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Robin Sainty, INCSC chairman
Friday, December 2, 2011
There was a point on Saturday evening when I thought I’d slipped into a parallel universe.
Having walked away from the ground feeling elated that we had picked up such a vital three points I got into my car and switched on Canary Call on Radio Norfolk. While it had hardly been a vintage City performance, to hear numerous callers slating individual players was disappointing, to say the least, but some people are clearly only happy when they’re moaning.
Inevitably there was concern about another failure to keep a clean sheet, and there is no doubt that the equaliser was messy, but I would once again make the point that we have young players learning to play in possibly the hardest league in the world. They will make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes will lead to goals. That, unfortunately, is a side effect of having a squad put together on (in Premiership terms) a shoestring, but as Per Mertesacker showed last week, even spending a fortune on established international players doesn’t guarantee error free defending.
City are still a work in progress at this level and no one would suggest that there aren’t issues to address. Equally, I’m not suggesting that supporters don’t have the right to voice their concerns, but phoning up radio shows and demanding that this or that player should be replaced isn’t constructive.
Consider the case of Leon Barnett, who was justifiably criticised by Paul Lambert for not putting the ball into Row Z at Villa. On Saturday, instead of playing the ball back to his keeper when unclear as to what was around him, he elected to go for safety first. While it wasn’t a great clearance it was a case of poor execution, not poor decision making.
My point is that he had learnt from his Villa experience, rather than simply repeating the same mistake, and had he made a better contact no questions would have been asked.
He is a young player who has contributed greatly to our success and needs his confidence built, not undermined by people seeking scapegoats. Inexperienced players only become experienced players by making mistakes and learning from them, frustrating as that may be for fans.
In fact, one of the benefits of having limited resources is that the option to simply jettison players doesn’t exist, so people get more chances to develop, and that, I think, is a significant factor in City’s incredible team spirit over the last three seasons.
Of course, even the most misanthropic Canary Caller couldn’t get close to Neil Warnock when it comes to whinging.
There is actually a part of me that genuinely wants to like Warnock as a manager. He has made a career out of getting the best out of limited resources, but he always manages to defeat my best efforts. Maybe it’s because now, backed by Tony Fernandes’ deep pockets, he can no longer play the gallant underdog when things go badly, but his post game interview was breathtakingly graceless, even for him.
Apparently, contrary to the evidence of my own eyes, QPR had battered us and somehow been cheated of the win that their champagne football had deserved by two defensive errors. I’m not quite sure how this squares with them producing four efforts on target all game to our eight, but that’s just the view from here on Planet Earth.
And tomorrow it’s the small matter of visiting the Premiership leaders. I’m looking forward to my first visit to the Etihad and, let’s face it, they’ve got to lose that unbeaten record sometime. Even the moaners might applaud that!