Tuesday, October 20, 2009

20 October 2009: Comparison

Gareth asks whether the Saints position is cheering me up any, given my latest moan about Argyle. Yes, it is.

If you remove the ten-point penalty saints had to overcome, then they'd be just outside the playoff places. The word is that Saints are starting to play with confidence, not to mention goals, and I'm no longer worried about their position at all: they look stable, with good players, and given the statement by the Chief Executive, it seems investment will continue to come as they build their way up the league.

Saints will be back in Prem in three to four years. I can't see it any other way.

Argyle, conversely, are in the league above Saints right now, and worked very very hard to get there. But, as has always happened before, they're looking like they're going to blow the position and go back down rather than use it as a base camp to launch an assault on the Premiership. It's frustrating because (1) I've seen it before (1986-1992 - and it's happened a lot in the past, 1975-77, mid-60's, late 50's, early 50's) but also (2) this board and set of owners seem to actually have some ambition. Sir Roy Gardner, along with the Japanese blokes, if they organise themselves and stop bickering, really could lead Argyle to great things.

That begins with having a stable management setup this season to really use the players Argyle presently have (and it's not a bad team, even without Seip, who's the best defender on the books but who won't come back while Sturrock is at the club). And from there, you stay up this season, then build in the summer and put together a team that's difficult to beat, and then a team with a goalscoring edge, and from there you make a run for the playoffs.

Going down seems a relatively small thing, but it generally results in any decent players leaving, the team fragmenting and the Premiership dream being pushed back about five years. Because then you have to build a team to get out of League One, and for that you need a good management team, etc etc.

And as wonderful as Sturrock's first spell was at Argyle, he really seems to have lost the dressing room, the fans and most importantly a LOT of football matches. If, as seems likely, Argyle go back to the bottom of the division this week, it's hard to see how things can be turned around without removing Sturrock and his team.

And maybe Paul Mariner - a well-respected coach in the US - will help. Maybe he'll be allowed to bring in his own people. Or - and here's my fear - maybe he's a replacement for Kevin Summerfield and he'll stay a while before falling out with Sturrock and leaving.

Something more major has to change than the assistant. If not, it's back to division three and the cycle begins again.


Becky said...

By Gareth, you don't mean Bithell, do you?

DuncMcRae said...

Yup, he left a comment at the end of the previous entry. Also, I don't know anyone else called Gareth, apart from a Welsh bloke who ate wasps in New Zealand.

Becky said...

Goodness me, don't think I've ever known him comment on here, although he has said he reads this blog.