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Groves Should Go!
I questioned Paul Groves' managerial skills last season and we were relegated, in the end finishing 11 points off safety. We conceded over 80 goals last season and were punished by relegation.
Santos and Chettle left us in the summer, and for me in a season of shocking defending, these two were the pick.
Now I'm not blaming this season's continued defensive ineptitude on those two leaving, as Santos was never a team player and Chettle was more often than not injured but we have not replaced them with experience. Tony Crane has been brought in and to be fair to him he doesn't look a bad player. Big and strong he could, perhaps, become a Mark Lever type figure (although it's too early to tell yet).
However, playing Crane alongside Simon Ford will not bring him on as a player. Ford is not good enough now, and for me, never will be. We are in desperate need of an experienced head alongside Crane to steady the ship. Who do we have in reserve - Greg Young and Kirk Wheeler.
Now these lads may be players for the future, but they are not players for the present. Basically, we have no option but to play Ford and Crane together unless we go with the younger lads. At full back we look strong with McDermott (injury-free), Barnard and Crowe. Groves has not realised that to be successful as a team (barring Real Madrid) you need to be solid at the back. It is the foundation that the teams pushing for promotion will be have.
The midfield looks strong - when they manage to stay on the pitch. Hamilton, Cas, Anderson, Campbell all look to be good second division footballers (when not suspended or injured). Hockless looks like one for the future (or with the current lack of players available, for the present). Pouton is a long term injury victim and we're still waiting on Coldicott.
Groves stated that he wants to play as little as possible this season so I will not slate his playing abilities as we all know that if another four players were available in midfield he would not start. Bolder does not seem to be a player with much to give.
Overall, the midfield looks to have a good selection of players. The problem seems to be how they protect the defence. Coldicott is the obvious one to give protection to the backline, but Disco Des looks to be the one being primed to take over the role this season. Time will tell if he is able to do this.
Up front the problem is obvious. Boulding has become the goalscoring striker we've craved since Mendonca left but has no one to play alongside him. Rowan looks OK but probably not quite good enough, Mansaram shows glimpses of promise (too rarely though), Soames and Nimmo look to be reasonable prospects, and we all know (or do we) the position of Phil Jevons. Jevons is a bit of an enigma, some fans realise that he does have ability and some won't give him a chance. However, I'm sure that we as a club would be better off if Jevons was in a position to play, at the very least just as another option.
So here we are, 7 games in and not a great deal to be excited about. Losing 8-1 away to Hartlepool is a disgrace. I take nothing away from Hartlepool who have started the season well but no team should lose to another team in the same division by seven goals. Action needs to be taken sooner rather than later. Groves should step aside and finish his career at Town as a player or the board should sack him
What is blatantly clear is that Groves is not the man to take GTFC forward. For all the decent players that have been brought in, the team are still lacking a tactician - a motivator - someone to put all the jigsaw pieces together. As is becoming increasingly obvious Groves is not cut out (at least at this stage in his career) to manage a professional football team. If things carry on as they are, another "Hartlepool" might not be that far off.
To see Billo's rant on the Hartlepool fiasco click here!
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