Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Now this is a crisis

Every manager under pressure will point to the injury problems they have, but we are in the midst of an injury crisis of biblical proportions. It's like no other I can remember, I once saw us play at Lincoln in '82 and my memory is of a team so decimated that I had a chance of playing right back. Or so I thought; it turns out that there was only one change from the previous home game against Exeter and it was just that I was a long way from home and simply didn't recognise the name of sub Andy Kingston.

So what we consider a crisis, often turns out to be nothing of the sort. However, this is a proper crisis, with only have 9 fit professionals, including two keepers and three players with a combined experience of precisely zero games.

Typically I would deplore a team that would buy their way out of this kind of problem, but it seems unfair that we've been stymied from solving the problem based on our relative and accumulated financial strength. This is not a club funded by a Russian oligarch, it's a club with a fanbase prepared to invest in a flickering hope that one day the good times will roll. Rather than being allowed to use the benefit this offers, we're left floundering. The wage-cap is designed to prevent teams from over-speculating, but surely the 10 point deduction for going into administration is enough of a threat.

January is going to be difficult, and the league is the least of our concerns. This is our last opportunity to bring players in. It seems we have the leeway to bring in one player and would need to get some out before anymore came in. The two most obvious candidates for shipping out are Dempster and Tardif, with possibly one of Johnson and Brevett (difficult to tell on current form). Can they be shipped out when injured? Should we be shipping out some of the few who are currently available to play?

Then there's the Lewes game next week. A loss would be a demoralising humiliation, but would free up a weekend to allow players to recover. With nobody else taking the opportunities we're presenting them with in the league, we may need to simply ride out the month and take the hits when they come at us. Though in truth, with the problems we've got, we probably don't have a choice in the matter.

3 comments:

Antony said...

This is a really superb Blog! Surprised I haven't come across it before really but I'm glad I did. Ver well written with a dry sense of humour that puts John Murray's petty sniping to shame.
True we are in a crisis and unlike the optimism of some I can't really see an easy way out. Simply having impressive attendances clearly isn't enough to win this league and hopefully people will ignore that "We're such a big club" stuff and just start getting behind the team again.
Incidently, do you take any of those pictures yourself? Some are excellent.

Martin said...

A good, if depressing, analysis of the situation. I must admit to being ambivalent about the Lewes game. I never want Oxford to lose, but I can see that winning this might not necessarily be in our best interests. So maybe it would be a good opportunity to try out some of the younger players. A lot of people have made comments about Jim Smith not liking to play youngsters. As someone who watches the reserves regularly, I suspect that the problem is more that the kids just aren't good enough for first team football. However, the Lewes game may be just the opportunity they need to impress in a proper environment.

Maybe.

Oxblogger said...

Antony - Sadly I don't take the pictures; it's all the result of some judicious picture researching. Thanks for the comments; it's OK, nobody else seems to know the site exists so you're not the only one!

Martin - You're the first person I've heard say that the younger players may not be good enough. Thank God, most people would have you believe that it's the solution to all ills. I feel another post coming on.

Sometimes there are situations in which there simply is no solution - I suspect we're in one of those at the moment. I don't think it will last that long, but that's cold comfort I suppose.