Do It, Before It's Too Late
Next up is the brutal thought of a visit from high-flying Manchester City against whom we have conceded 24 goals in our previous 5 games.
After the Man City game (assuming a certain defeat), we`ll have 13 games left and we may well be in the bottom 3, with 24 points from 25 games.
We`ll need at least 10 points to be safe. In the most realistic scenario we`ll need 13 points. We can get 9 points by beating Stoke, Sunderland and West Brom at home, and we can maybe pick something up at Villa, Swansea or Southampton, if we are lucky.
In short, it`s still just about possible for us to get out of this mess. The question is, are we better to stick with Hughton et al, or twist with a new man at the helm?
I wrote on this site a month ago urging the club to make a change. Since then, nothing I`ve seen on the pitch or off it has changed my view. In fact things have got a fair bit worse.
A gritty point at Palace, followed by a couple of forgettable FA Cup games against Fulham sandwiched an unadulterated surrender to Everton. The incredibly valuable (if slightly lifeless) win at home to Hull was most welcome, but was followed by one of the worst 45mins of football I have ever seen us play, against Newcastle and defeat against the bottom club Cardiff today.
The management team have also seemingly fallen out with City fan favourite and creative maestro, Wes Hoolahan. Of course, many observers will see the relationship breakdown solely as Wes`s fault, however my own personal view is that if Wes felt appreciated for the type of player he is and was picked more often, things would never have gone this far. He was often on the bench and frequently not even in the squad at the start of the season, so it`s not surprising that he was unsettled.
Typically, Wes is exactly the sort of player we need at the moment. Someone who can retain the ball, thread it through or create space for the wingers. If we were determined not to sell him and are seemingly unlikely to play him, then we sure as hell should have worked day and night to replace a player of his calibre.
The lack of backing Hughton got in the window has made me think we are either; (a) planning for relegation, (b) going to let Hughton go in the summer or (c) planning on letting him go even sooner.
When David McNally went on Radio Norfolk after the Fulham cup defeat, all he said on the topic was that he wanted us out of the bottom 3 throughout the season. I do wonder if financially it would be advantageous to the club to dismiss the managerial team if we are in the relegation zone - it is possible there is a compensation clause in the contracts that reduces their payouts if the team is in the bottom 3 when they are dismissed. I must add this is a total conspiracy theory and not based on any fact!
It would surely make no sense - if McNally knows he has the wrong man, it would be madness to wait until we fall into the bottom 3 before pulling the trigger, but this is what appeared to be the suggestion when he gave his interview to Nick Conrad a couple of weeks ago.
Do it, before it`s too late, like Hughton's substitutions. I`ve had enough of this brand of football, even if it keeps us up.