By Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips
This writing lark isn`t always easy. Sometimes you have nothing, others a nice subject and today, too much. It`s hard to know where to start, where to direct the attention and to try and come up with something that sort of works. It`s been an interesting, hectic and disappointing week. A lot of mixed feelings and things to consider when talking about Rovers.
I suppose the best place to start is the Villa game, which I found ultimately disappointing. To me we looked what we were/are. A team with little confidence trying to ultimately keep the score down. Up to the last ten minutes everything was pretty flat about the Rovers performance before we got gifted a goal and got a bit of a lift, before getting a penalty which might have made the last minute or two pretty interesting if McGleish had converted. We sort of seemed to stay in our own half a lot and left Joe Anyinsah up top on his own completely isolated. There was no bite. A couple of decent challenges may have given everyone a gee up and looked like we wanted it, but we just seemed to stand off and Billa never really had to get out of 2nd gear.
The rather flat performance against Villa didn`t fill me with great confidence heading into what was simple a must win game versus Hereford on Tuesday. Thankfully we got three vital points to help our survival bid which will require a lot of hard work. It looked as though we got off to a decent start and had a bit of luck allowing Lee Brown to give us the lead. When Hereford equalised though, it was hard not to think “Here we go again” and then when they went down to ten men, I thought we were doomed given our recent record against reduced numbers. I`ll be honest and say if we had lost I was convinced we were for the drop. Now I am just wavering. However Scott McGleish game off the bench to score and give us the much needed win.
I suppose this leads me nicely into the potential new manager and that the latest story is that Scott himself has thrown his hat into the ring. As always the rumour mill has been on over drive regarding the vacancy and the bookies odds have changed frequently. In short, no one seems to know. O`Driscoll offered it, turned it down Paul Ince offered it, fell through. Dowie, Curle, Money etc, etc. One thing seems to be certain though is that The Chairman seems to be on holiday, unless this is all a ruse. Certainly no one in officialdom has denied that Nick Higgs has been away. Bristol Rovers is a loss making business and one that has shelled out on failed appointments over the past 12-18 months. This is a vital appointment for the club as another wrong one will cost the club even more it can ill afford to lose. For that reason I am rather astounded that the Chairman has been away at what is a critical time for the club, surely you would want to be at the helm, hand son doing everything physically possible to get the next one right. Meanwhile a nameless moderator on the BRFC Forum posted
“It make no difference if the Chairman is in Italy or Bristol, it is not causing a delay with club business.”
I am sure the day to day running is not affected if the Chair is away, but then we are talking about the recruitment of one of the most important positions within the company. I would say that was probably not great comments to make in the current circumstances, everyone is rather anxious given our current situation and poor comments like that in my view do not help ease any tension. It now appears Nick Higgs will be interviewed on Radio Bristol about the managerial position. This could be an interesting interview if the right questions are asked and Nick Higgs is not given nice half volleys to hit back. The interview would also suggest that there will be no appointment until next week at the earliest, which fits in with certain rumours now doing the rounds.
Without wanting to end on a particular sour note, we have a massive game against Crawley. A game which will be tough and one we probably don`t expect to get anything out of. However the 12th man cliché is there and we must get behind Shaun North and the team and do what we can to spur the team on to a positive result no matter how unlikely it might look on paper. After Tuesday`s victory it would be great to get at least a point from the game, and hopefully build some momentum and perhaps some breathing space for the new manager.
Whatever you are up to this weekend, have a good one and hopefully we will all be feeling a bit better after three points on Saturday
Up The Gas
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips