With the news that Johnny Heitinga has rejected a move to West Ham in the January transfer window, it seems that the club’s grip on Premier League survival is loosening day by day. Heitinga said “You have to be convinced that you are taking the right step and I was not.” Whether he is referring to the owners, the manager or the club’s precarious league position is not clear, but it further emphasises the problems the club has in attracting new talent and nurturing the talent it currently has.
With Sam Allardyce’s preference for experience over youth and his reliance on statistics over flair, it is no surprise to see the inestimable talent of Ravel Morrison floundering amongst the predictable and turgid tactics that the manager employs. A complete absence of any youth players emerging from the academy and playing regularly in the first team over the last few years is another indictment of the current regime. The likes of Elliot Lee and Dan Potts should surely have been given more of a chance, especially considering the number of injuries the club have racked up over the season.
The alarming behaviour of captain Kevin Nolan is another indication that things are not right in the heart of the club. Having now been sent off twice in a month for completely random acts of violence, it is an obvious sign that things need to change, and despite the public backing of the board it seems that the manager’s job is now up for review. The owners will obviously have memories of the Avram Grant tenure in mind, when they procrastinated over have sacking him until it was too late, and so if a decision is to be made it is likely to be made soon.
The fans themselves have been patient so far. When the manager was getting results it was ok for the team to be playing precentage football. But when you are paying good money to watch boring football and you are losing most of your games as well, then the natives become restless and start revolting.
Personally I expect the owners to wait until Carroll returns. If then after a few games things have not improved, then I expect Sam to get the heave-ho. We shall see. In the meantime with Nolan out again and Noble now injured, I cannot see any prospect of a change in fortune, so keep on taking the tablets people!