Lee Clark: Hawk’s View from Essex

TheHawk is one of the regular posters on the Joysandsorrows Forum.
He had this to say, on Lee Clark, following the Charlton defeat.  In light of ongoing discussion amongst fans about who is to blame for us sitting in the relegation zone, I found it to be a balanced and well considered view about our manager…
Living in Essex and having a boss who is a season ticket holder at Ipswich, he took me along to watch Ipswich v Barnsley on Friday night – a dire game of football, where McCarthy played 4 defensive midfielders and got a lucky break and went in 1-0 at half-time – totally undeserved as both sides were really poor and lacked any ambition to play attacking football.
This got me thinking about Lee Clark. Even when he played two defensive midfielders, Adeyemi and Reilly both got forward more than either Ipswich midfielder, and he still plays an attacking wide player in Burke, and sometimes two attacking wide players. There always seems to be at least three attacking players in the starting line up, and sometimes four or five. And when it works, it is bloody good to watch – Millwall, Swansea, Sheff Wed and Stoke all being cracking performances recently. Goals galore, attacking, pacy, passing play. Joyful!
Unfortunately, it is inconsistent and when it doesn’t work, it also really doesn’t work (Leeds first half being a classic example). This is the conundrum with Clark for me: what makes us so inconsistent? Too often we start matches slowly. Why? What makes other teams fast out of the blocks and us sluggish? The pre-match teamtalk? The warm-up?
And then there is the strange inconsistency of team selection. Shane Ferguson played great against Swansea (so much so Joe Kinnear wanted to sign him for Newcastle, apparently!) yet is immediately dropped to the bench. Other players seem to fall into this category- Mitch Hancox and Scott Allan both seemed to have a good game and then get dropped. He talks up players (e.g. Koby Arthur, Darren Ambrose) and then they don’t get a sniff in the first team for the next game. Matt Green goes from nowhere to starting, and back to nowhere.
Going back to Ipswich and Mick McCarthy, they had played the same XI for six successive matches, in which time they had put a decent run together. By the match I watched, this had clearly gone stale, but there is a balance between freshness and consistency that evades us. Selection is so random they sometimes seem like a bunch of strangers playing together.
Lee Clark came with a reputation of a dour manager whose teams were hard to beat. For me, he seems to want to play exciting football but lacks any consistency and has an amazing ability to put out random, disorganised teams. Yes, he is still young in managerial terms but he has a massively experienced backroom staff – McDermott and Fazackerly were in the England set up. It is no excuse.
So, hugely disappointed at the minute. At times I see what he is doing, and it excites me, but I really wonder what goes on at training ground level, because it certainly makes no sense to me.But at least he is not Mick McCarthy.

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2 Comments on Lee Clark: Hawk’s View from Essex

  1. You touched on the mainthing for me and that is a settled team, we just never have one, sometimes due to injury and illness but most of the time due to tactics, they we’re great in training or some other LC reason that only he knows.
    Changing personnel so often is achievable with quality players at the top clubs, but not for players at a mid table championship club.
    They need to play together and build an understanding, especially in segments of the team e.g. The centre halls, the centre midfield and the strikers.
    In some games we’ve had four strikers on during a game, how can you build an understanding when every game the strikers change.
    The midfield then struggle to link with and supply the ball to the strikers strengths not his weaknesses.
    No actual facts for this comment but my impression is that most teams in the championship who go on a run do so with a settled side just like we did after Xmas.
    At the end of the day all this chopping and changing is not working so he has nothing to lose my sticking as much as he can to a settled side, IF he knows his best eleven that is, which I don’t think he does.
    All the different formations and worrying about the opposition haven’t worked, the results and league table show that, so just pick a settled best eleven and stick with it, till Xmas anyway.

  2. The poll is flawed imo.
    To say “The only man Birmingham City can afford / attract to the club “, i don’t believe is correct.
    Most managers from League One and Two plus the Conference would come here as most of them will have mega tight budgets already.
    Last time we were in this situation we attracted, Garry Pendrey, Dave Mackay, Lou Macari &
    Terry Cooper and it would be no different now.
    The manager won’t be sacked unless we have an injection of cash, we don’t have a million or two to sack him and his staff.
    I’m not advocating he should be sacked either, but one way could be to sack his backroom staff and hope he walks, but i don’t believe the club can afford that either as all reports say we’re on the brink unless we sell (but who, Randolph, Burke & Murphy? 300k each) in January.

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