Wayne Blackledge is not thrilled with Burnley's recent form but even less impressed with his fellow fans.
Patience needed at Turf Moor
As the season begins to possibly fade out the realisation is starting to kick in as to where Burnley FC currently are.
Owen Coyle came in a few years ago and supplied a belief that had previously not existed within Turf Moor, providing some excellent cup runs and promotion to the promised land whilst playing fast entertaining attacking football. This, in turn, has lifted expectations about the squad of players, who are almost the same group now, and fans can't understand why we are struggling to reach the play-offs with them.
Just maybe, they aren't actually good enough and it was all originally done with fantastic motivation and belief alone which rapidly disappeared under Brian Laws' tenure.
I prefer to believe that they are good enough but lost a lot of confidence under Laws which is taking some getting back. Add this to some very average signings under Laws and a current set of injuries which would test most teams and we are left with a team of players just falling short or expectation.
We can still reach the play-offs of course and a run of 16 points from
18 a few weeks ago set us up nicely. Then Millwall arrived at Turf Moor and upset the run by deservedly running off with all 3 points.
The problem with this game though wasn't necessarily the result but the reaction of the fans. Every team has an off day, even Barcelona, and this was certainly one of ours. However, the boos and groans that were around at this game were totally undeserved after the recent good run. It should have been a blip but when Coventry arrived a few days later and the players didn't perform again, the moans and groans became even more intense!
A school of thought could say that the reason they didn't perform was because they became scared to try things and shied away from wanting the ball because of the crowd reaction. Of course the results weren't what was expected but teams aren't going to turn up and not try to get some points themselves! What the team really needed was the crowd behind them with support, not vitriolic criticism.
Sadly, this was still around for last weekend's home game against Ipswich. Chris Eagles seems to be getting a huge amount of unfair stick at the moment. Chris, like most flair players, will have good and bad runs of form but shouting abuse at him for clearing the ball down the line to nobody (when there were no other options) is not going to assist in bringing back his good form!
It's not just Chris either, there seem to be a lot of players becoming scapegoats and there's no need for it. The players have been good for us and can be good again but it's frustrating that the good times are forgotten so quickly.
Even if we were to make the play-offs I can't see us going up that way again and I'm personally frustrated we had a chance of second place not long since that has slipped from our grasp. However, if we re-group under the new management there is hopefully a better chance of going straight up next year and staying in the Championship this time may reduce the expectation level for it to actually become possible.
Of course, if we don't gain promotion next season then it's our own fault for appointing Brian Laws for a year - or for not actually supporting the team!