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Friday, 26 November 2010

Will the real Mr Yeovil stand up

... or put his feet up after Christmas? - by Cruncher

This is not a simple instance of assessing managerial ability - it's what actual practicalities we are faced with afterwards: very likely to be a rookier rookie with even less budget. Circumstances control us to the extent we need to support a manager who is committed to the cause in restrictive conditions, no matter how much we do or do not believe in his abilities to do the job. Much like early-2009 for the good of the club when we and the Board needed to continue supporting Russell Slade. Only, the Board didn't.

It's not a question of whether Terry Skiverton is lacking here or naive there, or caught in a trap with too many loan players, or getting the balance wrong in his squad, or leaky defensive tactics. It's like everything at the club - a decision mastered by the situation we have arrived at after a succession of misguided years.

If December results turn out as bad as November's than Skivo would have to go and we would likely be forced into a punt on Mr. Cheaper-than-chips fresh out of kindergarten, but our best chance for at least a bit longer appears to be sticking with a determined man with the hope that potential at long last materialises into points.

How we could afford to pay up his contract and source (let alone afford) a suitable replacement, is dilemma enough. And even more difficult if it involved swapping the entire management team. It all points to the Board appointing another option that strongly suits their purpose, but with even more restrictive conditions for that replacement to be under, and with even less appeal and money to attract/afford the required quality. I believe that this criteria narrows it down to such a degree that we would be hard-pushed to match or improve on what we've got - but I concede that there might be a point when we must do something, if only as a hopeful shot in the dark. For me, that assessment point would be at the turn of the year.

Bluntly, it strongly appears a desperate punt on a cheap novice will be our only route if we sack the manager - on balance I'd run with what we've got until the Christmas fixtures are done and dusted. Seven points from five December games would be my minimum, which would take us to exactly the halfway point in the season on twenty-two points and likely at best to be the top of the relegation slots. That in my book would earn him another month with a target of a further nine points from the six January League games. If he gets to that minimum, then he'd be in position to be retained for the duration with the job to chase a target of a point and half per game for the rest of the season. Which is about the state that Slade was in at that point but not retained.

The situation we are in is dictated by the situation we are in. Norman Hayward could lend to the club enabling a reasonable chance of a good replacement - but does that sound overall a good move? - which also would most probably impact from the word go on what that good replacement would have in his squad budget. Unless Dean Bowditch (say) is sold in January to fund not a replacement striker but a replacement manager - could you really endorse that gamble?

Skivo has been a nearly man in management for a long while now with performances that hint at a potential that doesn't materialise. This is a restrictive situation that only has a faint flickering candle at the end of the tunnel. He has in the past been dubbed 'Mr. Yeovil', now he has to earn that moniker like a man striving for his Finest Hour. He has the steel, there is no doubt, and for just a bit longer we must believe that he can still come up with the knowhow and to make it effective.

Support him this month, and judge him by the Sheffield Wednesday or perhaps Plymouth game. Hope like hell he turns the corner, but if he skids into the sidewall then we will be forced into that desperate cheap punt. If we can find a way that won't be at the detriment to the club of affording a new manager of the right ilk, then Skivo's time could well be up now at this point - but if we were in that healthy a position then the manager might not be in this plight. How much is down to his failings and how much is down to constraints, is down to subjective opinion.

But don't rush towards a desperate punt just yet. Because that last shot in the dark is such a flimsy gamble, we have to back Skivo until it becomes even more urgent not to do so. Perhaps there is an alternative, but it doesn't appear there is, not without cost that the club can't bear. For December: no doubting, just absolute support and then either reap the reward or worry like hell.

The real debate needs to step away from centring on the manager. There are many astute observers who cannot shake off loyalties to do this - I urge them to think long and hard. As some have noted, Terry Skiverton is a manager who we cannot fully judge. Attention should concentrate on why that is so.


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