out and since we have been so dysfunctional and one dimensional this has resulted in our attacking options humping the ball to Zigic and no other options.

        • Chas says:

          No matter how well he played, you would slag him off. . Burke did SFA all the match and no-one complained.

        • Chas says:

          No matter how well he played, you would slag him off. . Burke did SFA all the match and no-one complained.

          • Chris W says:

            I have mentioned Burke on other blogs and there have been games I have praised Zigic.
            Burke has not performed most of this season, but then who has?
            Is it the players fault or the managers? We have no leadership on the field, we have no one who can pick the team up, maybe that affected Burke the last too games, give the armband to Randolph or Spector.

    • Pete says:

      someone must have, because he won every header today and was probably man of the match. Adeyemi was also good until he tired in the second half. Burke, should have been dragged and poor Hancox fired himself up too much. All said, you can attribute some part in all the goals to Tom Thorpe, his man got the first, a poor header to Huws led to the free kick for the second, and the third came from his poor ball out of defence. The worrying thing is that the first half was as good as we have played since xmas and we still got spanked by a team who didn’t threat at all. I hope lee Clarke gets pissed and falls down the stairs tonight, incapacitating himself for the next 10 days.

  • Dan Nietsche says:

    Unusual strong and direct approach, but you are right. Let’s just hope this season doesn’t end on the lowest possible low. I knew it’d be a fight this year, but we are in a fighting position and have it pretty much in our own hands. Let’s just hope the manager and more importantly the team get it together and we can put this season aside starting anew next year. (although, as the financial side goes, that might even be harder)

    • Tony says:

      Just a footnote to Dans letter.
      Mr Clark your reign at St Andrews has been an unmitigated disaster from your team selections ,,Tactics, your behind the scenes politics to your refusal to see what any fan can see.
      As far as many of us are concerned it is impossible for you to redeem the situation and we live for the day you depart our club.
      You see Mr Clark this is our club ,you will depart soon to follow other paths (other than football management) but we cant depart, this club is in our blood. we were born into it and will die the same.
      Your ability as a manager has been found sadly wanting, you must realise that ,why don’t you resign? yes even at this stage you could do that it would give us all a lift and give us a chance of survival.
      On the tip of the most important game for a long time I have no confidence we can pull through prove me wrong, play players in their correct positions, you sit in the stands, having no input will benefit us.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    The outbursts by Clark and Robinson have effectively poisoned the atmosphere and I would be very surprised if we see a long awaited turn around in this fixture. Our best chance of survival is for Blackpool to lose away to Wigan today and then their last home match against Charlton. We then don’t have to worry about securing the worst home record in the club’s history.

  • Chris W says:

    Straight and to the point Dan, putting more or less what most of us have been trying to say for weeks.
    Will LC read it, will he take any notice?
    LC has done everything the Lee Clark way since he arrived, the strange thing is he hasn’t learnt from his Huddersfield days and still believes he is right and the players are letting him and us down.
    Sorry, as the saying goes “We win together, we lose together.” Except in LC’S case.
    When we win it is “My team or My boys” lose and it becomes “The team or The players”.
    Today has to be the time when Fans, Players and Manager are all singing from the same song sheet.
    Win and we can play the last two games without too much pressure and enjoy the end of season. I feel that if we win today another will follow against Wigan.
    Our fate is in our hands, lets grasp it with both hands.

  • Stan031 says:

    We’ll put Dan, only thing you missed out was the need to put the opposition on the back foot by playing 2 strikers! IMO this is where he digs his heels in and refuses to see the wood for the tree’s. Macheda and Ziggy up front will see us home, just try it from the start – you may just like it!!

  • naime 787 says:

    Well said Dan we need to get something out off the game today and thats the bottom line

  • Ali Duncan says:

    4-4-2 kiko and Ziggy upfront. Direct old school attacking football please.

  • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

    Why have you written that piece directly to Lee when you say yourself that ‘I’m sure you don’t look at what people say about you online’? No point? Anyway look lads, stout hearts etc… Lee got it wrong last week, it happens and has always happened at Blues. Lets put it behind us and win today’s game. First and foremost stop the silly early gift goals we keep giving away at home. All 3 of Blackburns first goals could and should have been stopped. You’re right though Dan, attack from the off. Lets score first for a change and let Leeds do the worrying.

    • Pele says:

      maybe because he didn’t expect LC to really read it and its just a way to do an article in a different way?!!!! perhaps Paul you shouldn’t take everything u read so literally

  • Gary says:

    I would add that should Blues lose today then don’t bother turning up for work on Monday, its hard being a Blues fan at the best of times especially with the owners we have but I cannot see any fan wanting to see Clarke should we lose today.
    Fingers crossed

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Whatever results this afternoon brings, ?. Let us pray that selection and effort are fully correct and we at least give our all,

  • Art says:

    Same players-same tactics-same manager-loanees publicly blamed for poor results -defence leaking goals and a despondent STA crowd.Sound words of advice from a passionate supporter will not be enough to win this game.

    Hopefully I’m wrong Dan -but I think another defeat is on the cards.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    I agree with everything you have said but I don’t think that Clark or anyone on the coaching staff will delve into the internet on match day. However, it’s great to state what we all think with the credibility that your blog has established. DNM.

  • Dave Partridge says:

    Good words Dan. Nice to see LC paid attention! Starting Macheda on the bench has consigned us to League One I fear and now he’s brought on Scott Allan?! If we could afford to pay him off I’d send him a Dear John letter first thing.

  • Andrew says:

    This result today has definitely all but sent us down, blues have been in this position before and its always the same outcome. Haven’t shown any bottle or put up a fight. Were not unlucky or anything like that we are just a poor club. Its very well keeping the faith and all that but Im kinda hoping on them going down now.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    We need 1 point from 2 games. We have a better goal difference than Doncaster who are away to Leicester in their last game.

  • Chas says:

    Well, I turned up again today and enjoyed the first half even tho their Centre forward gave us the runaround. Shame about the second half, but , imo and not using it as an excuse, if the Ref had given the Penalty for the push in the back immediately before their first goal, what might have been.? The poor Fans in front of me kept moaning at Zigic but Burke was a complete waste of time, I honestly cant remember a thing he did of value, but the biggest fault , again IMO, was leaving Macheda on the bench, he should have started. Looks like we are doomed…again.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    If the owners had just done just one good thing over the last two seasons it would have been to get rid of Clark after the 5-0 Barnsley debacle last season when the warning signs were clearly there. Just to give us the slightest chance of staying up please Mr Pannu please put him on gardening leave now and give the players and supporters something to hang on to. I fear it’s too late now.

    • Andrew says:

      Very true! none of our managers to date would have even allowed results like that barnsley one to even happen

      • Andrew says:

        not like that at home

      • Shirley Blue says:

        Bringing Scott Allen back into the squad today after bombing him out for the entire season was just laughable. Obviously he must have done something absolutely terrible back in August that couldn’t be sorted out until now! That’s a season long loan from a Premier League club wasted not to mention the wages for a club in our financial position. An utter farce (far from being the only one) that’s being allowed to continue because there has been nobody at the club for him to answer too. Total inept mismanagement at all levels.

  • bluenoserob says:

    i would say thats us about done for , ive see us go down so many times (as we all have) ,it feels even worse this time .

    • Andrew says:

      makes no difference, we are where we are and the team is just not championship standard anymore. cant say any one player we have (loans included) would have what it takes to step up if we were at the right end of the table gaining promo. we are awful and need a complete reshape to be competitive at even this level.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yep but this time we have a manager who is incapable of putting our best team out and giving us the maximum chance possible of staying up. To leave Macheda out of the starting line up today was ridiculous. Our only chance of getting a result today was getting the first goal and he was easily our most likely source of a goal. I have been banging on about inept Clark is for a season and three quarters now. Whether we go down or not he has to go.

    • Chris W says:

      I think it is worse because the players are not hurting and don’t care like we are. Also the manager is so devoid of change and always sounds defeated, he can’t lift the players or the supporters.

  • chudlt says:

    Crawley next season!!!

  • Chris W says:

    I thought today was going to be the day.
    Sun was shining, the crowd were in good voice and for the first time this season,
    my pre-match Bovril was hot.

    On paper the starting line up was, in theory, probably the best that a majority of supporters would have opted for, my moan was probably Zigic, but I think you
    know my feelings on him, playing in place of Macheda.

    First half we huffed and puffed but didn’t really trouble Jack Butland and cannot recall a shot on target of any note.
    Second half and the same players but a different attitude, they played too deep and let Leeds get a foothold in a game they had no right too.

    We conceded a goal and the body language said the second would immediately follow, which it did within two minutes. Game over…

    If my stats are correct today was Lee Clark’s 100th game as Blues manager, I think it should be his last. I said at the beginning of the season he deserves a second
    chance, it might be too late to save us from the drop but it will give all the players and the fans a boost if he walked out now. Like his tactics, his pre-match and post-match interviews are in the same mono-toned defeated drawl, and like Chris Burke very predictable.
    Not once this season has he had the guts to say, “I am at fault, I got it wrong”.
    He stated the players all knew how bad they were, how well they trained at getting the basics right, well they didn’t learn anything.
    The body language of some of the players tells me they want out, their season
    has finished and they don’t care.
    Come next season we, the fans, will be there come rain or shine, most of the
    players will still be in the Championship because their agents have found them
    new clubs.
    We still have a chance and our fate is still in our hands, but to beat Wigan we should re-arrange the game to be played away from home, how about at Coventry, they don’t use it. Joking aside, it is a tall order and they will be smarting after their defeat to Blackpool.

  • StevieW says:

    Well thats it then last one out turn the lights off.

    Oh and if you think Wigan or Bolton are going to roll over for us then think again.

    Dan any gossip on selling the club????

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I’m sure Tom Ross said something that the various bidders had put in separate bids depending on whether we went down or not which makes sense. I was driving at the time so might have misheard. Presumably they can just pull out if the worst happens though.

  • Gary says:

    well I would like to say a huge thank you to Clarke and the team, I spent out to take my 2 nephews for their birthday treat to their first blues match, thank for nothing lads, the most inept managerial display I have ever seen and a huge disappointment for the lads, I will never spend money at blues while Clarke and the current owners are present, pointless maybe but I work far to hard to waste money on crap like that

  • Chris W says:

    Keep the faith, we still have 2 games to get out of the mire. If Lee Clark wants some gardening leave I have 2 lawns and a hedge requiring trimming. I also have a dog that can jump higher than Zigic and always wins the ball, looks good in a Blues top too.
    As the song goes “Keep Right on to the end of the road”

  • Stephen Hayes says:

    Clark’s post match postmortem is the same every week, sick of hearing the same old crap, the copy & paste function on the website editors laptop must be warn out. Our only hope is a point from Bolton and for Leicester to beat Doncaster.

    Let’s get the season over & hopefully with new owners & a new manager we might start to bring some pride back.

    From a sick & tired ST holder.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      I had a feeling before the match that the game was already up. We’re a very poor side and Clark looks downbeat and defeated already. I can’t see where a single point is coming from. We need an absolute miracle. Confidence looks low and both games left are seriously difficult.

      As said above, Clark comes out with the same drivel after every home game- bottom line, its just not good enough! Oh well, at least there are a few new grounds to tick off next season…

  • Stephen Hayes says:

    Ali, even though I’d like to be positive & hope that we stay up, some local away grounds for next season for a decent day out … Walsall, Coventry (well Northampton), Notts County (if they stay up), Port Vale & fingers crossed for Burton in the league 2 play off.

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