Oh to be a Blues Fan.
I have previously spoken of astonishment and disagreement with the whole Rowett sacking and Zola hiring (found here). It’s fair to say I’m not a fan of the decision and I genuinely cannot believe where we are now. I still think I am going to wake up and it will all be a horrid dream and really we’ve taken 13 points from a possible 18 cementing ourselves in play-offs, on the coattails of the leaders – Now I really am dreaming!
But I read an article today on a Blues fan forum that had me in support of our new man at the helm. Rob Smith, writing for BCFC Followers suggests that because of Blues’ poor run of form (and it is a poor run) and our much lower league position that the time is now to get rid of Gianfranco Zola and put someone else in charge that will turn things around (the article has since been taken down due to negative comments).
So, 2 points from a possible 18 is incredibly poor by any standard and is certainly form that does get managers called into the Chairman’s Boardroom to be handed their P45.
Our fall from 7th in the league, 3 points from the automatic promotion spots to 12th in the league, 8 points (and 10 goals) off the last playoff spot (21 points off the automatic promotion place) is a bitter pill to swallow. Only Bristol City, who have lost their last 8 league games are on a poorer run than us since Zola took charge.
Yet, despite the stats, despite my contempt for the decision I still believe we should stick with Zola, for the rest of the season at least.
My reason for this is relatively simple – To date we’ve made 5 new signings (Lukas Jutkiewicz doesn’t count as a new signing in my book) and they need time to settle into the team and the squad.
Clearly Zola is a man on a mission to turn us into a ball playing, total footballing, attractive side to watch – that in itself is going to take time with what he has to work with. He now needs time to embed his new signings with the best of the rest we have to offer. Assuming that 4 of the new lads will all start (I can’t see Scarr displacing Morrison or Shotton just yet) that’s nearly half the outfield team that is different from December. That will need time to adjust.
I personally feel we will not have a good idea as to the teams true potential, and Zola’s ability to get the squad of players he has working properly until at least the end of February.
If at the beginning of March things really haven’t improved, then you need to start thinking about ‘how many games do we give him’. But this will then lead you onto mid-late March with only about 6 weeks left of the season.
That will not be anywhere near enough time for a new manager to come in and turn things around, so the club should hold off, stick with Zola to the end of the season, see where we finish, review how things have gone and then make an informed decision.
I only hope that we tick over enough points in that time frame to ensure our league survival. Despite my thoughts about this, I reserve the right to say “I told you so” to the board when Zola doesn’t work out.
It also factors on the fans committing to back the team and manager and not turn on Zola or the board in that time frame. Which, if the poor run continues will most certainly happen.