One Fan Gives His Verdict

Last updated : 23 January 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

'Surely we can't wait much longer now? Any man or woman will do the best by their family and I think it's fair to say that what Souness actually MEANS is "I will bleed this company for every last cent - why the hell shouldn't I?"

Time for Mr. Shepherd to stand up and be counted - he should be held to task on this whole debacle. He had no right to dig £3m out of Newcastle for the performance last year - the very least he can surely do is put it all back into the Souness Retirement Fund.....

Seriously - can it get any worse? It seems like all we, the fans, have done with our lives for the past 16 months (to the day) is find hope, then have it dashed, with the ultimate example simply that we appointed Souness, didn’t think it would work, gave him the benefit only to sit in 14th in the Premiership, absolutely broke and with 15 fit players at our disposal.

We lurch from one disaster to the next under Souness. The revelation by the man himself on Radio Five Live that there in fact is no money available to strengthen has quashed any hope we may have had on pushing through to the end of the season with the outside possibility of a scrap of ‘success’. We’ve been told that the cash itself is only likely to be generated by players sales. Hmm. Couple of problems here:

a)       We haven’t got a squad as it is. Selling to replace is exactly what Souness has done so badly in the first place, with no less that 12 regular Robson first-teamers leaving to be replaced by just 5 capable footballers under Souness. Unlike the popular soft drink, we’re Seven-Down, so trading isn’t an option.

b)       Who, exactly, is going to generate money from this crowd? We presumably don’t fancy selling Owen, Parker, Taylor, Given or Emre, though I can’t imagine many managers banging our door down to take Faye, Babayaro, Boumsong, Bramble….well, ANYONE else in fact.

c)       One for the fans – if we have no money for players, where’s the cash coming from for a new manager? £5m to sack him, another couple to bring in a new crew – sorry, guys, it ain’t happening.

All in all, the lurching from one problem to the next has happened again. The optimists among us hoped for new players - "we'll buy this player, we'll buy that player and we'll be fine" – it’s become another disaster we didn’t see coming, yet it's here and it's real. Where the biggest issue, for me, arrives is in the fact that, true to form, there most certainly will be another while Souness remains. I hate to say it, but we’ve got to be very careful not to underestimate the threat of relegation.

That’s right – I said the “R” word. I’m not about to bleat on about the club being too good to go down then cite West Ham, Nottm Forest and Leeds as examples, or point to Everton and ask if either they’re too good or they’re comfortable. Simply put, a team as poor as ours is far from safe. We've got an appalling “manager” (and I use the term loosely) in charge and are relying on players like Ramage, Babayaro, Elliott, Shearer, Chopra, Ameobi, Bowyer, Faye and Bramble - not one of these players is too good for a bottom 3 or Championship club. How many of these would get in the Reading side? We may OWN Parker, Owen, Dyer, Emre, Luque, etc., but none are playing. Given might be a cracking keeper, but Robert Green couldn't do squat for Norwich. I’m sorry to make it so obvious, but Owen alone is responsible for 19 of our points so far this season. Without him, we’re Sunderland. Earth to Geordies – we’re without him again, the shortfalls have been obvious in the last few games – do I need to spell it out? Earth to Shepherd – might I suggest that the financial losses in going down (-£15m), or failing to qualify for europe (-£3m min), or finishing lower in the Premiership than expected (-£500k per place) FAR outweigh the money required to sack him? Furthermore, if Souness is failing so abysmally, doesn’t it follow that a pay-off simply ISN’T required, or does football exist on a higher plane than ordinary life, thus standard rules don’t apply?!

We are in it really, really deep. Most of us will still be here, if the Championship was our backdrop, but we ALL hope to God it doesn't happen. However, anyone who tells me it definitely WON'T is a fool and anyone who doesn't worry about it simply isn't living in the real world. This same fantasy planet is the one Souness was beaming down from on Friday when he told the world Emre would be playing some part in proceedings. How on earth he was going to get from Turkey to SJP in time is yet another question in an ever increasing line that Souness won't answer.'

Kind regards,

Neil Crossley.