Case for the defence

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Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:43 pm

Everyone I spoke to either during the game or afterwards believe it's time for a clear out. Results speak for themselves.The past is the past, the future is looking grim and we're struggling with a talented set of players who just don't seem to want to play for the current set up. So I'm interested to know why some/a few think they should remain in office.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 6:39 pm

"How much more can the supporters take?"
"Where do we go from here?"
"Case for the defence"

All similar threads started by your good self - it's fair to say you're not exactly perched on that fence!
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:28 pm

Elmore James wrote: I'm interested to know why some/a few think they should remain in office.

Is it that hard to answer stillmanjnr? Just interested to know why people feel that way.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by yuffie on Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:32 pm

I guess I am one of the (only?) people who this is aimed at as I still don't believe that a change in management is the answer to our current struggles. Although, I should also add that if I receive a call or e-mail saying that I need to update the website with news that Howells and Britton have gone I would have no issue with that as if that's the direction the board decides to go, so be it.

It doesn't surprise me that most people want them out as this will always be the position of many supporters when they view that the team is under performing. Just look at the situation with Man United at the moment. And the case with a number of supporters for Britton and Howells is a lost one as far as I can see. They were conspicuous by their absence during the first month of the season and have no doubt forgotten (consciously or not) that this same management team got us to within a penalty shoot-out of Wembley this calendar year.

I have seen nothing to show that the players do not want to play for the management team. Post match celebrations at Ebbsfleet would suggest that there is still a strong team bond and even during the second half yesterday I did not feel the players had given up. And Mohamed returning to the club after the apparent fall-out that lead to his departure would also undermine any argument that players do not want to play for them.

I don't agree with the 'working for nothing' argument that is trotted out as, to my understanding, that isn't entirely the case. However, equally I don't imagine that we would be in a position to go out and bring in a new high profile manager and think the more likely scenario is that we'd turn to Jimmer and/or Phillips. If so, is that really going to make a massive difference?

I also don't buy into the idea we are in a relegation battle. We are still nearer the play-offs than the relegation zone (albeit by one point) and showed at Ebbsfleet that we are more than capable of winning tough games. It does seem that the team struggles with confidence and the biggest issue appears to be not scoring enough goals. A few people have been crying out for Pratty to be given a rest and it will be interesting to see if he rediscovers his form now he has had that benching. And, as I said in the other thread, McCootie needs games to try and get some match fitness. Then perhaps he can show the same goalscoring form he did last season. The defence seems to have largely removed the howlers (well, until, yesterday!) but still suffers from lapses of concentration that keep getting punished. The loss of Nicholson can't be underestimated in this regard. And I think all these on the field issues can be dealt with as well by the current set-up as by bringing anyone new in.

I fully expect that if the community takeover succeeds (which given the Christmas Eve announcement looks more than likely) then Britton and Howells will be told 'thank you and goodbye' and whilst playing out the rest of the season under that position is hardly ideal I have no issue with that being the case. To be honest, given the successes we have enjoyed under their leadership it is the least they deserve.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:45 pm

Thank you yuffie.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:50 pm

Elmore James wrote:
Elmore James wrote: I'm interested to know why some/a few think they should remain in office.

Is it that hard to answer stillmanjnr? Just interested to know why people feel that way.

Can do - out of interest, how many people is "everyone" (just a ballpark figure) and do they attend matches regularly?
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:06 pm

30 - 40 people would you like names and addresses? (just to clarify that's everyone I spoke to. All have been attending before you were born!) But then I guess you could read that as only 30-40 people who'd like Howells/Britton to resign.


Last edited by Elmore James on Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:31 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:13 pm

For what it's worth, I think Arch was put in a difficult position to begin with because it was obvious that a lot of our fans didn't want him in. Football fans are stubborn at the best of times and unless he'd won a league title at a canter by now or taken us to Wembley their opinion wouldn't have changed. Look how often managers are moved on higher up the pyramid, it's staggering. If every club in the league changed their boss, one of them would still have to finish bottom. I mean, Adie was in charge of two of the best seasons I've seen in my time supporting us, but he's now looked upon a someone who is responsible for recent 'failure'.

The form at the moment is irritating more than anything. I know we have it in us to be producing better performances, particularly at home recently. Would a change of management suddenly turn our fortunes around? I'm not sure if it'd make a huge difference to be honest. I'm usually a bit pessimistic in terms of where we'll finish in the league, but I don't think we'll be relegated. Easy reasoning - I think there are three teams worse than us. Don't think we'll be promoted either - I've definitely seen five better opponents.

If and when Arch moves on/is pushed I would go for a clean slate. That's not intending to be disrespectful to who we already have, I have a lot of time for all of them and don't think they're doing as bad overall as others are making out. It'd also, hopefully, mean that for the first time in years we have all supporters fully getting behind whoever is in charge. That said, some will be on his case as soon as we lose a game/go 1-0 down/concede a needless corner.

My main reason for replying initially was because it just seemed like such a generalisation saying 'everyone I spoke to says this'. Maybe they all did, and it could be more people than I'm imagining. It was sort of the same after the Ebbsfleet win. Now, I didn't suddenly expect everyone to change their views and think we had the best management team since formation (if they did I would have had little respect that one result means a complete different viewpoint) but to me a few people seemed really keen to say "so what, doesn't change anything", meaning yesterday's defeat fell into their hands to say "I told you so".
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:18 pm

Elmore James wrote:30 - 40 people would you like names and addresses? (just to clarify that's everyone I spoke to. All have been attending before you were born!) But then I guess you could read that as only 30-40 people you'd like Howells/Britton to resign.

Nope, ballpark figure was all I asked for, cheers. Fair play, If I speak to more than about 10 different people at a match I've done well.

I was going to make a joke that everyone I spoke to yesterday thought that the management team should be allowed to stay on, then confirm it was yuffie only. Well, it sounded funny in my head.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Steve Whites Missus on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:20 pm

I don't quite understand why everyone is on just Howells case as have always been unsure upon the identity of the real manager.
As junior mentions if a change is made it should be a clean sweep.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:24 pm

Steve Whites Missus wrote:I don't quite understand why everyone is on just Howells case as have always been unsure upon the identity of the real manager.
As junior mentions if a change is made it should be a clean sweep.

Maybe you would like to open for the prosecution? Smile

and thanks stillmanjnr for your reply too.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:31 pm

Elmore James wrote:All have been attending before you were born!)

That's an interesting point actually. I mean, I wasn't alive during the glory days in the past. Do some supporters of a certain age (I'm really getting in some peoples good books tonight) see upon this recent poor run as being something like a disaster because we used to play in front of thousands and play, perhaps, more entertaining football? I'd say I've been a regular at matches for around 20 years and the good and bad times are probably fairly even. I wouldn't say this is the lowest ebb, that was probably a lot of the time in the Southern League 2004-07 when, in my opinion, the standard of football was utter dross 90% of the time. I don't know what people are comparing it to. We all go on about the glory days, even I'm sadly at the age where I can chat to mates about how much better we thought football was in general during the 90s.

There's a tendency in people to believe that the present is always the 'best' or 'worst' thing they've witness. Every bad referee is the worst one we've had in years, forgetting that we might have had a poor one about two months previous. So whilst I think our recent run is poor, I've definitely seen worse. More or less the entire 2011/12 season, for example... I'm really not having a go at people for criticising recent performances, some of our home ones since September have been dire, but I'm just trying to look at this whole bigger picture.

I know what'll happen now - we'll receive our usual defeat at Havant tomorrow, Arch will resign on the coach, some random outsider will come in and we'll win our next six games by at least three clear goals. Stillman's attempts of being constructive thrown out the window.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:35 pm

Steve Whites Missus wrote:I don't quite understand why everyone is on just Howells case as have always been unsure upon the identity of the real manager.

To be fair that's one thing which I would change about Arch, and agree with criticisms about him - he should do all the after-match interviews, even if he's not keen on it. I can't imagine any other club in our league, or in football, regularly switch like we do. Unless he has a genuine reason for not doing it then fair enough, maybe he thinks he's not asked, he should be answering the questions after every game, whether it's at Ebbsfleet away or Truro home. I don't expect him to face a press conference most days like Louis van Gaal but after matches he should be the one having his say.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by yuffie on Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:21 pm

I do not doubt that I am in the minority in not wanting to replace the management team. Even though I fall in the group of following City since before Mark was born pale

Even I would agree with the widely felt view that when Howells became head coach after the Gosport defeat it was a case of chair shuffling. Before and after that I have always felt that Britton and Howells were a team - regardless of titles - and I would be very surprised that when the day of reckoning comes they both don't go.

As a side issue, whilst I think Howells is the more common target of discontent because of the way he can come over in the press I have always found him the more approachable in person of the two.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:12 am

I have to say that, though I disagree with Mark on whether we should change the management or not and a few other things, I am not sure why his young age has anything to do with anything regarding how the team is now. As he has says, he has been following the team in really bad times and good and seen all of Britton's management so is well placed to offer his opinion on the current issues. I mean, I have been attending a far shorter time than him but have seen enough to form an opinion.

Supporting a football team isn't a job, you don't get better the longer you do it. Sometimes, it's quite the opposite. As I say, as with yuffie, I disagree with Mark's opinion presently but, again as with yuffie, I don't see that his opinion has any less worth because he hasn't been going as long as others.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Elmore James on Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:14 am

stillmanjunior wrote:out of interest, how many people is "everyone" (just a ballpark figure) and do they attend matches regularly?

note the words attend matches regularly - by saying 'attending before you were born' just stated that they were long standing supporters that's all.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by stillmanjunior on Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:20 am

Yes, hence my other reply in whether they compare our fortunes now to how it was a long time ago.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by the demon headmaster on Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:24 am

I think the length of time someone has been supporting is important if only because it enables people with good memories to bring some perspective to the debate, although 20 years is more than enough time for that.

I have been supporting for 40 years now and I remember plenty of dire times, including the 4-0 home defeat to Worcester. In most of those years the very existence of the club has not been in jeopardy, yet it is now. The prolonged uncertainty about the future of the club does create instability and concern that colours almost everything else that happens.

The withdrawal of the major shareholders in the late 90s was a great shock, but the season that followed included some of the best football I remember from a Bath City side, even if it did end in last match relegation. The promise those young players showed gave me heart.

What I don't see at the moment is promise. I think we all believe we should be doing better with our squad and yet we're not. I accept all the very good points Yuffie made about whether changing the management would make any difference and that both have been involved in more successful episodes, but I do wonder that they are also not responsible for the mood around TP.

Davidge and Morgan were both under used resources who could bring fresh vigour into our team , and more baffling still the mercurial Stearn, who was undoubtedly a game changer, was left out far too often. These are the defining questions about the duos fitness to manage promise in recent times and I don't believe anyone can argue we don't need fresh ideas.

I don't suppose there will be any of us that can say everything goes well all the time. We all make mistakes and errors of judgement, so I am not calling for perfection or for every game to be a 5 star performance, but I see no plan or strategy in the way we are set up at the moment. I would also not expect anyone in their situation to give up either, but The players picked look like a random selection of individuals who don't quite know what to expect from each other. This is only underlined by the continued use of McCootie - who surely has had his day. In short I think the duo have used up whatever ideas they had and the fare on offer is going very stale. Therefore they should be asked to step aside.

This would be a huge decision, because there is no guarantee that a new person would be successful with the resources we have available. Yet something must be tried to unleash the promise I believe exists within most of our players. And for someone to step forward who can make better use of young and talented individuals.

I want hope more than results at the moment, but a few better performances would certainly help. I hope all that makes some kind of sense.

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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:03 pm

There comes a time, even with the best managers, where they have been around for too long and just a change will make a difference, any change. It happened to Shankly, Clough and, recently, with Mourinho so, whatever their track record, it will and probably has happened with Britton and Howells. The issue has been exacerbated by the "new boss, same as the old boss" nature of Britton hanging around and there not being clearly defined roles for so long now. If it carries on much longer, Rollo is going to get tarred with the same malaise as well. They obviously can't lift the players any more and have run out of ideas to use them

Like you, I am not expecting to win every game, far from it, but every result presently - even the Ebbsfleet game - has to be seen in the context of this terrible run. I say this as someone who has seen the management team produce some genuinely excellent football - for any level, great success, excellent performances and spot on tactics. While the run at the start of the season flattered to deceive, the Rovers match and a couple of other matches last season were excellent and, of course, the promotion season and the first back in the Conference were brilliant as well - some of the most enjoyable I have watched at any level. Even the most loyal supporters must admit that there appears to be no possibility of Howells and Britton returning to such form even if they can - and, obviously, did at Ebbsfleet - get it right for the odd match.

I say this as someone who was quite happy, were the club to be starting as a community-owned club this season, to have Howells and Britton stay throughout this season. I thought that they were a safe pair of hands for a nice non-dramatic consolidation season finishing in mid-table obscurity while we set everything in place. However, as the club is continuing in the same manner off-field presently, we, at least, need to get something on the pitch and we just aren't presently. Even my confidence of a couple of weeks ago that we wouldn't get relegated under Howells and Britton is ebbing away.

I have to say that, for all the talk about how we are always crap when we have a big crowd, the crowds always stay up for 'big' games such as the student promotion, Boxing Day and, I am confident, the community day and "pay what you want" day. I think that this says a lot of how much floating supporters are happy to come down and watch their local team play live whatever their form. However, getting them to come back in between, however good the mach day expereience is, is going to need a certain amount of a chance that they will see a win or a good performance otherwise we will struggle to get them to return in between the marquee games
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:15 pm

the demon headmaster wrote:I think the length of time someone has been supporting is important if only because it enables people with good memories to bring some perspective to the debate, although 20 years is more than enough time for that.

As an aside and not particularly specific to Bath City, I have to say that while I agree that all perspectives are important, I disagree that an older perspective is any more relevant. Sometimes, supporting a team for a long time can give you a skewed perspective on a club or team. I have seen managers barracked for bringing a non-traditional but ultimately more successful style of football to a team from more established supporters. Arsene Wenger's arrival at Arsenal springs to mind.

Also, during the rebranding of Cardiff City, Vincent Tan had a lot of support from a lot of older more experienced supporters. He appealed to their deluded ideas that Cardiff City were a 'big' club because they watched them when they were in the First Division decades ago. Some of those who had been following Cardiff City since that time - including in Division 4 - could see what the club's status really was - at best a regular mid-table Second Division club - as has been proved. Football and the club had moved on from the 60s.

Younger and/or newer supporters can bring a great amount of informed insight about a team or a club and older (in both senses of the word) supporters can be shackled by nostalgia and not have a clear view of the club. Vice versa also applies, of course.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by BenE on Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:08 pm

I rarely agree with the sacking of any manager at any club. Often it is just engineered by the press to generate stories or done by the board to get the fans off their back. There are some managers who I think are rubbish and seem to go from club to club creating disaster but obviously Adie and Archie do not fall into this category.
I think the main problem is that they appear to have run out of ideas. Some of the excuses trotted out this season suggest that. They are hamstrung by the budget in that if players are carrying injuries they still have to work with them. Is Dave Pratt playing through injury? It would certainly explain why he has completely gone off the boil? Hemmings also is just not the same player.
But if they aren' t it is up to the management to sort them out. My main criticism of the pair is that I do not think they improve players. I can't think of anyone who was better when they left than when they came. Hence the difficulty of pulling out of the doldrums.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by BenE on Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:25 pm

The whole of page 2 was written betweeen me writing my above post and actually posting it. There are some excellent points made and others better than I have.
The point about Jimmer being tarred with the same brush is a good one. I can see him being a casualty. We may never get to see whether he would make a successful transition to manager.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:46 pm

I have to say that the most sensible move to me is put in Rollo (possibly with Billy Clark) straight away. Give him to the end of the season as caretaker manager to, at least, keep us up (which I think he would be entirely capable of doing even if it is just by being a new broom). If it looks like he is floundering, bring in someone else either to assist him or someone for him to assist. Did we ascertain where Andy Tillson is now. At one point, he was being touted for the Rovers job but I see he isn't at Exeter anymore and seems to have rather fallen off the radar.
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Roman Mike on Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:48 am

Marc Monitor wrote:I have to say that the most sensible move to me is put in Rollo (possibly with Billy Clark) straight away. Give him to the end of the season as caretaker manager to, at least, keep us up (which I think he would be entirely capable of doing even if it is just by being a new broom). If it looks like he is floundering, bring in someone else either to assist him or someone for him to assist. Did we ascertain where Andy Tillson is now. At one point, he was being touted for the Rovers job but I see he isn't at Exeter anymore and seems to have rather fallen off the radar.

Much as we all love Rollo I am not aware of any evidence he would be any good as a manager. Passion and commitment are admirable qualities and can take you so far. Probably lacking in the current squad but need the skill and organisation to go with it. I think appointing Rollo would show a lack of ambition and send the wrong message to current and prospective players.

Then again, whilst certainly no apologist for the current management team, I am not a great advocate of binning the manager when things go wrong - at any level. Too simplistic and is often done by the board / owner to divert attention from themselves. Which begs the question, (for me anyway) how come the current malaise is being blamed on the manager(s) (by some) and not the board?
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Re: Case for the defence

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:42 pm

The only evidence we have got of Rollo as a manager is that he is the one that is standing up giving instructions to the team. Of course, there is a great difference between directing the team on the pitch and actual managing or, indeed, coaching but having watched him I think that he conducts himself well, has the respect of the players and many of the supporters as well. That will give him a huge amount of credit while he finds his feet as a proper manager. At the end of the day, all managers have had to have a club who will take them on as manager with no experience.
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Re: Case for the defence

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