The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Take me to the place where you go

16 February 2018

Wicklow Diary pondered on the day Russell Slade was appointed last April that "If Bignot had a vision that followed the yellow brick A180 over the horizon, appointing Slade would be a return to looking down at our feet and perhaps back between our legs." Before we look forward again, I'd like to take a moment to honour the noisy Oasis demo from their early death metal days, Always Look Back with Vengeful and Soul Consuming Anger. 

Like never speaking ill of the dead, we're told it's never nice when someone loses their job. I don't agree with either. What if the person brings on their own demise? Then it's nice. Nice with big, bronze, clanging bells on. I'd like to use the diary to counter the tear-soaked club statement that informed us of Slade's sacking. The same club remember that allows heroes and journeymen alike to depart unannounced when it suits the many chips on its shoulder. What makes John Fenty's mate Russell Slade so special?

The opening line attributed the sacking to "the recent downturn in results". Recent,  as in the last ice age was recent? We've been tripe getting on for three months. Unlucky. No. not that either. Russell Slade wasn't sacked because he was unlucky. You rely on luck to win the lottery, not to win football matches. It's like Fenty's football fortune fixation has infected everybody in the building. Who needs a plan or accountability when you put it all on black and spin the wheel. Russ didn't lose twelve coin tosses in a row. He was sacked because he was bad at his job. Mike Lyons bad. Slade deserves to be forgotten but instead will be remembered as one of the worst GTFC managers ever.

Unfortunately he can't be forgotten and certainly won't be forgiven by me. For Diz, Pearson, Jones, Osborne. For Woolford, Kelly, Hooper and Dixon. The two-year deals for the latter three are the turd the new manager will find in his drawer on his first day in the job. For giving Harry Clifton a debut of eight minutes at 3-0 down with nine men and then leaving him out of the next two squads. For his bullying attack on Matt Dean and subsequent pettiness towards him. For every snippy and rude interview with John Tondeur. For a 30 bloody minute powerpoint. It wasn't bad enough that it gave the opposition our tactics and we haven't won a game since, we had to look at a stinking powerpoint presentation. 

For Exeter, the worst game of football I've ever seen. For all that 'I'm a builder' guff; lying or deluded, take your pick but we've got five contracted players in May. For Max Wright, tearing it up on loan while his own donkeys defecated all over the BP turf. For that fake air punch with the fans when we win but skidaddling down the tunnel when we lose.

For the 'never relegated' reputation. Try telling the Coventry fans that one, he's the bloke that farts and leaves the room before the stink hits. Stand down Coventry fans. I couldn't understand their rabid reaction when we appointed Slade. I do now. We take the torch and solemnly pledge to descend like a pox on the fans of the next club crazy and desperate enough to employ him.

For playing a central midfield of Berrett and Summerfield even after he and his predecessor had signed about 30 midfielders in the past year. For 11 men back for a corner when trailing at home against 10 men. Most of all, for making me hate myself for buying tickets to games.

It wasn't all bad was it? Yes. Oh, ok. Slade's appointment meant Mark Stilton could dust off the Frenchman interview. That's about it. I could add in finally beating Cheltenham and Dembele's flick against Barnet but I'm bitter so I'm not going to.

Paul Wilkinson has his big chance tomorrow. He's been written off by some already for being the Phil Neal to Slade's Graham Taylor. I was hoping for a busy week as evidence to the contrary. Signs that he is going to grab that big chance. Max Wright, come in, your number is up. I must have been dreaming when I thought that could happen.

We haven't seen much if any indication of positive input from Wilkie/Wilko/Sort it Wilkinson this season. There's a good chance that watching a season of Slade's tactics and powerpoints have sent him to sleep. His interview yesterday with Radio Humberside sounded like he was still recovering. He certainly didn't distance himself from Slade, talking of the important first goal and even making an infuriating reference to "needing a bit of luck". FFS, makes us sound like a right bunch of wishful losers.

If that wasn't enough, Nathan Clarke did one of those god awful, 'we haven’t been very good lately' interviews saying we haven't been good but by jove, it's really time to step up now and be good. Why do they bother with this muck? If it's intended to cheer supporters up and give us a lift, it doesn't. The opposite in fact.

Nothing else for it but blind hope that tomorrow we tear Cambridge a new U and our only worry for the rest of the season is fitting all the syllables into the Paul Wilkinson's Black and White Army song. I've a feeling John Fenty is sat on his mountain of applications with a pin hoping likewise.