So that one was for ‘Patto’? I’m sure that will be some comfort when his winter fuel bill comes through and he’s buying presents for his kids this Christmas.
Is Jim Smith a genius? Well, statistically, as woeful as our away form has been, we were due a win and a performance and an off colour opponent. But Smith has realised something that perhaps Darren Patterson didn’t; the first step to winning games is to stop losing them.
The re-introduction of 5-3-2 is the solid base we needed to stop leaking goals. The fact the chances were taken at the other end is the bonus we needed for the points.
Patterson’s key lesson in all this is that sticking to your principles is a fools errand when a bad sequence of just 5-6 games can put your neck on the line. It does, however, raise the question as to why Jim Smith didn’t intervene earlier, although it is perhaps admirable that he didn’t – giving Patterson space to do his job. Which then begs the question, why didn’t Patterson ask Smith’s for advise?
Footballers are fatalists, they have to be. Their careers can be over in a minute, their contracts cancelled at a moments notice, they are booed and jeered more than they are praised. Many footballers will talk about the few friends they make from the game, because you can trust anybody. The survival instinct means you need conviction in your own abilities. Which also means you will ultimately have to learn from your mistakes and you’ll never learn from others’ advice.
Being a manager is different to being a player and you need to learn the job. Which, in a week where Roy Keane has gone AWOL from Sunderland and Paul Ince’s position at Blackburn looks precarious, teaches us a lesson. Never employ a manager whose playing career you clearly remember.