The manager

1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#1
It's not nice calling for someone to lose their job, but sadly this sort of talk is part and parcel of football, even at Christmas. But we pay our money and this gives us the right to criticise the manager, the players, the chairman or whoever. Personally, I agree with everyone on White Review who thinks that the team as a whole is underachieving and that the manager is mainly responsible for this. I also agree that at the moment it looks like we won't make the play-offs this year. However, I do not think Mark Palios will sack Gary Brabin in the near future and I think I can guess why.

Last year, he had to pay off two managers and numerous players. Despite this, he has invested heavily again in the club this season. Now, if GB is sacked, he too will get a handsome pay-off. Assuming we find a suitable manager to work with a chairman who has sacked three managers in just over a year, he will want to bring in his own back-room staff and expect enough money to bring in different players. Added to that, some of the current squad will have to be paid off. On past experience, MP will only allow the new manager to sign players until the end of the season, making it difficult to sign quality (as we found last season). It is far from certain that a change of manager will result in promotion this season. The only thing you can be sure of is that getting rid of GB will cost a lot of money that the club can ill afford.

So, what's the alternative? MP might decide to change GB's target from the play-offs to a top-half finish. He might ask him to make do with the personnel already he has and let things settle. I would suggest he should look at bringing in one or two of the younger players to see what they are made of. This would stabilise the finances and might take a lot of pressure off the manager and team. If things improve and we finish this season strongly, we could plan for next season by extending some contracts, so we have a settled squad. If we look like we are heading for the bottom four (and I read RLC's analysis), then changes can be made later, but I am not so worried as I think there are at least four teams worse than us.

I know this view will not be popular, but the Palios money will run out eventually and sacking GB could be one of the final nails in the coffin of TRFC.
 
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15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#2
You make some reasonable points bbtc. However, only palios knows the true cost of sacking brabin and I don't think it would be as great as you suggest as most managers at this level won't have generous severance clauses in their contracts. I would accept brabin staying until the end of the season provided he is told to work with what he has and is not given further funds to spend in January. My preference would still be for him to go.
 
30 Jun 2008
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#3
I agree with everything you say BBTC. I think we just have to grin and bear it if MP decides, understandably, to leave GB in charge. I find it amazing that a guy who has had some success at this level seems incapable of developing a decent team. Player confidence seems very low at present and this is something the Manager really has to address. It is a key issue if, as most correspondents on this site seem to suggest, the quality of the players individually is of an appropriate standard. However, from the comments made on the site about GB's body language at the games, he does not appear to be very engaged. Therefore, I have real doubts as to whether he can turn it around. Just pumping out platitudes week after week about working hard in training etc does not cut it. He has to get inside the players heads. GB is on a great wicket at Rovers. A supportive and financially sound Chairman, a decent club organisation and a good number of nailed on fans for the level the club is playing at. He has to be nuts if he is not exploring every avenue to get things going. It will be a lost opportunity for him and everyone else involves with the club if he fails.
 

Ian

Super White!
21 Sep 2005
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Aldo
#4
MP increased prices even though we went down to compete financially so GB would have a top 3 budget in this league.

However we are putting in poor performance after poor performance and expectations are not being met.

Realistically I thought we would struggle to go up at the first go but I certainly didn't expect to see the dross that is being served up every week. Surely with our financial backing this is unacceptable.

Supporters are starting to turn because they've had enough. It could be a very long xmas.
 
8 Sep 2009
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Chris Greenacre
#5
I do have some sympathy for MP. I think most rovers fans were pleased when he brought Adams in last season given his L2 record and it didn't work out. Similarly with GB who has a good record of success at this level and once again it has gone wrong. What else can GB do? We've had the young inexperienced type in Edwards (PJ appointment), the middle of the road experienced type in Brabin, and the very experienced type in Adams - none have worked!!

As I've said before, I think it'll take a lot more for MP to sack GB. The only chance of that happening is if we start sliding downwards and need one eye over our shoulder. I suspect MP will stay positive and say despite our awful form, we're still only 6 points off the play offs so still time to catch up - assuming things improve. It only takes 1 win and confidence returns and everything starts being positive (although I felt that after Guiseley).

GB has not helped himself by saying what a good squad we have. In recent weeks the likes of Hill, Ridehalgh, Jenno, Maynard, McNulty, Sutton, Mangan, Tomlinson, GTF and Mekki (slightly harsh but I agree with Boz that his end product isn't great), have not been good enough. You can say some of this is down to lack of confidence - but some is that they are not good enough and past their best (Jennings the case in point).
 

Ian

Super White!
21 Sep 2005
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Aldo
#6
I suspect MP will stay positive and say despite our awful form, we're still only 6 points off the play offs so still time to catch up - assuming things improve. It only takes 1 win and confidence returns and everything starts being positive (although I felt that after Guiseley).
Sparky, I admire your optimism but we are 24 games in now. We haven't been consistent thus far and see no reason for that to change. Even when we win, we can't go on a decent run. Watching them play, there's not a great deal of positives I can take. They are all underperforming and we the supporters have to put up with another p*ss poor season. Getting sick and tired of it because like RLC says, starting to dread going to games now.
 

Boz

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30 Sep 2005
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Iain Hume
#7
I think Mark Palios was absolutely right to only agree short-term contracts midway through last season. If the players who had joined then, the likes of Dugdale, Molyneaux, Taylor had kept us up, they'd have maybe been offered new deals, but they didn't and can anyone say on how they performed last year, that we're really missing them now? Even with some of the mediocrities in the current squad! I don't know that the position will be the same this year, could see Dawson, who we've already seen in action being offered 18 months for example. Though BBTCs point about the inability to recruit quality on short-term deals is valid.

My strong impression from the address to the Trust meeting on Saturday, is while MP is disappointed with events on the field, there are no plans to remove Brabin. Short of us being in danger of relegation from this league, which I still think is unlikely, that won't change.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#8
Palios is hardly going to let slip at the Trust meeting that he is thinking of sacking Brabin though is he ? If supporter disenchantment is great enough and people start voting with their feet, Brabin will go soon enough.

I am completely with Ian on this one. There is nothing in Brabin's performance so far that suggests he will be a success at this club. Performances have deteriorated as the season has progressed, and they were not good to begin with. In August we ground out results, but we still looked an unbalanced side, lacking creativity. We now look both of those things and more: leaderless, disorganised, lacking belief, with an alarming lack of effort from many individuals, suggesting an unwillingness to perform for the manager.

I would be prepared to cut Brabin more slack if performances were decent and there were signs of improvement, but there are not. To allow Brabin to stay for the full season and waste more of our precious resources in January would be criminal in my view. People mention above the cost of getting rid of Brabin. What about the cost of keeping him ? If he is finally replaced, his successor needs the time and resources to build a successful team and the longer Brabin remains in post the more difficult that becomes.

I am not having a pop at other posters, but it is easy to counsel patience when you follow the club on White Review and the BBC website. When you spend an enormous amount of time and money watching Rovers it is much more difficult, and the supporters are getting nothing back from the club at the moment.

Sparky mentions Palios's bad luck in his managerial appointments. Yes, there is an element of bad luck involved but I think he seriously has to look at his recruitment criteria. Using statistical measures to appoint managers might seem 'scientific', but successful chairmen probably rely as much on gut instinct when giving someone a job. Plenty of supporters of Luton and other non-league clubs told us about Brabin's flaws before he arrived.

There are also rumours, whether reliable or not, of Palios taking a hands-on approach in player recruitment and other areas. If this is the case, it has not been successful in the last twelve months and needs to be reconsidered.

In response to one of Sparky's other points, it is difficult to judge individuals when they are being as poorly managed as our players are at the moment: the change in Liverpool's form under Klopp is a case in point. Most of the players we recruited had a good reputation at this level, and I still believe we have the nucleus of a decent side.

In any case, if the players are that bad, they were signed using a top 3 budget which is just a further indictment of Brabin.
 
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30 Jun 2008
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#9
Take your point about patience RLC. You and others are the guys spending your hard earned every week. Us exiles place a lot of value in the reports you all provide. Nothing seems to change despite 'all the mighty fine words' from the Manager and even then they do not seem to vary much being almost parrot like. They can do all the hard work they like (if they really are) but if GB cannot get the team to be more than a sum of its parts then Rovers are going nowhere.
 

Boz

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30 Sep 2005
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Iain Hume
#10
RLC, I'd agree that Palios wouldn't come out at the Trust meeting and suggest Brabin was a goner unless... However, if I was reading the signals correctly, Brabin will still be allowed more time and breaking point hasn't been reached with the Chair yet. This may not be what people want to hear, but my fear is that is the reality, with the drawbacks you go on to highlight above.

I'm unsure what truth there might be in MP taking part in player recruitment and other areas. It's relatively unususal for a Chair to have a footballing background and it does seem that he and Brabin have regular meetings to discuss playing matters, but only an insider would be able to gauge the extent and whether MP goes so far as to make suggestions about selection or tactics. So long as it is accepted the manager has the final say, in principle there doesn't seem to be anything wrong. As for player recruitment, aside from Iain Hume, it's hard to link any signing to Palios, the players that have come in this season have largely been those the manager would be familiar with.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#11
On a certain other rovers website there is a fairly full reply from Nicola palios to a fan, detailing why brabin is staying. I don't agree with many of her comments but it is worth reading. Credit to her for responding.
 
1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#12
RLC - Yes, I understand your point about us armchair fans. You regulars are suffering this dross first-hand every week and paying for the privilege. However, everyone who takes the time to post here is a true fan and I stand by my analysis. Having seen what happens to clubs who get into financial problems (Stockport, Chester and Wrexham, for example, and not to mention Accrington Stanley, going further back), I don't want my team to go into administration/liquidation/termination by throwing good money after bad. I'd rather have a mid-table Rovers than no Rovers at all. My message was to counsel caution. There's no magic bullet.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#14
Lifted from Facebook:

My Response from Palios.....Brabin going nowhere

I understand your anger and frustration at our recent run of bad form, and by all accounts a poor game on Saturday (one of the few I was not able to attend personally).

However, there is a little perspective needed.

So far this season we have won 9 games (last season we won only 12 throughout the whole season), and we have drawn 8. Unfortunately, most of those losses have come at home, which perhaps leaves fans with a distorted view of how the team have performed as a whole. The performances at Gateshead, Forest Green and Cheltenham were excellent and show what we can do when we are on form. We have also had a 9 game unbeaten run so far this season.

The recent run has been a poor one, we have picked up only 8 points out of our last 9 games and no-one is happy with that (not least Gary and the players). However, it is not uncommon in this League for teams to go through strong runs and then a weak period - Forest Green had an almost identical spell of bad form (only picking up 8 points out of 27) after a flying start to their season, but they have picked it up and turned it around again, and that is what we need to do, and quickly. We have some very able players who have come to the Club because of Gary; getting them to gel and play with confidence is an art, not a science. Whilst it is understandable if supporters vent their anger, ultimately it doesn’t help.

We currently sit 6 points off the play-off places. We said at the start of the season that our aim was to ensure that we were at least in the play-offs this year. With 22 games still to go there is plenty of time to achieve that.

Despite the recent run of poor results, Gary Brabin has a career win rate of 47% as a manager at this level – significantly higher than the vast majority of alternative managers whose names are touted around, including Ronnie Moore who stands at 37%; he has previously been voted Conference Manager of the Year and has got his teams into the play-offs in every full season he has managed. He and the players understand the work that needs to be done on the training ground (and perhaps through some further squad strengthening) to ensure that this happens this season, and we need to hold our nerve and keep the faith whilst they do that.

Regards

Nicola Palios
 
1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#16
It's nice that a co-owner takes the trouble to answer a question like that. Her response reads well and it's clear no managerial changes are likely while the play-offs remain a possibility. As Ian says, I hope she's right. At the moment I'm as sceptical as any of you, but as I said, I'm willing to wait a bit longer.
 

Boz

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30 Sep 2005
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Iain Hume
#17
Thanks for posting the Nicola Palios response to disgruntled fans, RLC.

While the effort to communicate are laudable, the way the message comes across jars a little. However, the point that Brabin stays is even clearer than her husband's comments at the Trust meeting.
 

Ian

Super White!
21 Sep 2005
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Aldo
#18
You can gloss over anything with a series of stats and figures but all I know is that I see a disjointed medicore team every time I go to PP. Quite how we are still talking about getting the team to gel is ridiculous after 24 games. Here's some stats for you. In the last 10 league games we've gained a grand total of 11 points. That's 11 points out of a possible 30. So although we are only '6 points from the playoffs' it seems like an awful big gap.

He and the players understand the work that needs to be done on the training ground
Ahh yes, the old classic. Let's see how that works out. :rolleyes:
 
8 Sep 2009
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Chris Greenacre
#19
Credit to Nicola Palios for replying. Too many times clubs stay silent on such matters. However her last para reminds me of a point RLC (I think), made about stats etc.

Sometimes it comes down to gut feeling and what appear to be decent stats elsewhere don't always mean success in the future. I just hope the board are not blinkered by these stats when as Ian states, not only are we losing but the team and tactics look totally inept at the moment.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#20
I won't do it because it will just result in another rant, but you could blow apart all those stats she quotes. To give just one example, how can you compare Brabin's win percentage with Ronnie's when Moore managed most of his career in League One and the Championship, often operating on a shoestring budget and competing with the likes of Wolves and Leeds ? Brabin has had healthy budgets in the Conference and Conference North, hardly comparable. Guardiola might have a win percentage lower than Brabin's for all I know.

I am generally concerned that the tone of her reply suggests that she (and presumably her husband) doesn't really appreciate the levels of discontent among the supporters at the moment.