JUST IN: The Green Light with FGR fan John Light
“WE WILL have to work harder to put things right” – this was the gist of manager Dave Hockaday’s post match press conference following the home defeat to Macclesfield.
Although an understandable reaction there may be a better approach. This column is always written on Sundays and there are now 20 days with only one league game, the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup being a welcome distraction from league woe.
Is this time going to be better spent standing back, asking questions, analysing what is going wrong and making necessary changes? More of the same will not do.
It is obvious things are going wrong on the field and have been for some time. Last season’s slump has not been arrested and Rovers look no more than a low table side, flirting with relegation. Everyone knows that with the size of the squad and the quality of the players this should not be the case.
Everyone also knows that it is Dale Vince who quite rightly makes the decisions and his loyalty to the manager seems unquestionable. Therefore Dave what should you do? The ball is in your court. Action please.
Here are some suggestions. I have watched football all my life, wrote my first report (Brimscombe v Cirencester Town) 56 years ago – minimal qualification perhaps – but the main thing is I do care – so what follows may not be totally without value.
Firstly decide on your best players for match day duty. From those at your disposal a strong 16 need to be identified. By playing together consistently an understanding can be developed between them. Secondly think about the formation the team plays. We all know you favour 4-3-3 which is fluid, attractive and when it works well exciting to watch, but is it working? At the moment the answer must be no. 4-4-2 is a less exciting option, offering less width but we need something now that is safe. We would all welcome some wins – albeit 1-0, however boring. Thirdly look at the defence – we are shipping goals at an alarming rate. Too often these come from left sided crosses with Sam Russell receiving minimal cover. The Macclesfield match was a fine example, all the opposition goals coming that way.
Finally endeavour to instil a different attitude on the field. All of us remember Darren Jones, a far from great footballer, but what a fighter. Is he not still playing in Division One – two leagues higher than our current players?
It is strength of character and determination that has taken him there and kept him at a higher level than many of our more talented players may never achieve. He was never gentle, never gave a sucker an even break, a fine on the pitch leader. Instil some of the Jones’ mentality please.
In short Dave – hard work may not be the best way forward. Instead look, analyse, do not be afraid to change, and if humble pie needs to be eaten get out the knife and fork. The current way is not succeeding. Remember the phrase “Another Way”.
Now while advice is on the menu, some for Chairman Dale. I am more qualified to do this having been Chairman of a professional sports club (turnover £4 million plus, wage bill £1 million plus). Get the best football advice you can. On the board at GCCC I was supported at various times by Tony Brown, Mike Smith and Jack Russell. They had all “been there and done that”. Their advice was invaluable. I realise I write in some innocence and you may already tap in to useful sources – if not it is a situation that needs changing – trust me. I have been there.
So much is right for the club. I brought two guests to the Macclesfield game who were so impressed with all aspects of the club, and rightly so. On match days everything seems so special. I know of nowhere else better, that is what makes the on the pitch form so hard to bear. The football does matter.
And hard to bear it is with so many poorly resourced teams defeating us. That is why my final word is one of congratulation to you – the fans. You were magnificent on Saturday, urging the team on throughout the game. From where I sat your support was uplifting, showing a proper responsibility and maturity. It is such an attitude, from so many, that makes FGR special.
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