What a dismal month January has been for all of us.
A month, which on the surface, has been a total waste.
A month in which we could have made some big decisions and begun moving forward.
Instead, we find ourselves standing still and stuck in the mud. No signings. No outgoings. The manager hanging onto his job by his fingernails. The whole club mired in controversy over Dubai.
I think many people expected big changes this month.
It would have been the right time to have brought the next manager in, and to let him get a feel for the squad, making whatever tweaks he was able to in the window available.
As it is, our best chance of that has been totally thrown away.
With eleven days of the month to go, we’re all in limbo.
So why didn’t we have a plan for this?
Back in November, it was painfully obvious that the manager was floundering. The club’s decision to give him until January was hugely damaging to our title hopes and the cohesion of the club. Dubai was a remarkably bad decision, perhaps the worst the club has taken involving off-field matters in years.
Still, you wonder why things weren’t happening behind the scenes.
The whole month has unfolded like a slow-motion disaster, from the defeat at home and through the aftermath. The team was no sooner back from Dubai but we got hit with the self-isolation of half the squad. The latest news, that another player has it, could barely be less surprising. Lennon is now flatly contradicting the CEO and the club won’t stand by his side.
We can’t even announce that we’re banning a journalist and get it to stick.
And yet, there are clearly some good decisions which have been taken so far, and if they stick we’ll be in a better place for it.
First, no key players have yet been sold. Secondly, nobody has been bought either. I didn’t mention them as negatives earlier; sometimes, and in some areas, it’s better to do nothing until other pieces fall into place.
Those decisions have been critical and unless something changes in the next eleven days we should be reasonably pleased with them. The new manager is going to get his chance to convince some folk to stay, and he will have the full transfer budget to himself.
There was, for a time, a very real risk that Lennon would be allowed to do radical surgery on the team in this window, and that was the last thing we could afford.
One good decision has been taken here, and that’s not to touch this team, not to chase impossible glories nor to concede that there is nothing left to play for this season and to kick of the January sales.
Still, the one thing we needed more than anything was the time … and that’s gone and we cannot get it back. We can only hope now that the review comes to its conclusions quickly and that the club makes its priority getting the new manager in whilst this campaign is still ongoing. Give him a good chance to see what he has to work with.
If we do that, we might yet salvage something from this campaign … the chance to better prepare ourselves for the next one.