Sunday, January 17, 2016

Leavers pies and that losing feeling, a flat Saturday at Rovers

We have our rituals at the football. Sometimes they are thrown off course by delays on the way, our favourite parking spot is full, people we speak to at the front before the game aren't there, or Leavers of Bolton Road run out of pies.

It was the pies that disrupted my match day flow on Saturday. Possibly because Brighton have the kind of following that seeks out tips from fanzines and websites about local culture and flavours of the match day experience. Or maybe it was just cold. 

We have a new match day ritual now though. Groaning and booing at the final whistle. Not an angry, splenetic anti-Steve Kean boo, not a we-was-robbed boo, just a moribund and depressed woeful cry kind of boo. There was nothing to cheer on Saturday, it was awful. And cold.

There is no optimism, no feeling being transmitted back from the players that there is a plan that will come together. Nothing. None of the new faces shone. The fear to turn an opponent in midfield is palpable. The backwards option always preferred to taking a risk. It's not a lack of effort either, just a lack of belief and a team seemingly bereft of any quality to win a game in the Championship. And bizarrely the player I suspected would get man of the match did. The much mocked Chris Brown. Not because he was any good, he fell on his backside a lot. He challenged for balls, but he's not a footballer at this level, God bless him. 

Rhodes on the other hand has been found out. He holds no fear for opposition defenders. The others fit into four categories - they are good enough in a poor performing team (Hanley and Steele), they aren't as good as they seem to think they are (Akpan, Marshall), are of League One quality (Spurr, Kilgallon, Brown) or they've just fallen apart (Conway and Rhodes). It's too early to judge the new signings and debutants.

On the radio after the game I thought Lambert seemed confused rather than angry or deluded. His next couple of weeks are going to be crucial, but we need to restore that winning ritual pretty quickly. 

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