Black mark for McGhee

Monday 3rd December 2012 15:11

McGhee: pressure is building

McGhee: pressure is building

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Bristol Rovers FanZoner Jon Jerrome questions if the club need to think about replacing Mark McGhee.

A year on and Rovers have not made any progress

So yet another Saturday evening is tainted by another defeat which sees the club languishing at the lower regions of League Two and flirting with a relegation battle to ensure our Football League survival. It all sounds so horribly familiar.

Saturday's rearranged defeat to Wycombe is the latest in a long line of poor results where the side has shown little quality and offered little hope to an increasingly disenchanted fan base who will be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu at the events of this campaign.

Indeed the frustration is further compounded by the fact three points were seemingly secured at Adams Park in August before the referee controversially called off the game due to adverse weather conditions with the Gas leading 3-1.

However following the tame defeat to Gareth Ainsworth's men which makes it seven defeats from our last nine, talk of injustice is likely to be overshadowed by bigger questions surrounding the leadership of the club and the performance of manager Mark McGhee whose promising start has turned increasingly sour.

The Scotsman's rapidly approaching one year anniversary has been marked with a growing sense of discontent amongst supporters whose pre-season hopes for a promotion charge has failed to materialise in pretty spectacular fashion. Given the manager's initial honeymoon period, the anticipation surrounding this campaign appeared to be justified.

Having inherited a club on its knees following the disastrous reign of Paul Buckle, McGhee's wealth of experience and refreshingly modest attitude provided a real assurance to Gasheads that their club was in the right hands and the rocking ship could be steadied.

The subsequent upturn in form and marked improvement in the side's organisation appeared to lay foundation to the positive belief and a series of exciting home performances towards the latter weeks of the campaign wetted the appetite for the season to follow.

Yet to date, that's as good as it's got. The summer departure of Mustapha Carayol was undoubtedly a big blow to the club and left a huge void in the attacking department which McGhee made no secret of his desire to replace.

excitement

However whilst the summer arrivals at the Memorial Stadium offered a degree of excitement due to their unknown quantity, many were concerned over the lack of lower league experience acquired which appeared evident during the poor opening weeks.

Twenty games in and it's fair to say things haven't got better. With just 3 points separating us and the summit of the Football League, Internet forums are awash with posts calling for the manager's head and demanding wholesale changes at the club.

Indeed McGhee's decision to play players outside of their renowned positions is causing further question marks with results suggesting the current formula employed is not particularly effective.

Whilst the prospect of another managerial change remains a real possibility, I for one am not particularly enthused by the idea given the lack of stability which has plagued the club over the last ten years. After all, with a number of key summer signings appearing to sign for the club due to McGhee's presence, a change at the top would be a potentially dangerous move should the players not respond to a new voice in the dressing room.

However the half way mark to the campaign is rapidly approaching and with our league position looking very precarious, a failure to find form in the coming months could spell the end of our long stay in the Football League. The threat is very real, and for that reason, it seems unlikely the board will persist with the current management setup should a marked improvement not be made in the coming weeks.

It promises to be a vital few weeks ahead.

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