2001/2 - The Season By Teletext
New Frontiers was asked to include a pithy 60- 80 word weekly report on City for Teletext. For the record, here’s how we saw the season. Be warned, it might not make sense now, it often didn’t then as its not easy to present a point of view in only 60 words, especially if Teletext imposed their editorial control on our submission.
Apr 24 2002
Success for next season is easily achieved. Sack Dolan, appoint someone else but bring Terry back for the last third of next season where once again this season we had promotion winning form. Plans to abolish the yellow ball are afoot. Our dip in league form coincided with its November introduction, whilst with the white ball we had FA Cup success. A bit more money, a few new players and bigger crowds would be useful too!
Nice to be able to cheer a few goals as our climb up the table continues. Nice too to see some set piece goals. Let’s hope it continues after the summer break. I’m not going to get too excited about the new wave of youngsters making their debts over the past couple of weeks. I’ll wait until they achieve Chris Topping (or even Gary Ford) status. But certainly, it should be the way forward.
4 points but just one goal just about sum up our team at the moment, solid but lacking flair. Will Super Al retain his player of the year award, or will Procter steal the honours. Whoever it is they’re probably the most of our likely stars not to be with us next season. Whilst last week’s release of 4 youngsters once again prompts the question, why do so many of our youth stars fail to progress.
The only good thing about the last week or so has been the 2 home wins that guaranteed our league status. Elsewhere, no change with a defeat at Macclesfield and all the accusations and jibes flying around. It would be nice if just once we all pulled together for City rather than pursuing our own hobby horses!
Looking forward to seeing the designs for the new stadium and also seeing the business plan to attract 6,000 every game. When was the last time we got 6,000 regularly? Last Saturday will have come as a bit of a shock, a defeat and the stayaway hundreds. Nothing new to most supporters. Nor was the win over Lincoln, just as inconsistent as ever. Roll on the end of the season and a new beginning.
A big welcome to John Batchelor. He’ll need some time to get to grips with what he’s bought. If he can relocate us, generate income on non-match days, move us upwards and silence the doubters, then he’ll do for me. Don’t expect things to happen overnight, but Saturday was a far more pleasant experience than many recent matches. John, same again.
With John Collinson offered a pro contract, it puts doubts over our other keepers. Who’ll be on his bike, Super Al or Young Russ. Russ has played for England Under 20s, but his career won’t go anywhere in our reserves. It’ll a take a lot to displace Super Al. If we’re to move forward, well have fewer high wage earners next season. Just one more poser for the new management.
Following our postponement on Saturday popped along to my local team, Watford. Lost track of the times I heard, "win our last 10 and we’re in the play offs, like last time we got promoted". Back to City, win our games in hand and the play offs beckon. Optimism springs eternal. Meanwhile, a big hi to Jon Parkin. He’ll be cheaper than an ageing veteran and offer more potential sell on income. The way forward for City?
I might be an old stick in the mud, but I’m not convinced that an out of town ground is the way forward. If we sold BC, we’d spend a similar amount to build a new ground. Even DC doubted the wisdom of a new ground when we struggle to fill BC. If we don’t get stuck in the mud and water, Bristol Rovers gives us a good chance of another 3 points.
With Bury and Halifax sending out financial distress signals last week, its good to know City aren’t alone in struggling financially. Whatever happens, City’s wage bill is still too large and whoever is in charge, must be trimmed this summer. Until we generate more income, we’ll continue to struggle. Recent weeks have seen a return to form on the pitch and a chink of daylight between us and the bottom. Keep it up.
Southend on Saturday was a crunch win in more ways than one as once again we ground out a win. Whilst Super Al deserves a medal for putting Halifax before Cyprus. Hope you’ve forked out your tenner by now, the best tenner you might ever spend supporting City. With a third of the season still to go, a lot can still happen. Come on City, make it happen.
A 5-4 game is never a classic, defensive frailties abounding. Last night was no exception. Unfortunately, with more away games coming up, we are still in dire straits. At least Southend away in February is better than Scarborough away! If you haven't already, don't forget to sign up to the Supporters Trust, only a tenner, more if you can afford it. Help secure the future of your football club.
This weekend is one of City’s most important. The Supporters Trust officially launches at the Barbican on Friday night, Saturday sees the Fans United march before Lincoln which will hopefully net us 3 points. Not since Brighton’s pioneering Fans United will so many fans have come together in support of one club. The Gulls survived, stronger and are now challenging for Division One football. City in 3 years time we hope. Remember www.saveyork.co.uk.
The London press has been full of condescending comments from Fulham about how they're looking forward to an easy game whilst helping City financially. They seem to have forgotten that we've already beaten 3 supposedly superior sides and, in the cup at least, we're on a roll. However, I can't get too excited about the people whinging about not getting a ticket for next Saturday, they had plenty of chances.
Craig's "vilification and vandalism" statement shows him as a hypocrite. The biggest act of vandalism against City is his proposed sale. He's never been shy of critising fans and players alike. On Radio 5, he asked his interviewer to propose a middle ground. Sell the shares at cost and covenant the ground restricting it to sporting usage. Demonstrating what he's always said, that he's a fan, and acting as our saviour.
For a few days at least we need to put the excitement of recent weeks behind us and take 3 points off Torquay on Saturday. Whatever else happens, we’ll be nothing without our Football League status next season. And with 2 home games coming up, it’ll be good to see a couple of big crowds backing the team. Both the points and the money would come in useful in our current predicament.
Whoever the new owners are, they’ll be faced with the age old problem. A city that’s never been a football hotbed and supporters who’d rather criticse than praise. Even on Saturday, some supporters were quick to barrack, not back, City. Whoever is successful will not succeed alone. A supporters trust will involve many people and a lot of hard work. Any new financial backer will only input so much (profit anticipated) and expect the supporters to back his vision.
Woke up this morning, bloated with a huge hangover. More eating and drinking ahead. Not for me the harsh regime of being a professional footballer. Train yesterday, play today. Lots of presents yesterday, more treats to look forward to. Amongst them, a cup trip to Grimsby and another uphill league battle in the new year. It gets more frustrating, week by week, the only constant being our inconsistency. Whatever happens, you and I will be there. Happy New Year.
As its the season of goodwill to all men, I’m not going to mention our latest inept performance.. Being charitable, Cheltenham did to us what we did to Reading. Amid the "Dolan Out" cries, I thought, its taken him 2 years to assemble the side. There’s some good players in the team who’d walk into any side in the division. Anyway, what guarantee have we that a successor would improve the team. Would he be better than Little, Thompson or Dolan?
I had a dig after Darlo and its another dig now. If we can comfortably beat Reading and hold our own twice against Colchester, why are we languishing a division beneath them. Blame the manager if you want, but the real blame lies with the players. They’ve got the talent, but can’t be bothered to use it every week. More application and the team would be further up the league, and several of the players in a higher division.
Depressed after Saturday’s defeat, I drove home via Wembley, probably the closest City will get to the Cup Final this season. From the outside, its still a stadium, but there’s no one there. Just like our defence at Darlo. We’ll have to tighten up considerably at the back, if we’re to have a chance of beating Reading. No one fancied us to beat Reading last season, but we did. Let’s hope Saturday is a repeat performance.
Tuesday’s gutsy win took the venom out of my first draft, but we can’t afford to lose a million again. Surprised at DC's comments re the youth system. Its never produced a strong first team backbone. Its produced some players we've sold for considerable profit, but go back to John Byrne to find the last youth player to become a real first team star. 3 points are vital at Feethams to prevent us slipping right into the relegation dog fight.
After 3 games without a goal our much hyped strike force needs to get back to scoring. Maybe we have played 3 decent sides, but we’ve got nothing to show for it. I’m not even sure if moving from 4-4-2 to 5-3-2 is right, are three very ordinary centre backs really better than two? The jury is still out. Let’s hope a couple of wins in the next week answers the question.
After Scunny, there were calls for new defenders, midfielders and a new manager. Some things never change. Really big clubs don't change their manager after every defeat. It took Fergie years to build a dominant Man Utd. Most City fans would say we're better than last season, promotion a possibility. With significant prize money at stake, a good cup run would come in very handy, both cash and morale wise.
With no midweek game, I couldn’t keep away from The Crescent. I dug out my old schoolboy trousers and went to the Junior Reds fireworks party. Thanks to all who helped organise it, pity about the bonfire. Rumour says it was cancelled as no player was available to act the guy. I’ll be in my usual place on Friday night, cheering us on against Scunthorpe
Anyone with half a brain knew we wouldn’t set the division alight this season, so perhaps we should all get of Dolan's back and let him get on with managing. A new manager might spend the next 2 years bringing in his own players whilst the club stood still. Throughout the side, we’ve a few half decent players and are slowly moving in the right direction. 3 points at Oxford wouldn’t come amiss.
Had we turned the corner with our Southend win? No, it turned into a dead end at Kidderminster. Its infuriating, we keep losing to bad sides but remain just a couple of straight wins outside the play off zone. There’s nothing to separate most of the division, except for confidence and self belief. I suspect we’ve a bit more of both than Macclesfield, and decent goalscorers to boot. To me, thats 3 points on Saturday and another push for the play offs.
What might have happened if Christian Fox’s first minute shot had gone in at Hartlepool?. Another impressive win a la Torquay and Lincoln. As it was, it was back to the bad old days as heads dropped and confidence fell. We’ve got some talented players, but still no special leader. Southend on Saturday offers a chance of redemption. There’s a lot of bad teams about, confidence and belief in one’s self makes all the difference.
Defeat against bottom club Exeter has set us up nicely for Hartlepool. Can we achieve the hat trick. Defeat against 3 teams who were bottom of the table at the time we played them. But seriously, if we’d beaten Exeter and Carlisle, we’d be in the play off places and could realistically talk about promotion. As it is, we’re mid table, and as they say, its all to play for. Bring on the kids, you don’t win anything with nobodies.
After another away win, perhaps we should treat every game as an away game. Board the coach, a quick jaunt halfway down the A1, turn back. Arrive back at BC just in time for a quick kick about. As the team runs out, the pitifully small crowd already suggests an away fixture. Exeter gives us another chance for 3 points. It won’t be easy, but form suggests its 3 points for the taking. A chance to reach up to the play off zone.
I’m not sure whether our last 2 draws are points gained or dropped. Its good to be unbeaten against top sides, but just 2 points from 5 games has seen us drop down the table. If its any consolation, we’ve already played most of the sides with promotion credentials and haven’t done too badly. If we can be more consistent against the rest, we’ll soon climb back up the table. Lincoln on Saturday would be a good place to start.
3 defeats probably don’t make us a bad side just as our early league position didn’t mean we were promotion certainties. A Middlesboro supporting friend came into work yesterday and revealed the secret of their successful weekend. He’d thrown away their fixture list last Friday. After last night, I’ve done the same. Hope it does the same for us. See you at Plymouth, if memory serves me right, on Saturday.
My little boy spent the first half of last week replaying Yorkie’s Orient goal "celebration". By Sunday, he’d perfected a trick of falling over his football. I don’t know if he picked it up at school or Boothferry Park. Whatever, reality hit home as we lost 4-0 to Hull. But, we’re still better than last season and should consolidate a position in the top half. Luton will pose more problems. we’re good enough to beat them, but let’s not leave it as late as against Orient.
Our good start continues. Whilst there’s no doubt our performances could be better, its good to see us getting results and being high in the table. I didn’t expect to be above Hull and Rushden. Let’s hope we maintain our position come Saturday night. The merits of an injury free and settled side are showing through. If we could sign Proctor then we might go places. I suspect we’d have to break our club record to make it permanent.
Despite the result at Shrewsbury, we’re starting to look like a team. Nothing flash, just dependable, certainly an improvement on last season. Its good to see the goals being shared around. OK, no one looks likely to score 30 for us this season, but we can expect double figures from four or five players. Home to Halifax gives us another chance to consolidate our place in the top half.
Torquay showed its important to make your mark early. 1-0, we’re in control. Good to see a Proctor class performance. Some old frailties were apparent, but when you’re leading, you cover them up. Coming from behind against Crewe, we showed class to go ahead. Pity the crowd, pity the penalties, another Wembley result would have been nice. Have we won a shoot out since against professionals? Unfortunately, come the end of the season, 3 points against Leyton will be more important than cup performances.
It hardly seems like yesterday that we played at Torquay. Happy memories of sand castles, ice cream and Graham Potter specials. Talking of who, its good to see Potter’s improved form continue into this season, no one’s complained about the lose of Ginner. A win at Torquay would do nicely, it would certainly show that we’re better than Saturday’s defeat might suggest. You could do worse that back the Diamonds for the Championship.
It’ll be interesting to show how our slimmed down squad copes with the ambitious Diamonds on Saturday. So slimmed down it seems, we might be struggling for strikers. Its times like these when we should be able to benefit from our mutually beneficial link up with Sunderland. A good start will set us up nicely for the season ahead, so get the behind the lads right from the start.