For 80 minutes this team wasn’t just in this game but with a chance to grab destiny by the throat. But as usual we’ve flogged a great opportunity, and the minute it was clear that we had the roof fell in. I’m glad there is just one more game to go in this tournament.
I am sick of the “we played well … up to a point.” Tired of the hard luck story. Fed up with giving out plaudits for “doing alright.” This has become a chore.
The best decision I’ve made since the draw was made was to save the money for the home Champions League ticket package and to spend it coming here instead. Because this is a club which has simply stopped trying to be a Champions League level team.
Lennon is correct that we might be good enough at some point to win a European trophy, but the truth is that if we did it would represent a failure on some level … we’d either have exited the top tournament first or worse, flogged a domestic league title to qualify for the second tier tournament. A lot of people wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t complain myself if at the end of it was European silverware, but it grates me to know this isn’t our level.
And part of that, of course, is a board of directors with no genuine ambition to be.
That’s not even up for debate, and as long as they continue to behave like a board content just to be here, with no attempt to be or do more, they’ll never get a penny from me to watch a competitive game in this tournament.
A top class manager who is capable at this level is hamstrung by a policy that keeps us in the slow lane, and if he doesn’t grab it by the throat he’ll suffer for it.
Has he done that? He’s certainly tried to. He’s made his feeling crystal clear. He talks like a guy confident of getting the guys he wants, and whilst I’ll take him at his word I won’t be in the least bit surprised if the people in our boardroom fail to deliver on it.
Five games in this tournament and one point; they are completely to blame for that. Every single one of us expected quality in the summer of a level to significantly improve the team. Eight project players and three of them exacerbating the Asian Cup problem which we’d been talking about for months is what these people delivered instead.
That’s what happens when the football department is not run solely based on the needs of the team. It’s run to serve the needs of the “strategy”.
This is where the strategy has taken us.
This is where we’ve ended up, and part of that is down to us too by the way, down to the fans, because a section of our support is more interested in events on the other side of the planet about which they can do precisely nothing than it is about putting the pressure where it belongs here at home.
Self-indulgent armchair revolutionaries want to pick a fight with the club over flags and the perceived political leanings of the directors … that’s a joke at a time when there are obvious problems within our own walls. It was good to see that the Day Of Action let the board know it’s in a fight … by the booing of an ageing rock star for being a Tory.
We need this fan-base to be vocal and express its anger.
But that anger should be directed at the board for the way they fail to back the manager.
It should be directed at them for the scandals of nepotism and cronyism at our heart, and which have led us to this sorry result.
It should be directed at the people who think we’re some heirloom to be handed down to their kids and their grandkids.
The priorities are all so, so, so very wrong.
We are all entitled to feel cheated tonight, by those at our own club who saw the manager’s options from the bench tonight include Mikey Johnston and David Turnbull, two guys who might not have futures beyond this club in January. Holm is a project. Oh isn’t cutting it right now in Scotland, so he’s not going to take you to the next level in Europe … the rest of the bench included three centre backs, a right back and a couple of kids.
That’s the hand the manager has been dealt.
And yeah there are injured players who would be in this team if they were fit and Palma would have played if he wasn’t banned, and that offers a shred of mitigation for the poverty of that bench … but to have gone into this competition weaker in terms of the starting eleven than we were when we played the opening game against Real Madrid last year is on those at the club who have failed to deliver the goods.
That’s the story tonight.
Not the failure of this team, which you can excuse, in part, because these guys are the best we had tonight … the failures are in the directors box, men who have convinced themselves that they are geniuses, and they aren’t going to let a little thing like routine Champions League humiliation dissuade them of that notion.
More than being sick of this, I am heartily sick of them.