Saturday, June 03, 2006

I've Been A Bit Lax Lately

No excuses. There is no doubt about it.

I was waiting for the season to finish and was then going to write a review of the year but events seem to have moved on and I've been waiting for signs of resolution so that it can all be put into some kind of context.

That just doesn't seem to be possible. The Club has been in a state of flux for some time now and there is no end in sight.

That's not to say nothing has happened. There has been a settlement with Williamson. Why did it take so long? BW has had his say in a Scottish paper but has added nothing to what we knew already. I just can't find it in my soul to damn him as so many have. He did alright in my book but for all manner of reasons things just didn't work out as we would all have liked. So long Bobby, and thanks.

That said he had to go. He had lost all respect and confidence where it matters most, arguably - on the terraces. The performance at home v. Hull where we looked utterly clueless against their 10 men was poor. The defeat, at eventually relegated Brighton, was worse by all accounts. Difficult for me to say as I listened to the Radio Devon commentary in the car park of the Quince Honey Farm in South Molton on a blisteringly hot day. Sparksy and Errington were not impressed and neither were the fans who had travelled. Reports were dire.

(By the way "Sir" Gordon Sparks is suffering from testicular cancer. I wish him well as I'm sure does anybody who visits this blog.)

So Pulis arrived. He was appointed, officially ('nuff said) after the Barnet game (another debacle - a midfield of Buszaky, Gudjohnsen and Lasley against 4 lower league hoofers just wasn't going to cut the mustard and Barnet ended up looking like Brazil) on 20th September but before we went to Southampton on the 24th.

This was the one we had all been waiting forwithout once expecting that the wheels would be off in quite such spectacular fashion when it arrived. An improved performance. Better spirit all round. Some degree of organisation (at last!!). A point gained. Nay... Won!!

The die was cast. So our season continued. "Hard to beat" was the phrase. "Boring" was the word.

On Oct 10th I posted this on P@soti:

Is it time to start the Pulis backlash yet?

I, too, think his statements in interview have been encouraging but not to the exclusion of some damaging and ambiguous stuff. I'm not too happy about the negativity coming out at times. The "Chaddy's unfit" comment for one. Why play him then? Did he mean too fat or not recovered from the injury?

The "this team will be relegated" comment. Covering his arse for when/if he fails to keep us up?

'Only 6, 8 or 10' (whatever the number was) 'that are "good enough"'. Not exactly inspiring. "We might need to sign some non-leaguers". Just how bad does he think some of our players are? "Not better than what we've already got" is the phrase we have come to know and love. The alleged illegal approaches.

Results have picked up a little but that improvement started under Jocky Scott. We are not conceding many but neither are we scoring many.

I don't mean to start a Pulis backlash and I can see the sense of some of his decisions and team selections but we are still to put in a consistent 90 minutes since his arrival.

I know he hasn't had chance to change the squad yet. I'm not even one to go off on a rant of criticism about the team or the management but I do have nagging doubts and they just won't go away.

I'm looking forward to hearing what he's got to say in the "Pulis Night" next week.

Tin hat on.

OK some of the context is lost but the gist is there. I wasn't completely happy with Pulis where many were euphoric but then again I've always been a contrary sort.

The "Pulis Night" at The Moathouse took place on a wild and wet and windy evening. A storm of biblical proportions blew but a full house crowded into the Moathouse to see a carefully stage-managed evening where little emerged other than he wanted his teams to "work 'aarrrrd" and he expected everyone in the club to do the same. Fair enough. One of the questions elicited a response that suggested that he didn't really know what the financial constraints under which he was operating were. though. Were the first seeds of his doubt already germinating?

The season wound on. Inexorably we began to pull away from the bottom. It wasn't pretty but it was effective. We had a particularly memorable home win v. Dowie's Palace. We got mashed again by Leeds. A series of moderate games (plain boring say some) and eventual mid-table mediocrity was ours.

Then came the end of season. Leon Clarke on loan from Wolves came and went and made no favouable impression at all. Pulis signed his son Antony Pulis on loan and proceded to put him on, inexplicably, for the last few minutes of several games. Why? Looking after Juniour's appearance bonus? Cynical in the extreme but hard to read any other way. Pulis Jnr didn't exactly set the world alight although he didn't look totally awful. He just didn't... Well he just didn't do anything, much. Nalis signed on for another year. Doumbé signed for two. The biggest "story" was the bust-up with Trigger... Offered a miniscule contract to continue he fell out with Pulis. He didn't travel to Leicester for the last away game and announced his departure before the final game of the season. Some say Pulis didn't want to play him but play he did. Scored one and set up the other in a 2-1 win v. Ipswich.

Around this time Pulis emerged as not being a happy bunny. Rumours abounded that he was unhappy, that he was being denied funds promised for the team, that he was forced to pick Trigger in the final game and more besides. Messageboards representing Argyle were rife with speculation as were those representing Stoke City...

Up in Stoke things were afoot. Ex-chairman Coates was in the process of buying out the Icelandic consortium that bought him out. Boskamp their manager was gone. Pulis their alledged target.

And so it came to pass. Stoke say "can we talk?". Argyle say "no". Everybody goes to Portugal on holiday.

That's where we are now.

Pulis is history, I'd guess. The next time we see him he'll be wearing an SCFC baseball cap. Holloway is widely tipped as the next boss. We'll see.

Last season may have been dull as dishwater on the pitch but off it...

At least it is another season of consolidation which was the goal. The worst of BW's signings (Bjarni, Lasley, Taribo, Mendes) have gone. The squad is thin but what we have, I think, is not short of quality. Pulis is supposed to have wanted 6 more players. I don't know if that is right but it looks about right to me. Who? I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Onward!! Fellow Pilgrims!! After all we wouldn't be Pilgrims if it wasn't a journey. Would we?


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