Often Partisan

Clark – the first 10 games

With ten league matches now gone in the Championship season I thought it was worth a look at what Lee Clark has achieved; where he’s got it right and I guess more importantly where he’s got it wrong.

It’s been the proverbial baptism of fire for the Geordie. It was never going to be easy for him as he was following one of the most charismatic managers of Blues in recent times in Chris Hughton and one of the most enjoyable seasons Blues have had in a fair while. Not only that, but Clark has had to do it with arguably fewer resources, a worsening ownership situation and without the glorious distraction of a European campaign keeping people happy.

Transfers

As a manager when there is only limited amounts of money and wages to be spent on players it’s almost imperative to make what transfers you are able to complete count. Whilst I accept Blues are scratching around the bargain bins somewhat for players I think one of the most damning indictments of Clark is that of his four permanent signings (Darren Ambrose, Peter Lovenkrands, Hayden Mullins and David Lucas) none of them are fixtures in his strongest eleven currently. Whilst Lucas was never meant to be more than a third choice keeper I think it speaks volumes of how poorly Clark has done that Mullins and Ambrose are both seen by Blues fans currently as extremely poor signings; something that is especially disappointing as I had high hopes for Darren Ambrose.

I think another problem is that of the signings that Clark has made, too many were in positions where maybe we didn’t need to sign players. Blues have been short-handed defensively all season and have had to plug gaps with stop-gap signings like Paul Robinson and loans (James Hurst, Paul Caddis and Ben Gordon) which for various reasons haven’t worked out – although I will give Clark that Caddis looked a decent player. Then there is the enigmatic Ravel Morrison who has played two games and disappeared to the consternation of a large section of the fanbase. Whilst there has been a gamut of rumours about Ravel – including one started on twitter about a pond at Lee Clark’s house (which doesn’t have a pond, a swimming pool or any other water feature) – you have to wonder if it’s something as simple as him not impressing in training; his talent not showing up.

Tactics

Another accusation levelled at Clark is that he isn’t settled on a formation and gameplan. Hughton had a fairly well-drilled 4-4-2 that he played at home and a 4-2-3-1 that seemed to work okay away from home; Clark has switched things about a bit but I don’t think he knows what his best first eleven are. Whilst the Tilton screamed for a switch to 442 on Saturday I don’t think it was a simple as sticking another man up top; there was no plan for how the midfield was going to work and at times the team seemed to be passing the ball like it was a hot potato, actively trying to get rid of it as quickly as they could. It’s almost like watching a teenager playing football manager – stick eleven players into a formation and hope that they can gel enough to make it work.

There have been games where we’ve looked okay – the Bolton home win we played well in some spells and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. However Blues don’t seem to be able to deal with teams that press up against them and I wonder if Clark has realised that Blues have succeeded more in the past by playing a similar game. If the midfield aren’t going to get stuck in, aren’t going to drive forwards with the ball they’re not going to create anything. Jonathan Spector did it once in the first half against Huddersfield and Blues almost scored as Nathan Redmond cracked the inside of the post. If Clark is to win the fans over he needs to form a plan and stick to it – not panic if the team goes behind and ensure that the team knows their roles. Even if it’s simple – hassle for the ball, get it wide and cross it in – it’s a plan.

Media

Lee Clark has been a sea change from the way Chris Hughton (and in fairness his predecessor Alex McLeish) dealt with the media. Hughton was very media-savvy and played everything with the flattest of flat bats which whilst it made it difficult for journos to “twhirl” his quotes meant that he didn’t get himself into bother either. The knack Hughton had of repeating the question prior to answering it meant that he clarified what he thought was being asked and was almost politician-like in the way it kept things on the straight and narrow. Similarly, McLeish was very good with the media, keeping things respectful and low-key and displaying a demeanour that kept trouble in-house.

Contrast that to Clark – who’s already talked about being afraid to leave the house, blamed his players for playing crap amongst other things and there is a huge difference. Whilst I can understand why he might let rip in a post-match presser because he was angry at the level of performance – there are players who seem to be not trying as hard as they can – I’m a believer that the manager should keep a lid on it in public and then give them the hairdryer treatment in private. You don’t give your staff a bollocking in front of others in the world of business and I don’t think football is any different in that respect. It’s one thing to wear your heart on your sleeve but there are only so many times you can offer apologies and talk about lack of luck with refs/injuries/etc before the fans get sick of it – just ask Trevor Francis or Steve Bruce.

Promotion of Youth

If there is one positive in Clark’s reign so far, for me it’s that he has had the cojones to trust his younger players to come into the team. We’ve seen in the past so often managers preferring an out of position player to a youngster but Clark hasn’t been like that. Will Packwood has come into the team and done alright; Nathan Redmond has featured in every league game so far and has made three of his eight league starts in the ten games Clark has been in charge and on Saturday Mitch Hancox came on for his debut – and of course Jack Butland has become a first team regular under Clark. I don’t think Hughton would have brought Hancox on (I don’t think he’d have had him on the bench); I’m certain he wouldn’t have played Packwood either – and I’m of the belief that if the financial constraints Blues are currently operating under continue for any length of time it’s going to be imperative that we utilise our younger players to keep any further incoming transfer costs down.

If this was a school report, right now I think I’d hand Clark a D with “must try harder” written in red pen. He’s got an almighty task on his shoulders now to turn it round and it’s in crisis the men get sorted from the boys in managerial terms. I hope for his sake he succeeds, because right now I believe we’re stuck with him.

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81 Responses to “Clark – the first 10 games”

  • Mark says:

    I would give him a P !! a P45

    All round I have always backed managers when lots of fans didn’t but I have no defence for him. The guy is out of his depth.

    Spoke to a town fan on the walk back to New Street, his words not mine:

    “Clark is a well known heavy drinker, his defence was brilliant and they are what kept him in the job so long, Huddersfield chairman tried to get rid of his coaching staff because they are very amateurish coaches who only know basic training methods, the chairman also said that he tried constantly to bring to the table the idea that a new group of coaches with new ideas would help….., Clarks midfield was pants from first to last day so a good defence and Rhodes was all he had, he never controlled senior players either”

    To be honest if a fan of a league one club can run the man down as second rate then another step up with the added pressure of a big city club was always going to be harder.

    Foxes at home followed by Millwall and Leeds away!!!!

    I will be surprised if the game after at home to Ipswich is not a battle of the bottom two.

    The worst part is the owners are so busy trying to jettison the club that they probably have zero thought for the future of our club. This is dangerous!

    If Clark remains at this club the entire season we will be a league one club by the end of it. If we are bottom three after the Ipswich game the fans must make their feelings so loud that Pannu simply has to act.

    • almajir says:

      Clark is a well known heavy drinker,

      Going to have to take issue with this… he’s not.

    • Blueboy 88 says:

      Mark , you can’t give him a P….because he’s already took that…!!

    • fingles says:

      I had a pint with a Huddersfield fan beforeb tha game and he said much the same. Backroom staff a joke, just drinking partners for Clark.

      He benefited from having one player who could both create and score goals, other than that, useless.

    • Nicky Wicky says:

      I have to say regardless of whether he’s a drinker or not most of these players are the same ones that finished fourth last season. On Saturday they looked clueless,and this is not the first time this season,and that has got to be down to what the manager is doing. I think he has had enough time to bed the players in and the team should be showing some sort of shape by now! Butland is still making mistakes,and the defence is all over the place,,and all they seem to do is try and hit long balls from back to front. there is no movement about the team or desire to fight for the ball.

      • NooBloo says:

        i AGREE, WHETHER HE DRINKS OR NOT IS NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. tHERE ARE SEVERAL Premireship anl Championship managers who take a drink – The issue is that Clark has not been able to motivate players who just missed promotion last year.

        I have said this before but CH got more out of those players than any other manager would have done. The players who influenced games last year like Burke and Davis maybe thought that Hughton would take them with him and perhaps got deflated when he did not.

        I dont really think we will go down but we certainly are on a downward spiral. My heart says that Clark can turn it around but my head says that the players that are there are not pulling with him.

        He therefore needs to get shot of the ones who are not working with him but the lower we sink then the fewer decent players will want to come, even on loan.

        In short I dont have an answer so I’m with Almajir, sadly I think we are stuck with LC until the manager merry go round starts and others become availlable

  • BluenoseDownunder says:

    A pretty fair summary, though i would comment that the promotion of the youngsters has been forced upon LC rather than a conscious plan to develop them. Either way giving them some game time benefits everyone in the long run. Oh and to use your school report analogy i would probably recommend that he move to the local comp. rather than wasting everyone’s time at this exclusive grammar school..

  • big frank says:

    i’ve said this from the start and i will stand by it, clark as a manager is totally useless, he has to go. on current form we’re going down simple as, there is no passion no fight and it’s getting depressing now watching blues and i for one will be wasting no more of my hard earned cash watching that pile of shit any longer, face the facts we are crap and until that clown is out the door st andrews is a no go zone for me. i’ve got better things to do on a saturday afternoon than waste my money watching that shite.

  • skareggae72 says:

    I think we have been lucky in getting the right manager at the right time,Cooper(had reasonable money,scanned the lwr leagues well)Fry(added a bit of enthusiasm)TF(a legend-took us to the next level)Bruce(got us up/got the def organised quickly)Alex(mostly progressive)CH(over performed in what could have been a tough season)Clark,sorry but i think somebody might have got it wrong,but 5 out of 6 aint bad!

    • Nicky Wicky says:

      I’m sorry,but i can’t agree with you. CH didn’t overperform. He spent a lot of time getting the players to work as a team. spending extra ours after training doing extra finishing sessions. I have to wonder how much work the current coaching staff do on defending set peices, taking set peices, defending and finishing because they look like complete strangers half the time!

  • ChrisG says:

    How’s this for an idea ( and I know most will disagree), we are sitting on 2 of the most prized assets outside of the premiership in Redmond & Butland with clubs supposedly fighting over their signature, we are apparently in financial meltdown so why don’t we cash in on them?, we’d still have them til january & if the right deal was struck maybe keep them on loan til the end of the season, we could then afford to get rid of Clark ( or maybe if we sold the 2 in question he would bail…hopefully!!) a new manager coming in could poosibly have a bit of a transer kitty next window & certainly give everone a lift, let’s face it, realistically we won’t be able to keep them forever anyway so why not sell while the interest is high?. KRO

    • Grim says:

      I’ve seen figures of £12m being bandied around for Redmond and Butland.

      If we can get £12m for each of them, someone is getting majorly ripped off for Redmond, and someone is getting a bargain for Butland.

  • Mark says:

    Take issue all you like, I heard the drinker story from a few other well in touch folk around this area!

  • Michael Davies says:

    Blues have got what they can afford so Clark is not the problem. Any person would have jumped at the chance to manage Blues regardless of the state of the clubs owners and finances. We have therefore to give Clark more of a chance. He is a relatively inexperienced manager still learning the job at a higher level than he has been used to. After just 10 games we have to give him a chance. Until a change of ownership happens, or our owners have a dramatic upturn in their financial situation, Clark will be with us, unless he quits. Where would we be then? Clark, more than ever needs our full support right now. If our wrongly directed disappointment at the clubs playing performances affects Clarks mental state then our performances on the pitch will get worse. Let us support Clark even more and attack the root cause of the problen, the ownership.

    • RichardW says:

      We’re still only ten games in and Clark has certainly made mistakes but I think he’s being massively let down by the players too. What has happened to Caldwell and Burke ? I can’t remember such devastating defensive injuries either. Both home defeats we finished with ten players and some playing out of position. I thought Ambrose, Lovenkrands and Mullins seemed decent signings with only some reservations about the ages of the latter two. We’ve no option but to hang in there and be positive.

    • Nicky Wicky says:

      how long are we supposed to give him, until we are relegated?

      • NooBloo says:

        My issue is that we havnt even played 2 sucessive decent games. Or have we even played one game where anyone has left thinking YES we played well there today

  • Art Watson says:

    Yes the owners are a big problem but they are not responsible for the way the team are playing.

    It’s Clarks responsibility.

    If the cash was available would you seriously let Clark loose in the transfer market.

    Almajir report highlights the many reasons why Clark should go and I’m sure PP will fire him before Xmas.

    • Michael Davies says:

      PP will not fire Clark because he could not afford the compensation pay out.

      • Bluenosed says:

        He’s on a 12 month rolling contract and so are the backroom staff. What’s all this about can’t afford the compensation?
        How much money are they all on? I’m guessing around £10000 a week for the lot of them, Max. You could pay the lot of them off for £300000. They would take it. If we haven’t got a weeks gate receipts we may as well give up now.

        • almajir says:

          Your maths is way off fella.

          If, as in your example, they are on a years rolling contract on 10k per week then that’s £520,000 to each member of staff. Can Clark, McDermott, Fazackerley and Watson and that’s £2million plus gone before you’ve spent a dime bringing someone else in.

          • chris says:

            Almajir, he does say “£10000 a week for the lot of them”, but i would think as you say it would be nearer 10k each.
            I think all this fiasco means at least one of our stars will be sold in Jan to pay for their sacking.
            If by ther end of November things haven’t improved and PLAYERS are still not putting the effort in then they have to go.
            I really don’t respect his backroom, i think they are useless, Fazackerley at Leicester was a joke.
            We need to adopt how the Baggies do it with a coach who can be sacked / resigns without taking The backroom at WBA has a low turnover and most leave because they are poached because they are highly thought of, i.e. Appleton, Ashcroft.

          • Bluenosed says:

            Absolutely no way will they be on £10000 a week each. No player at the club (other than Zigic, who’s probably on around £25000, not the often miss quoted £50-£60000) is on that much.

            Ok, nearer £500000 then, thats a good home games takings with all the pies, shop and corporate stuff. That’s why they can afford to get rid. It would have been in any clubs budget when they got the new man to sign.

            Lets get this salary thing into perspective. The average Prem player is on £650000 per annum. The headline slaries are the Rooney’s and Terry’s, but their’s will include loads of interlectual property bull as well. For every Rooney and Terry there are plenty more on £4000-£6000 a week.

            No names here but a certain Premeirship defender whose played for a whole host of West Midlands clubs is currently on £625000 a year. Some (at least 6) Managers in the Prem are on less than £400000 a season.

          • almajir says:

            You’ll have to pardon my absolute scepticism mate. I think you’ve plucked them figures out of thin air and I’m fairly certain (90% or more) that most of them are incredibly wrong…

          • NooBloo says:

            Almajir, I can assure you none of them are on £520,000 per annaum and most are probably only on half that

        • bluenosed says:

          I give up. You win. You write what you think is correct then.

          • almajir says:

            Don’t worry, I will – it’s my website after all. ;)

            And FYI, it’s not think. Consider this – I might actually have an idea – a teensy, tiny idea – about what I’m talking about. Shocking, but it’s a possibility…

  • motozulu says:

    I will be surprised if Blues sack Clark, as others and Mayor have said, we’re stuck with him for the foreseeable.

    Also – these rumours about the drinking..I don’t do stupid gossip and neither should other adult males, especially this ‘a friend of a friend knows Clarks binman’ type b@llox. Besides, it never stopped Cloughie being a top manager.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    If everything was equal Clark would never have got within touching distance of the Birmingham City managers job . Clark was sacked by a League One club for under acheiving ,
    so he was boxing well above his weight from day one..!!

    That’s not his fault .. that’s Pannu’s fault.

    Its only Pannu now who can get us out of this mess .
    Either by buying time with some short-term investment ,
    or sourcing a reputable purchaser for the whole club in the coming months.

  • Jaffa says:

    Lee Clarks lack of tactics and motivation are there for all to see.we were so narrow in the first half it was painfull to watch.New owners and a new manager are what our great club need.

  • Ad says:

    Lee Clarke is not a leader of men, hence why his best mates with the press, jog on Clarke and co!!!

  • Tana says:

    Please please can we get some news and TRUTH from St Andrews..notably why Ravel Morrison and Gomis cannot get a start…..

    • almajir says:

      I don’t think Clark fancies Gomis and that’s been the case since he came to the club.

      As for Ravel… as I said in the article, is it possible he’s not doing it in training, his talent not showing up?

  • andy says:

    The problems start at the top and it filters down, the owner is responsible for the mess Birmingham are currently in. We need new owners, the squad ripped apart and Lee Clark needs to build a new team. This current team, apart from a few, has been built from scraps and are on course to take the club into League One.

  • Paulo says:

    Lee Clark has an almighty job on his hands, and if that job could be broken down, then the priority would be to swallow his pride and learn how to lead. Within this, I would say he has to be more demanding of his immediate staff and has to be ruthless with it. If he can show what he wants, and stops messing about with the last winning formation, and gets the formula that can win at home and away, then his comminication will follow.
    The team will settle if they are allowed to play freely and attack at all costs. Playing what is becoming negative will pound our defense every time and leave the forwards with sod all to do ..and be exposed with it. Sort the back line and pair it with the midfield and bloody well get that ball into the box. I know it’s easy for me to say this, but I think his confidence in his team only reflects his confidence in himself. He has a team around him, as well as a team on the pitch, and lot of young talent on the bench. One word ..communication.

  • FND_HTAFC says:

    Alright lads, stumbled across this blog while browsing your forum.
    Thought you might appreciate a Town fan’s PoV on the issue – we know Lee Clark better than anyone!
    As others have said before – when Lee Clark got sacked, 90% of the footballing world outside of Huddersfield couldn’t believe what had happened, 90% of the footballing world inside Huddersfield couldn’t believe it had taken so long.

    First off, on the “drink problem” stuff. I really don’t think that’s true. There was a very small, similar, rumour going about Huddersfield in his later days at the club, but I’m pretty sure it was rubbish.

    [i]So, the pro’s about Lee Clark:[/i]

    He is young, passionate and genuinely lives for his job.
    Over time you’ll start to see him as one of your own – i.e. the “Lee Clark is a Terrier chant” on Saturday
    He is very well connected in the industry from his playing days and will get you great signings/loanees in
    His is passionate about building the club up through the youth – give him a few seasons and you’ll have a “Jordan Rhodes” that he’ll have brought in as a kid

    [i]Ok, now the bad[/i]

    Lee Clark isn’t a very good manager- some put this down to inexperience, others arrogance.
    He relies on having a squad that is far superior to the opposition to get results, never thinking about how to combat the way they will set up etc – the amount of times we got turned over by teams like Carlisle and Oldham, who just set up to counter our playstyle… Horrible to say, but he may be a tactical genius in theory, but in practice he is inept. I often think this is because he gets too involved in the game while it is progressing and is unable to take a step back and look at the bigger picture
    His man-management is absolute dreadful. I noticed posts above about players being left out – expect this. Last season Lee Clark sent one of our 3 central defenders away on loan (for playing ONE poor game), the next game we got an injury and had to get in ANOTHER centre back on loan. Ridiculous.
    You will not have a solid central midfield while he is in charge. We went through over 10 midfielders in 3 years at Town whilst Clark was in charge, nothing worked. Grayson came in, made three signing and we have one of the best midfields in the League…
    Lee Clarke doesn’t like to lose, particualrly when the pressure builds towards the end of the season. Do you remember our “incredible” 43 games unbeaten? Do you know how many of them were draws? Lots. Clark will often set up to not lose, rather than win, meaning that the football can be really negative and shite to watch.
    His fellow friends/coaching staff that he brought to the club are a complete waste of space and add absolutely nothing.

    Anyway, that’s a good start – there is more…I know that it might seem harsh, but we’ve really seen every different side of Clark. In his first season for us (his first ever managerial job) we played really good, free flowing football with young lads. Unfortunately we got turned over by a very good Kenny jacket Millwall side in the playoffs and it appears to have had a serious effect on Clark. Since then his sides have played much more negative “don’t lose” football.

    All the best chaps, hope that’s given you a bit more insight into Lee Clark.
    As you saw on Saturday, there is minimal animosity towards him, afterall, he is one of us – a football fan. I just can’t help but feel that he went for the wrong job with you guys, he should have dropped down to Gillingham (who were also after him) and build up his reputation from there.

    • DoctorD says:

      Thanks FND_HTAFC — you seem to be pretty spot on with all that especially when you say:

      “When Lee Clark got sacked, 90% of the footballing world outside of Huddersfield couldn’t believe what had happened, 90% of the footballing world inside Huddersfield couldn’t believe it had taken so long.”

      The question is: if LC is staying, what can be done to improve him as a manager? Surely all managers are capable of getting better with time — sounds to me like he needs a wise head giving him some guidance. You’d expect that from his backroom staff so why not sack Fazackerley and McDermott and get someone decent in? That would be cheaper than sacking all three.

      • FND_HTAFC says:

        First and foremost, he needs the support from the fans. No matter what he says in interviews about dealing with pressure as a player, he struggles as a manager. Something that I forgot to mention above is how crap he is with the media – which only gets worse as the pressure builds, which ultimately turns into a downward spiral or pressure and mardyness.

        He needs to have a strict limit on the singings that he’s allowed to make. Something else that I noticed people saying above is that he has signed players int he wrong positions this summer – that is EXACTLY what he did for us. We ended last season with something like 8 midfields, who all played in pretty much the same position. Useless. It means that his options to change a game are completely lacking – he sets up the team and you’ll either win or lose, with no input into changing that result as the game progresses.

        We actually fired Fazackerley midway through Clark’s term at Town. Unfortunately the team took a turn for the worse after that, implying that he might have had a positive effect on the team. McDermott, however, is completely and utterly useless. The rumour at Town is that he’s only interested in the horse racing results and really doesn’t care at all about the team/ add anything.

        In my opinion, Clark needs an older head around him to help with the more dynamic part of the game. By all accounts he’s a great coach, but struggles to appreciate the subtler tactics that are so important at this level (something we’ve all noticed since stepping up from L1)

        • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

          Brilliant mate thanks for posting.

          First off, on the “drink problem” stuff. I really don’t think that’s true. So there you go all you ‘in the know’ and ‘he needs the support from the fans.’

          Some people could do with remembering this, well some of those who turn up.

    • NooBloo says:

      You mention getting turned over by a very good Kenny Jacket Millwall side and that affected him but didnt that very same very good Millwall side get turned over the previous year by a very good Nigel Adkins Scunthorpe side.

      The following year Millwall went up. Lee Clark doesnt seem to know how to bolster a losing team thats a worry, especially when we are losing a lot at the moment

      • FND_HTAFC says:

        He doesn’t know how to rebuild, instead he strips everything down and starts again. All we needed after losing that playoff match was to bolster the team in a few key areas, instead he ripped the soul out of it and replaced the young exciting players with old “experienced” has-beens.

  • ForevertheOptimist says:

    struggling to find anything optimistic to write.
    According to Clark , Every one else is to blame except the Manager.
    If my team don’t perform at work shit rolls down hill and I have to take responsibility and action.
    I think he ‘dropped on’ getting the Blues job and thought it would be an easy job based on the results and performance last season.
    Unfortunately he has gone back on “not changing anything” and meddles with formations,tactics and players to the point of seeming clueless and the team being totally unrecogniseable from last season.
    He may think he is being clever by being able to switch it around – unfortunately his staff cannot get the players onboard as they are old school and out of their depth,so it falls down on the pitch.
    Sorry – but the whole set up does not contribute to us moving forwards and progressing.
    This is going to be a painful season camped out in the lower places of the championship taking one step forward with the odd result and two steps backwards with the negative play and unexpected defeats.
    Clark is probably a decent bloke with a strong personal work ethic, unfortunately the Blues job is too big for him and he is way out of his depth at this stage of his managerial development.
    This league is notorious for finding teams out if they don’t fight and work for each other and only hard work,effort and togetherness will see us turn the corner.
    I cant see our beloved Blues turning any corners any time soon……..

  • evesham blue says:

    He had settled on a formation.451. It worked away at Brighton and we did ok at Cardiff but playing this at home is asking for trouble. To be fair to the guy he has had a shocking injury crisis in key position at right back and defence in general.

    We started to look OK when Caddis came in and were more balanced but he has been unlucky with injuries.

    I think that maybe we have also reached a season too far with a number of CH’s signings. e.g. Caldwell. We were excited with Ambrose and Loverkrands signings. Ambrose in particular should be doing a lot better than he is. Not sure why Mullins was given a 2 year contract with his age but I guess the free transfer market is rather limited. I dont know why Morrison is not on the bench.

    I tend to disagree that he is not showing it in training. Something has gone on behind the scenes as he appears to have been frozen out. The guy has the history. Gordon as well. You would expect a young lad from Chelsea to be half decent. One bad game and he is dropped and we sign Robinson?

    I think Blues need to play the younger players now. Free transfers on their last pay deal is no way to build for the future. Perhaps the whole motivation issue may be down to some part this.

  • AR says:

    Apart from Mutch & Myhill we have the same players as last season plus Clark’s additions. We reached the play-offs last season. What has happened since then but a change of manager, who, if almajir is right doesn’t like Gomis but likes Mullins. I’m not saying that Gomis is a worldbeater but at least he harries the opposition & looks as if he’s interested. His signings, as almajir has said don’t make the best starting eleven; his loan signing of Gordon seems to be of a player who isn’t good enough; Ravel’s signing is a mystery, for he seems a player of talent who can’t even make our bench; Caddis on the other hand seemed the only signing which looked anywhere near a success. In other words Clark has no skill in recognising a good player, and as for tactics I don’t think I need to elaborate further. To criticise your players in public only adds further to the trouble. It’s a pity we can’t afford to sack him, but until the Hong Kong affair is concluded I fear we will see even lower gates. The team though needs better support in order not to go down.

  • James says:

    First and foremost we are where we are because we’re skint. We cannot sign anyone of note and our future looks bleak.

    However, we do have a half decent manager, who at the moment is having to put up with terrible injuries, fans that boo ( no, it is not your god given right to boo the players because you have forked out for a ticket.)

    Secondly, the arguement that the job is too big for him? How exactly? If he was managing Tottenham, Everton, Sunderland fair enough. But he is managing a team that’s won 2 League cups and has had 2 sell out seasons in 30 years; WE ARE NOT A BIG CLUB. We got 18,000 on Saturday, of which 2,000 were from Huddersfield.

    I’m prepared to back him as he represents my club. We cannot afford to sack and if one more person mentions Mick Mcarthy I’ll scream. How many of you praised him when he was at Wolves?

    We are starting to become like our claret and blue friends over the road. Impatient, unrealistic ambitions and very negative.

    We have some very good players, who given time, will get us to mid table – which is the best we could hope for.

    The drink issues are complete and utter garbage ” my mates sisters aunties’s dog has a source in the know etc etc etc. Whenever an article states “a source” you know it wont happen. A bit like reading the Sun because people believe it’s a newspaper.

    KRO!

    • evesham blue says:

      I think you are missing the point. Clark has lost the majority of fans and it would appear the players. Attendances are symptomatic of the diabolical offering being served up on a regular basis. Who do you think is the cause? LC and his team

      There doesnt seem to be a plan. You have got every right to boo when your team is getting trounced 5 nil at home to mighty Barnsley. It is dire football. We pay to get entertained or at least to turn up and put in some effort.

      The man would be sacked by now if it were any other club but Blues.

      • James says:

        Fair enough Evesham, but even before the Barnsley game the negativity around Clark was shocking.

        Don’t know where we go from here but united we stand and all that….

        KRO

        • evesham blue says:

          True. I think alot of fans thought Holloway was an option and then they saw our shortlist of candidates.

          I think alot of fans are also in denial. The club has gone from winning the league cup to getting relegated, administration fears, losing CH who gave us all hope in the dark days and now europe is over as well. Honeymoon is well and truly over now and it’s like monday morning go back to work. On the face of it – it is a stronger squad than the team that reached the play ofs. We should be challenging the play off spots again not worrying about still further relegation.

          Punters are sick to death of the CY saga, takeover talk that never happens, no money, player sales and lack of communication and engagement from te owners.

          Now season ticket holders are also getting disenfranchised. Would you pay £23-£30 a game to watch that on a regular basisssss

          All we ask is to give us something on the pitch i.e a team to be proud of.We are not playing like a team.Morale is low and the maager is to blame

    • SirHarry1875 says:

      Did you actually go to the Barnsley and Huddersfield games and witness the same gutless, clueless shameful embarassing display that the rest of us saw?
      I agree we are not a big club which is why all that i ask for is fight, commitment and never say die team spirit. When i dont see that, when i watch a team that cant even play for each other never mind the manager or the fans then i have every right to boo for as loud and as long as i damn well like!

    • Blueboy 88 says:

      The Job (Championship Manager) is to big for him.

      Clark spent three seasons in League One with the biggest budget , & was still unable to secure a promotion at Huddersfied Town.

      Grayson got them promoted within three months , & in there first season in the Championship are in the play off places.

      Clark on the other hand has taken a Championship Play Off Squad to the brink of a relegation battle.

      How much more evidence is required ?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Al, I really don’t think it’s fair that people are saying Clark is a drinker.

    Just wrong.

    • almajir says:

      I did state second comment that it wasn’t true.

      I’m leaving it for now as I think it’s important for the accusation to be refuted by a few in public. If I’m asked to take it down, I will.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    After reading your article Almajir, I thought I was gaining some understanding, !!. but after reading all the comments so far, — My head is in a whirl, !!.

    The ” so called — drink problem, “. I doubt is true, if it was, ?. That would be sufficiant reason to sack him without much/ if any compensation surely, ?.

    I do have strong doubts concerning the effectiveness of McDermott and Fazackerly, So perhaps there is scope for change there,??.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Please tell me that the Birmingham mail misquoted Clark!! “I am not sitting in the dressing room telling them not to tackle, I am not telling them to pussyfoot around. I am not telling them to misplace passes”

    • evesham blue says:

      Not a sign of a good coach to blame his players in public is it really? That will really motivate them wont it in future? CH fashioned a close knit team. Not a blame culture.

      You wonder why punters are not convinced with his managerial style and motivational skills.

      Stop blaming the players LC. You need to get them on your side!

  • LJ18 says:

    i think its common knowledge that we don’t have a penny spare yet we have 2 loanees who aren’t even making the matchday squad!! If Clark doesn’t like Ravel Morrison then send him back to Wet Spam and free up his wages to bring another loan in. Same with Gordon – we’ve already got a better replacement in Hancox and Robinson so send Gordon back to his home club and free up his wages.

    Am i looking at it too simple? if we’re not going to play these players then why are we continuing to pay their wages every week?!!

    • evesham blue says:

      Sounds like good common sense to me unless there is something in the agreement that we cant send em back before the loan has expired? It makes no sense to loan someone and then they play in your reserves and dont even reach the bench. Odd – LC chooses his bench and I do recall him saying Morrison has a part to play….well he is not playing any part as far as I can see!

    • almajir says:

      Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

      To end a loan prematurely it would require the agreement of the player and both clubs. It might be that West Ham don’t want him back – from reading their forums before Morrison’s signing he certainly hadn’t endeared himself there.

      I believe Gordon is only six month until January

  • DoctorD says:

    So Fazackerley go the sack at Huddersfield. That’s interesting. I would seriously think of getting rid of him and McDermott and bring in a wise head.

    If that’s not possible, surely the club need to do something to improve LC as a manager. There are two weeks off before the next game — I don’t know, send him on some crap training course.

    Great article in the Times today about Paul Clement, who’s Ancelotti’s assistant at Paris Saint Germain. Now there’s a proper coach in the making – spent time under top managers, kept a low-profile gaining experience, and then is intent breaking in to the management scene bit by bit.

    He says — very wisely in my view — “Everyone talks about needing coaches to produce players, but what about the coaches of the coaches? The FA don’t have a clear vision or strategy.” Neither it would seem do Blues. Who at Blues is coaching LC?

  • bluenose08 says:

    I am not a football manager or coach but in the few jobs i have had in my life there is a saying
    “if it aint broke dont fix it” so why dont we use the same tactics as last season as we have the same
    players all lc has to do is show them videos of last season and say this is how i want you to play !
    I feel sorry for lee clark as he has the passion but not the know how and if he could just transfer some of that passion to the players at least they would be trying harder on the pitch.
    k.r.o.

  • kingy says:

    All the fans stating that this is almost the same 11 as last year, well its not…………. Sure most of this 11 were at the club last year but we are missing key players that played at the begining of last season, Beausejour, Ridgewell , Mutch, Wood, N’Daw, Murphy & Carr were both fit & flying There is 7 players that were playing for us at the start of last season that would walk into the current side. I suggest that with these 7 players still fit and playing for us we would almost certainaly be at the other end of the table. Clark is working at a club that is lterally on its knees, Hughton managed a much better squad and was a better motivator than Clark, but CH also used up the last of any “spare” money. Clark is Pi**ng against the wind. Injuries have conspired against him and when Portsmouth can get Akos Buzaky for free and we cannot afford the wages of a Southend Utd player (Moshni) it paints a very bleak picture of our finances. Thats all I can mitigate for Clark. I dont understand why our most industrious hard working midfielder (Gomis) does not even make the bench or why Morrison who is highly rated by Alex Ferguson can not get a look in. Our top scorer Marlon King & a striker (Zigic) who should terrorise championship defences and get 20-30 goals a season at championship level are started on the bench………This I fear is the season when the chickens come home to roost…….As always though…KRO.

  • Paulo says:

    ..or get rid of Fazerkerley and McDermott, bring ina new manager and keep LC as a his number two ..so he can see what needs to be done, and learn this league. It’s an option, although a slim one.

  • […] course not everyone sees it that way. There are a couple of other arguments are used by Clark’s ‘defenders’, aside from the ‘can’t afford to sack him’ […]

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I don’t believe in sacking anyone until they have been given some time; but Saturday’s display left me wondering whether LC has to go?
    I think we have a number of problems, some are the manager’s fault, some are perhaps not.

    Our midfield. Looking back towards the back end of last season, I felt we had similar problems in the midfield crystallised in the defeat away at Blackpool, we just didn’t seem to have sufficient moevment off the ball – that is very much the case this year. This contributes to the hoof from the back.

    Caldwell – out of position for the goal on Saturday and he’s struggled all season. He’s too slow and doesn’t win the ball in the air. Despite what i’ve said above, there were times on Sat when a ball on the floor to Lita/Redmond was on, but he chose not to give it. Perhaps injuries mean we haven’t got much choice, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Packwood given a crack in the centre.

    Confidence – we don’t have any and it is much worse at home as the crowd are restless at present. It’s a vicious circle. Booing players/ironic cheers do absolutely nothing to help – if you want to do that then b*gger off down Vile Park.

    Hoofing it – if this is his plan then why not play Zigic. I don’t think it is his plan, it’s just that there’s no movement. However, the comments from HTFC fans do make me wonder if it is him. I find it hard to understand why a quality CM like him would have this problem.

    Criticising the players in public – some probably deserve a roasting but it shouldn’t be in public. I think he stopped short of naming names and perhaps he feels that he has to do something to rtry and shift them out of this malaise.

    No luck – it’s not just the injuries, but we’ve had some bad luck this year [I’m not saying Barnsley was that!]. Zigic should not have gone for that tackle anbd D’Urso and the Lino on the Kop side were poor [albeit not their fault we lost]. We need one to go in off someone backside in the last minute. Redmond’s shot might have gone in off the post [bad luck] and Elliott should have scored the header [poor technique] when we made chances whilst down to 10 men. The highlights show gave a more much positive slant than I can remember ‘live’ and I’m sure it’s more to do with the negative vibes around the place just now.

    Robinson – I thought he did well on Saturday – one of the few who gave it their all. I think someone criticised him for their goal but I think he was up the pitch for a positive reason [can’t quite recollect it exactly]. If we’d got a few more giving it what he did we might have got something.

    A quick mention for Hancox too – only a quick glimpse but I thought he did well.

    Tactics – IMO there’s nowt wrong with 4-5-1 with the two wide players we have, but it has to be played well and it isn’t working.

    • almajir says:

      I think the midfield is a good point.

      We don’t have a ball winner in midfield – and in that respect I’m not chuffed Gomis has been bombed out as I think he could do us a job there.

      Agree re Caldwell too… might be a chance for Will Packwood or Jack Deaman to step up BUT it would be a huge call.

      • The Flying Pig says:

        I agree about the ball winner – I’m sure he bought Mullins in for that but he’s just not functioning well just now. The fact he’s this season’s Fahey in many fans minds is not helping at all. I remeber him playing against us in the past few seasons and I always thought he was such a good ball-winner. Gomis is very tidy on the ball and probably deserves a chance, I’m just not sure whether he quite meets the need in terms of ball-winning [but I think it’s worth a go]. Was it just me or did he play Spector further up the pitch than Fahey on Saturday – if so, why?

        I accept it would be a big shout to bring in a rookie, but I’m not sure it would be much worse than what we have with Caldwell. I thought he was great after a rocky start last year, but he’s been woeful so far. I think I can turn faster than him and my user name probably gives a clue to my age – being a nickname that stuck in my mind from my early recollections of watching the Blues.

      • SotonBlue says:

        Gomis didn’t really get much of a chance under CH either? Maybe he too isn’t showing enough in training?

  • Bluehobba says:

    I for one saw no problems with the signings of Mullins, Lovenkrands and Ambrose and do not understand why we haven’t seen from them what we brought them in for. Mullins a strong tackler to break up play to leave Ambrose to help get the ball forwards quickly and help with goals along with Lovenkrands feeding the forward line and also scoring goals. I for One do not understand what has gone since the pre season friendlies but these guys have to think long and hard at what made them professional footballers and also understand what Lee Clark saw in them to bring them to this club. Let’s be fair, we thought they would be good signings. I don’t care about Morrisons all round game, I liked what I saw against Charlton and I honestly believe he would have had a lot of influence in the midfield against Huddersfield. Let’s hope we show up against Leicester.

  • Art Watson says:

    It’s interesting to read the number of comments on this and other sites which refer to Clarks poor communication skills and the suggestion he should go on a training course to improve his skills.

    I am absolutely amazed at this suggestion.He’s probably earning circa of £350k pa and is reported to be a qualified FA coach.Correct me if I’m wrong but surely good communication skills would be a mandatory requirement and if he struggles to communicate with the players god help us.And what about his coaching team?

    If I was in Clarks shoes they would be the first go and maybe just maybe he’ll start to regain the respect of the fans.Blaming the players was not a good move but firing his backroom team woud be.

    Nice guy but totally out of he depth,!

  • suenoble says:

    “does he drink or doesnt he drink” not bothered, “good tactician, poor tactician”,not bothered “good backroom, bad backroom”,not bothered, “can motivate, can’t motivate” EXTREMELY BOTHERED. we know from last season that the squad is okay but for Gods sake look at the performances. We are worse this season than we have been since Barry Fry’s first year, and we all know what happened at the end of that season. Trust me, if the board don’t act we are heading back to the 3rd Division.

  • ricardo says:

    you need to all get off Lee’s back. I can see the green shoots and we need to buy into Pannu’s project. Yes we need to rebuild, yes we might need a spell in Div 1. But if that means we can then get back to back promotions and win a pot or two – it’ll be worth it.

    Clark is having to tear out the crap he has seen and introduce his own strategies. I for one can see what he is trying to do, let’s respect the man and get behind him.

    • suenoble says:

      i admire your loyalty mate but its misguided, there is no pattern, no energy, no belief. Those players were ok last year, the dressing room was solid. LC has to go smartish and as for Pannu’s plan all he wants is to sell it, thats his plan,

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Can we afford NOT to sack Clark? Attendances will continue to drop and never mind £40m CY will struggle to get £15m if we go down.

    I’d give Clark a big F for FAIL. Needs to repeat the year because nothing the teacher taught him stayed in his brain.

  • john1280 says:

    Having a go at players in public is a sign of desperation and not taking full responsibility as the manager and not helping to motivate the squad to perform .What happens next match when the players already feel its not a fight to be won .I have seen blues come back from 2 nil down against everton to get a draw and even win against all odds against chelsea and win against arsenal ! The club has to get the fighting spirit back and get the crowd to keep right on like we do .Players if anything else should show what they can do even if its to target a move .The tv recorded the 5 nil drumming infront of millions of sky viewers so no escape !

  • Art Watson says:

    Papa Diop has today joined Blues.

    Yet another mid field player and knee jerk decision by Clark.

    Never mind the new owners will quickly get rid of him and I suspect any compensation payment to him and his boys will come off the asking price for the acquisition of the club.In meantime as far as Clark is concerned its damage limitation and the clock is ticking for his departure.

    Thank God.

    • almajir says:

      Art

      To be pedantic, he hasn’t. He has signed subject to a work permit – he won’t actually sign til next week…


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