Following a slight change of heart I made my way to The Valley yesterday to see if there was any chance that players returning from injury would make for a better performance and, more importantly, a better result.
Those of you that were there on Tuesday, and again yesterday, will know that it was a much better performance. However, the result was exactly the same and the eventual outcome was as predictable as the the promise four days before that the manager was safe.
I wasn't there for the Preston debacle, but I was assured that we were much, much better by the chaps that sit in front of me. In fact, the first ten minutes we looked good. Not great, obviously, but not at all bad. We had a few half chances that could have given us the lead, and a sitter from Moussa where he, literally, missed the target, unmarked, from about eight yards.
Brentford started to come into the game, and their passing was making us look like statues. The goal came from a great cross from Judge down their right, and what looked like an unmarked header on the six yard line and it was 1-0. The rest of the game can be summarised quickly by saying that we didn't look like we believed we could come back into it, we didn't look like we wanted to or could be bothered to raise our game. In truth we gave it up.
From a tactical point of view I thought we looked too narrow. There was no outlet out wide up front, Gudmunsson and Moussa kept coming inside, and with Morgan Fox tucking inside there was no real left back. I'm not sure what Chris Solly (and Fox for that matter) had been told to do in the game, but he didn't look like he was playing as a full back.
I have never been one to throw around the phrase 'He's lost the dressing room' but I will say that, with Makinok apart, none of the players did as well as I've come to expect from them. Either they weren't up for the game or their confidence is so shot that they are a shadow of their former selves, or they didn't want to play for the manager.
Whichever of those it was I think it was inevitable that Luzon would be on his way out of The Valley in the same controversy as he arrived. All the rubbish from the CEO about interviewing many managers before appointing Luzon in double quick time was compounded but assuring us that he was safe before two defeats in four days resulted in his sacking.
I am inclined to suggest that the CEO has not helped the situation by publicly announcing that the manager is safe and that the players will have to raise their game. I've never thought that office based 'administrators' were well advised to publicly criticise footballers as these young men (even at our level) tend to believe that they are above criticism - especially from a lawyer that has, presumably, never played the game. The players, certainly, played like they didn't appreciate being publicly blamed for our situation. It isn't helped that most of the fans blame her and her employer and the players must know that.
For a lawyer that, I assume, is intelligent and well educated she does say some outrageously stupid things in public. It is getting close to the point that I will start to feel sorry for her. I suspect that if she had commissioned a focus group to come up with a plan to make her took as incompetent as possible they couldn't have come up with anything better than her PR this last month.
One positive thought, however, is that for what ever reason sacking managers and replacing them does seem to have brought about better results since the current owners have arrived. Quite why the managers needed to be sacked in the first place is the subject for another time, but I am optimistic that the teams fortunes will improve once the new chap settles in.
Just one thought on the recruitment, please not Malkay Mackay.
Up the Addicks!