The Richard Micallef Column

Wednesday 27 August, 2003

Money back guarantee

Sometimes football should come with a money back guarantee. This season vie spent 30 on 2 games. in all honesty, I'd say I've had 15 minutes of entertainment. I'm a student. I'm not supposed to be able to afford tickets. Nevertheless, the issue of ticket prices is another matter. I would say that for the person who buys individual tickets, like myself these days, value for money so far is pretty poor. We've moaned for 175 out of the 180 minutes of home league games (265 out of 270 if you count Darlington).

However, 15 for continuous long ball play and tactics that inspire no creativity whatsoever is a rip off. Sometimes we lose to a superior team, other times you acknowledge grudgingly they scored a fine goal. Then you lose in the way we did to Gillingham. The worst way. When you know you're rubbish, but they are worse. When you're sat there, knowing you aren't going to get a sniff of goal and you're losing, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Gillingham came for another 0-0, and ideally to bore the hell out of everyone. I can remember 3 shots on target by both teams in the whole game. We were man marked out of the game most of the time. Even my mum, at her first match since we beat the Gills 5-1 in 2001, said the same.

Our effort at creativity were basically launch the ball downfield. Why o why will no one get the ball and run with it and take players on? We may not beat them every time but it is encouraging and can scare the bejesus out of defenders. Whenever we had a player who had a chance to run, you almost felt like tilting your head upwards in advance of what was going to come next.

We're supposed to have pace in the team in Ben Muirhead and Michael Branch to name but two, why don't we use it for something other than chasing bums? I believe we have 7 players who can go in attack according to a T&A article I read a while back. Why don't we shift things about up front a bit? encourage strikers to create their own chances. We're not up against Premier defenders.

We're not fighting relegation or on a losing streak at the moment. But I am concerned about the nature of play at home. in all 3 home games against different styles of opponents, we've played very similarly. We are too one dimensional; we don't have the ability to switch tactics despite for once having the luxury of a (nearly injury free) squad. We got lucky against Norwich. We were useless against Darlington. We showed character against Norwich but that alone does not win matches. Where was the character today at 0-1?

We were bad, but Gillingham came to be bad.It could be worse. We could be watching Gillingham every week...

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