I have been reflecting on last season, and thought I’d put them in a post.
As Championship football is secured for next season, we as fans can now relax and maybe look forward to the World Cup. However I thought I would look at what happened this season.
I think it’s fair to say that we all felt really positive at the beginning of the season. We had retained our Championship place on the last day of the previous season by beating Bristol City 1-0 away. Redknapp had appeared to have bought in some very good players and I don’t think anyone thought the season would go the way it did.
I had my reservations of Redknapp, he had been out of the game for quite a while, but there is no doubt we would have gone down the previous season if Zola had remained and Redknapp kept us up. Despite my reservations of Harry, I thought that we would do well, or at least better(!) so I was amazed when we just couldn’t seem to win under him. He was in charge for only 8 league games. We won one, drew one and lost six – five of them in a row. It was the 3-1 home defeat to Preston that caused his job to be terminated. He had a win percentage of a paltry 12.5% and an average points per game of 0.5.
The results were surprising considering the players we had, however there appeared to be issues behind the scenes. Redknapp was often quick to criticise the players in interviews. Although that may have been justifiable at time, the regularity of it must have had an affect on the players’ confidences. The board clearly decided enough was enough, and after three games under Carsely who won one, drew one and lost one, Steve Cotterill was given the job. I thought this was a reasonable appointment, although not spectacular. He had been part of Redknapp’s team that had kept us up the previous season, and knew many of the players. However things didn’t turn out well.
Cotterill often looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. As time went on, he appeared to become less and less confident in front of the cameras, and that seemed to work itself out on the pitch. Players also seem to lose confidence and performances were very poor at times. Cotterill’s record wasn’t great.
He was in charge for 24 league games. We won six, drew four and lost fourteen. This gave Cotterill a win percentage of 25% and an average points per game of 0.3. This average over the season would give a points return of around 41 points which relegated Barnsley and Burton. Goals were also an issue. We scored 16 and conceded 34. This gave a negative ratio of around 1:2. Not good, and was essentially why we were in a relegation fight at the end of the season.
After five defeats in six games, Cotterill was sacked after the Forest game. At that point, I think most Blues fans feared the worse. We looked like we would lose against most teams and looked destined for the drop. I do have to say though, normally I believe that managers should be given a chance, but Cotterill had clearly lost the dressing room and the board clearly didn’t want a repeat of the previous season where Redknapp only had 3 games. Their decision was to appoint the ex Swansea and Boro man, Garry Monk.
GM’s facts and figures are a marked difference. He has overseen eleven league games and has won five, drew one and lost five. That is a win percentage of 45%. He returned an average points figure of 0.48. That equates to about 66 points over the season – mid table! (Remember that?) With goals we scored 15 and conceded 14 so that is a positive ratio of 1.07:1. What caused this. Cotterill indicated that no manager would be able to keep us up with these players. Well he didn’t account for Monky magic!
Firstly, although Monk lost his first two games, there were clear signs that the players wanted to play for him. Secondly Monk appeared to either know where each of them should play or at least asked them where they wanted to play! Jota who had looked poor under Cotterill, became a really key player in our survival fight. Over all we looked like a team, probably for the first time of the season. Also Monk seems confident and assured in front of the press whether we won or lost.
While I’m not thinking we will win the league next season, I am pretty confident that we will do much better. We do need to find a regular goal scorer. Of cause Vassell’s return will help. I was at the Bristol City game and we did everything except score, and that 3-1 defeat was not a fair result on the play. We also need to sort the defense out. We do still give silly goals away, although things HAVE improved, however I am sure that Monk will work on this.
So I am looking forward to next season and seeing what GM can do.
Of course we can look forward to the World cup. I intend to blog during the competition. If you want to get prepared for the tournament, Vouchercloud have some offers on at the moment at places like JD Sports.