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Messages - TonyM

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General Discussion / Re: Hughes next to go?
« on: January 26, 2024, 05:18:57 PM »
Hughes may well have picked up a knock for all we know.

Managers really earn their corn recruiting and moulding a team and getting in the characters that fit their preferred set up and way of playing. When a manager takes over mid season it can be very hit and miss. TW failed to keep Lynn up, IC struggled at Kettering and then with Boston the year after. It's now getting desperate, so new players and formations are being played with to try and find a winning formula.

One things for sure, the NLN is a tough old league. The variety in the quality of surfaces to play on, the poor climate, the physicality and streetwise-ness of sides, long travel distances all make playing pretty football redundant. You have to play effective football. IC's side were struggling when Covid came and would not have remained in contention had the season played out through heavy Winter pitches. So I can see why AL keeps harping on about work rate combined with experience, doing the ugly side well and being clinical in both boxes is what gets results. Currently Lynn have the work rate, but seem to lack the rest. Margetts will help in one box, if he can get some supply, but losing Crowther has really exposed our own box. Last season we had 2 speedy, competent wing backs, Crowther, Coulson was a year younger and there was a defensive midfielder just in front of them. Finding a way, anyway, to be effective and get some wins, is currently all that matters.

Whilst I agree with some of that Pink, not sure I agree with it all.  I think the NLN was slow to appreciate how good IC's team really were and took a while to adjust but I think it was that adjustment (being far more defensive) rather than the weather that slowed the progress of that side and still think we would have made the playoffs had the year played out.  Most of the teams we played that year and again since we returned to the NLN are more than capable of playing half decent football as Curzon showed on Tuesday evening although maybe they were playing on a different surface to Lynn??? 

What I would agree with is that if we are to stay up we need to find a way to be effective and get some wins, the worry is that both the management and players looked shot on Tuesday evening, hopefully a few of days together in Ely, particularly for the new lads, will have been a chance to reset and we will see a better balanced side at the weekend, I just hope we don't concede early for as much as the Walks can really get behind a side, when things turn it isn't great and with AL highlighting the pressure the players feel at home you would fear the worst against a Chester side who have always played good football when they have visited.

General Discussion / SC's latest podcast
« on: January 26, 2024, 01:34:25 PM »
So having opted out of programme note duty this week, SC did manage to get a podcast out, including an interview with kindred spirit Simon Leslie, owner and chairman of Eastbourne Borough who I think it would be fair to say, isn't short of self belief although in another parallel with SC, finds his side sitting 21st in NLS.  As usual, it was an interesting listen and SC is a good host as he asks questions journalists wouldn't so you often get to hear a very different side of football and this episode is no different and well worth a listen.

In terms of Lynn updates
  * TW has submitted his response so the whole compensation saga is moving forward
  * not a fan of how Wimbledon handled the Bartley loan deal and used it as an excuse to kick supporter owned teams more generally and again express his anti-Independent Regulator stance, not quite sure either were really anything to do with the issue at hand but it seemed to fit SC's narrative
  * very brief mention of the TSI deal, praising how easy 'Joe' is to deal with although no further details of what the arrangement is
  * expanded on his South American trip, seems it was looking at ways of bringing 'kids' across from Venezuela and Columbia, although surprise, surprise it is hard!
  * had a pop at a few lower league clubs who have refused to let their players know we have submitted bids for them, appreciate that this is frustrating and he is right in that we do the right thing by players, allowing them to progress, as shown by the Crowther deal
  * also we confirmed we are now straight with HMRC, although in the main interview he did express surprise about how quick we were chased (as we are a football club)
  * a few new faces at the Walks, new catering manager and a new ops/H&S manager in post and will be sorting the commercial role out 'soon' but he is busy
  * finally called for everyone at the club to stick together for the run in

Podcast available here

General Discussion / Re: Greg Plummer article
« on: January 25, 2024, 01:18:52 PM »
Have to say that the article seems a very one sided view of our current situation and much as I don't blame AL for everything you might hope for a more balanced article from an established journalist. 

Where AL is talking about "...we're trying to find different ways to get points.", you could equally point to a pretty mixed message in terms of team shape and makeup meaning players possibly don't know what their role is from one game to the next or how we are meant to attack or defend as a team

Also, I just wish he would stop with the fitness thing, maybe we were unfit, maybe we weren't but surely by now as professionals they should be 'fit enough' and the bulk of the contact time with players should be working on shape and ball work rather than just more and more running?  Trotting out that players are 'running their socks off' for him really isn't much to crow about when talking about full-time players.  Maybe someone should show AL a video or two of the football IC's part-time players managed to produce and I would bet that as a side they had lower 'stats' than our current crop but the old saying of 'letting the ball do the work' has maybe never been more applicable.

As for more new signings, at some point SC will have to ask himself if we are genuinely adding quality or are we just changing names on the backs of shirts for the sake of it.  Not saying that is true of all the recent additions and very hard to judge anyone based on Tuesday night but sometimes you are better getting the best out of what you have rather than disrupt things further.

General Discussion / Re: Managers interview
« on: January 25, 2024, 12:58:44 PM »
Al sounds like a football manager, actually like most football managers.  He mistakenly thinks players like Barrett plays a half-hearted game, whereas good players, like JB, are looking to beat a player if necessary, then produce a clever through-ball.  AL thinks fitness and running about like headless chickens to chase hoofed wind assisted balls is a “shift” he wants to see.  At least that’s the impression I get from his team’s performance and his subsequent assessments.  If I’m wrong, and hope I am, I apologise, but players who play like JB win matches if teammates are as clever, whereas the fit butchers dogs don’t, in general…

Dilly, for the criticism AL has come in for on here and social media over the past few days, I have seen very few Walks regulars who have disagreed with his assessment of JB in his press conference Tuesday evening, maybe you are watching a different player when you go?  I would say that on a personal level, my problem isn't because I like 'kick & rush' football, far from it, and if we could turn back the clock to watch the flowing passing game we regularly saw under IC or even the more dynamic but equally enjoyable purple patch we had under TW late autumn last season then I would be more than happy but supporting a club means accepting the bad times (even as bad as it was on Tuesday) as well as the good and you just hope that over the years there is more good than bad.

General Discussion / Re: Managers interview
« on: January 24, 2024, 07:31:45 PM »
To be fair to AL he nearly always faces the press, admittedly they don't give him a particularly hard time but after performances like last night I think most of us would either want to get straight in the car or end up 'saying what we thought' about some of the players which is, of course, counter productive when most of them are probably going to be with us for the rest of the season.

I thought his comments on JB were spot on, he didn't quite go as far as saying we were carrying him in games but it was clear that he no longer wanted to accept half hearted performances and for those saying we were ripped off, why would we let him go on a free if there were a queue of teams who wanted to buy him?

I think his comments about Curzon were partly justifying his position in that he has had success when given time but whilst recruitment is a key part of management in non-league, so too is getting the best out of what you have and I remain to be convinced that AL has shown the necessary skills in this area, with many of his teams looking less than the sum of their parts.

General Discussion / Re: Is it not about time ?
« on: January 24, 2024, 01:21:39 PM »
Shame that SC couldn't pen a column in the programme last night, replacing the normal Chairman's notes with a copy of the TSI news item that was put on the club website on the 8th January.  Fair enough if he hasn't had time to do a podcast but there currently isn't a game scheduled for the Walks for another month, subject to the new date for the Chorley game, so would have liked to see him take the opportunity to engage with fans with some positive news after the very defensive notes from the Darlington game.

General Discussion / Re: Lynn lose to Curzon.
« on: January 24, 2024, 01:10:54 PM »
... its a very difficult one for the Chairman.

As far as I can see, the simple question at the moment could be is Lakeland the man for the task ahead?

Simple question but a very difficult one to answer. Anyone new coming in will have a massive mountain to climb, without the benefit of time to bed in. There would be no time for a honeymoon period.

That's unless their main job is not survival but rebuilding for next season, which I guess would be with a part time squad.

A fair analysis B&G and as you rightly say a very difficult question for SC

I don't really subscribe to the view that AL inherited a rubbish squad (certainly not relegation candidates) but would accept that it didn't contain the type of players he would ideally want to work with.  Given the player turnover, particularly since the TSI news broke, you would imagine SC would want to give AL more time but last night's performance was so poor on top of a dreadful run at what point does he decide he has to change things?

The discussion we had on the terraces last night was that it might be a case of sticking with AL or asking Coulson to step up, as at least he knows the players, but with little managerial experience that comes with it's own, maybe greater, risks.  The TSI deal (whatever that may be) may also complicate matters if it is dependent on step 2 and a full time squad then relegation could see an end to the club, however if the plan is to go part-time next season whatever league we are in then I can't see AL being here to oversee that transition so maybe that would point to getting someone in this season.

General Discussion / Re: Lynn lose to Curzon.
« on: January 24, 2024, 08:30:35 AM »
I think last night had been coming for a while, AL consistently swapping things round searching for any sort of set up that might work which, combined with new additions and players being played out of position, has only resulted in us looking more and more disjointed.  Curzon looked the exact opposite - neat, tidy, everyone knowing both their position and where their teammates were and hardly had to break sweat for their 3 goal advantage at half time and in fairness 4-0 at the end flattered us.

Not sure where SC goes from here, very difficult to make a case for keeping AL other than he needs time to bed in the new signings but with Gloucester a week on Saturday then a free week will SC gamble and hope for a 'new manager bounce' against Chester?  Whoever is in the dug out at the weekend they will have to find a shape and formation that at least tries to create a chance or two for Margetts (who must be wondering why on earth he left Matlock) and instill some belief into a squad that looked completely shot both individually and collectively last night. 

Lots of gallows humour on display alongside some of the more unnecessary (although perhaps understandable) abuse last night but still expect to see the same faces again at the weekend, they say it is the hope that kills you, I think anything less than 4 points from our next two games and even the most optimistic of fans will probably see that as the end any hope of staying up.

General Discussion / Re: Barrett goes
« on: January 23, 2024, 06:26:43 PM »
To be fair to SC, there were many fans both on here and elsewhere on social media who were saying we couldn't let Josh go for anything less than 'silly money' at the start of the season.  The fact that he has now gone on a free is more down to how much his stock has fallen than any action of the chairman, no matter what valuation he had unless you have a willing buyer you won't have a sale and I think that is where we have been with Barrett for a while and so I think we were right to cut our losses as better now than on a free at the end of the season and at least we can use the wages saved on someone AL  wants in the team.

General Discussion / Re: Thoughts on match at Hereford
« on: January 22, 2024, 02:02:06 PM »
Few reflections on Saturdays match:

First half we were mostly chasing shadows and it looked like a top v bottom kind of clash.  Second half we had a great spell and also got some luck.  Paul Jones was magnificent and basically kept us in it. 
I think we are better 4-4-2 than 3-5-2.  I guess the reason why we maybe set up to play 3-5-2 is that we don't have centre backs that are quick.  Coulson looks exposed in a 4 even though he is a tremendous player and a warrior.  Gabby looked better further forward and is not a wing back in my opinion.  When we went 4-4-2 we looked a lot better in midfield and really caused them some problems.  Hargreaves was good wide right also.
New signing Magretts showed good directness and the rare times he got the ball he tended to use it well.  I think he will be a good player for us. 
Best player for them was the winger no 17 who was almost impossible to play against.  Apparently he is on load from Banbury which is madness, surely they need him?!
I enjoyed the game from the Hereford directors area as guest of a mate whose firm are a sponsor there.  I celebrated loud and proud the penalty save as well as our two goals and enjoyed annoying the locals.  However I must say that Hereford are a top club with really decent people and I was interested to hear of their 50% fab ownership model.

TDA, firstly thank you for such a comprehensive report, really helpful for those of us that only go to the odd away game in a season.  I think AL is in your camp, preferring 442 than 352 but given the players he inherited (particularly the centre halves that remain from the MH's initial squad) it is going to be a risk, although whether we ever had the wing backs to make that system work is now a mute point.    Maybe as the squad evolves we will see that 442 more often although I would prefer to see the line up from Buxton (with Magretts for Stephens) tomorrow night.

Also, are you able to give a bit more detail on what their fan ownership means at a practical level?  Thanks.

General Discussion / Re: Not looking good.
« on: January 22, 2024, 01:54:45 PM »
Personally, I am not really bothered about the communication issues for the rest of the season, as long as the results are good enough to keep the club in the NLN. I am sure a top down review of what goes on at the club will be necessary and be carried out before the start of next season........but get relegated and the whole structure is in jeopardy

Pink, I have to admire your optimism but what gives you confidence that there will be such a review (however necessary) before the start of next season?  I would also be interested in what you think the 'whole structure' currently looks like and why and which bits would be in in jeopardy should we be relegated.  Given that there has been very little in the public domain other than SC saying all is well now, I guess we are all making up our minds based on how much faith we have in SC's word.

General Discussion / Re: Important point on the road.
« on: January 21, 2024, 11:57:33 AM »
Two points from the two away games is probably par (Buxton on a poor run but so were we, Hereford in the playoff spots so point there has to be seen as a bonus given our form/position).

As for the next two home games, two teams in or around the playoffs but realistically we need to be targeting at least four points if we are going to start closing the gap on teams ahead of us.  AL's two wins at the Walks have come against the 2nd top and bottom teams but we haven't played well against many of those around us at home so maybe a chance to do well against slightly better (and maybe more attacking) opposition.  That was one of the criticisms of AL's team at Curzon - play well against the better teams but couldn't get results against the lower teams.  Hopefully we will set up to play a bit more football as I still think there is more ability in this squad than our current position suggests, even if under both MH and AL we have failed to produce that on a regular basis.

General Discussion / Re: Not looking good.
« on: January 21, 2024, 11:45:59 AM »
... Anyone know why Josh Barret wasn’t at the game today

Didn't make the Squad.

In a similar vein, was there any news of why Powell went from starting to not being in the squad?  Must be close to the end of his loan spell and can't imagine either Peterborough or the player will feel it has been particularly beneficial which given our lack of a proper left back in the current squad makes it even more of a mystery.

General Discussion / Re: Buxton win at Chester
« on: January 17, 2024, 02:18:25 PM »
The discarding of skilful players is becoming a trend with AL. This is worrying because without playmakers we will be
relegated. Nice to praise the 100% runners but look how many points we’ve dropped with a team full of runners and
no playmakers. Could it be that the differences between AL and JB will ultimately get us relegated? Surely not? :banghead;
Stop acting like kids and sort it out like grown men. Time to put the team first!

Whilst I wouldn't disagree with your questioning of AL's treatment of 'skilful' players at times, I am not sure bringing JB into the debate is fair as you could equally argue that MH and AL (when he first arrived) were both guilty of giving JB too much game time in the hope that our most talented player would produce some moment of magic to inspire a struggling team, a gamble that didn't often pay off.

Personally I liked the midfield trio of Rogers, Hargreaves and Hughes selected for Buxton and would like to see AL stick with that for a few games to see if that can inspire us to play a bit more football and if we can manage to keep 11 on the pitch maybe pick up a few more points.

General Discussion / Re: Holding a lead
« on: January 14, 2024, 04:40:36 PM »
Getting rid of Barrett will not be “cutting your losses”….  It will be cutting your standard!  Something I believe would be acceptable to many, if it meant replacing ability with effort!!  A move that will assist our downward slide, imho!

Dilly, I am not sure you would find many regulars at the Walks who would consider Barrett's contribution this season as being of NLN standard so how on earth could letting him go be assisting our downward slide?    It isn't a case of replacing ability with effort imo, heaven only knows AL has tried to accommodate him but the truth is we are in the relegation places having carried Josh this season and looks like AL is now thankfully putting the team above an individual.

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