It’s October. We’ve already had a managerial change, and have rocketed up the table from a low point of 18th, to the dizzying heights of 9th after last night – but as the Carpenters so beautifully sang, when it comes to Stuart McCall’s tenure, it’s only just begun.
The season started promisingly when Nick Daws’ side came from behind to upset newly promoted Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena – but even in victory, there were warning signs.
The Iron had lost a hatful of key figures in the summer, and Daws had pulled together a squad he felt would be good enough for another pop at the play off’s, but in truth, us Iron fans knew it wouldn’t be enough.
Nick had done a magnificent job in caretaker charge on two occasions, and was definitely deserved of a chance to have a go on a full time basis.
Who was Nick Daws?
I, like Iron chairman Peter Swann, have to put my hands up and say it was a mistake – a mistake that set us back in the early stages of the season, but thankfully hasn’t defined our entire season – at least I think.
I wanted Nick to be given a chance. Having worked at the club in the media department, I had seen his work behind the scenes – and I liked the guy a lot.
Under Mark Robins he was given the job of being ‘chief bollocker’ after games in which United had performed poorly – but he was just following orders. After Robins left, the players at the time saw a different Daws.
Where it started to go wrong
Having travelled to the Stadium of Light, you have to feel sorry for Nick.
Although we were comfortably defeated in the end – and although we cannot be sure – had we been given that penalty claim in the first half whilst the scores were still level, maybe we would have got something from that game?
Maybe, just maybe, we might not have gone on to do what we did just a few days later, too, and Nick might of stayed. But that’s football.
|Former Iron boss Nick Daws before his dismissal|
I’m a firm believer that unless you’re playing a side in the ilk of Manchester City or Liverpool, you should never lose 5-0 at home. Ever. Although it was only the fourth game of the season, we had seen enough to know it wasn’t going to click. It’s shit – and yes, I’m fickle – but he had to go.
I hope, however, he gets another chance elsewhere – of which I’m sure he will.
And after allllllll we’ve got Stuart McCallllll
So Daws had gone with United having conceded 10 goals in four games – there’s no prizes for pinpointing the core of the Iron’s problems.
A good performance under caretaker Andy Dawson against high-flying Barnsley resulted in a 2-2 draw, but at this point results weren’t key – everyone had their eyes on the odds for the next permanent manager.
McCall’s appointment divided the fanbase, but all-in-all had been welcomed as a breath of fresh air.
It will have taken the former Scottish international a matter of days on the training ground to see where his biggest task lie – our leaky defence.
In McCall’s first two games in charge his side squandered a lead to gain just a point from each game.
The point at Accrington was welcomed, as it had been unexpected, but the defensive display against Rochdale showed how we were very much still in the interim stage of McCall attending to the defensive issues.
Thankfully, I believe we will look back on our season and say it truly started against AFC Wimbledon.
To go away from home, take a 2-0 lead exactly as we had done the week before – and although the players made us sweat – to hold on for a 3-2 win, was a huge confidence booster for the team.
Seven points from the nine on offer has followed that result, including an unlikely couple of clean sheets.
But, on Tuesday night we played in a game at home that required us to score a minimum of four goals to win. That is unsustainable, and sadly will definitely happen again this season, unless we see an important incoming in January.
Murray Wallace left, and so did any mettle to our defence
A centre back of real quality please, Mr Swann
|Iron chairman Peter Swann has always backed his managers in the transfer window|