In my article entitled ‘The Only Way is Up’ I spoke of the need to look from a half full cup as opposed to an half empty one when considering our current plight. As a consequence I will start with what positives I saw from today before considering the less positive ones, and then finish on what I hope people will see as another positive!
Positivenumber oneis undoubtedly BEN STEPHENS who is a complete breath of fresh of air to a team which is currently trapped within a very dense cloud of unhealthy smog in footballing terms. The kid is energetic and skilful; he has pace and movement, and also has a good powerful shot in him which was reflected in the thunderous shot that cannoned off the bar before they subsequently broke away and scored a thoroughly undeserved winner! This kid is a very hot prospect and the only shaft of light in what is currently a very long and dark tunnel at this current time! I don’t think you will find it too hard to understand when I say that Ben was yours truly’s Man of the Match by 5 (FIVE) country miles yesterday afternoon!
Positive number two was the incredible away support from the terraces for much of the game. The passionate volume / outpouring of support was overwhelmingly supportive and continuous, as we completely out sung the healthy home support who only came to life after they had scored! Whilst acknowledging that supporters will be frustrated by the chasm in quality of play and good results between last season and this season, what cannot be condoned is the ridiculously unjustified and completely unnecessary foul mouthed rant by one individual against Harry Smith at the end of the game. FFS the lad worked hard and had a pretty decent game!!
The first of not so positive comments purports to my concerns is related not to the game itself, but the comments on the SLE Facebook page of two incredibly nice guys who are Dave and Clive Westbury, who have supported their beloved Silkmen through thick and VERY thin for somewhere in the region of fifty years. I have nothing but the highest of admiration and respect for them, so was heartbroken to read their comments of having lost their‘mojo’for Macc Town with neither of them feeling the compulsion to support their beloved Silkmen today despite both having the opportunity to do so. This speaks volumes for yours truly particularly when Dave cites his view that the club is currently ‘rotten to the core’ and when highly intelligent, articulate and passionate fans of many years standing such as Dave make these comments, I would earnestly suggest that the club’s hierarchy takes a long hard look at the external perspectives from which the club is currently viewed both on and off the field of play!
That was a really dire game between two very poor sides (albeit in cold and windy conditions) where neither side deserved to win despite it being there for the taking for either of them. As happens when you’re at the bottom, fate often deals you a lousy hand and so it proved for the Silkmen today. The outstanding Stephens saw his shot from outside the box cannon off the bar, and within sixty seconds Cambridge broke away and scored the winning goal that their performance had barely merited. The sad thing was that for the next thirteen or so minutes (including added on time) we barely threatened as you could see the confidence and spirit literally haemorrhaging from the Silkmen players.
Several of my fellow Silkmen supporters that attended today have questioned the commitment to the cause of the players, and whilst I can fully understand their viewpoint, my personal stance is that the current team is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I am sure he is a very nice lad but Callum Maycock is a passenger in most games, and currently nowhere near Football League standard, and the same can be said for Fiacre Kelleher, Jamie Grimes and Miles Welch-Hayes. They may well be ready for this level in several years time but at this time they are National League standard at best, and provide a clear indication that the recruitment policy during the summer was both shocking and unforgivable when considering the amazing achievements of last year. I am also awaiting any evidence that Peter Vincenti is the goal scoring attacking midfielder that was so revered by the Rochdale faithful during his time with them!
I have to admit that whilst delighted at the inclusion of Ben (Stephens) today, I was surprised to see Danny & Neil opt for Harry Smith and Nathan Blissett up front; an approach I have witnessed on a number of earlier occasions earlier this season, and never actually thought worked well at all! Today was no different, but on this occasion, it was Harry Smith who I thought had a pretty decent game, whilst Bliss, who has looked out of form for a few weeks now had another poor game, with his first touch letting him down on many occasions today.
Danny Whitaker is one of my all time Silkmen heroes, and I would love to see him succeed as manager of our beloved club at which he he has proven himself to be such a consummate professional for. I have no doubt whatsoever that Danny has all the attributes that will make him a great young manager in the future, but with the current playing squad as it is; I am not sure if even the very best mix of Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola could make much of a difference. It is for this reason that I urge you Danny to display a sense of caution before considering accepting the Silkmen manager’s post should it be offered. If you are Danny, then you will be supported 100% by the Silkmen faithful who simply adore you. Should there be another heartbreaking situation of another hugely avoidable relegation occurring, rest assured Danny, it will NOT be at your door where the blame will be apportioned; but within the annals of power at the Moss Rose!
To finish on a half full measure, positive number 3 is that there are still 90 points to play for which is effectively two thirds (66%) of the season and we have our best midfielders to return from injury as well as the January transfer window! Whilst we have had a number of episodes of bad luck thus far, I am a firm believer in the adage that you make your own luck, and quite frankly we have not been good enough to get lucky this season. Starting with next Saturday we need to see a team that works it’s proverbial b*&locks off to start making we get the luck we need, and we as fans need to keep the faith and continually urge the players to get lucky and help to secure our precious Football League status not only this season but for generations to come!