BottledDog Posted March 24, 2007 Share Posted March 24, 2007 No excuses from boss looking to give team a backbone Behind Glenn Roeder's desk in his office overlooking the plush green pitches of Newcastle United's training ground is written a phrase which he believes sums up the mistakes of the past and the challenges of the future. It is a phrase Newcastle's manager gazes upon every day, a phrase which serves not only to remind him of the club's chequered history, but also to strengthen his resolve for what lies ahead. Whether it is justified or not, Roeder is under pressure for the first time as Newcastle manager. As his unpopular predecessor, Graeme Souness, once observed as his own St James's Park regime began to unravel, you are never more than two games away from a crisis at Newcastle United. Back-to-back defeats at Charlton and AZ Alkmaar - the latter doubling as the collapse of their Uefa Cup challenge - is more than enough to plunge the club into turmoil. While Tyneside boils in recriminations and regret and bubbles with anger and animosity, Roeder retains a cool, calm and, as he is at pains to point out, calculated approach. He is not interested in trophy signings, he is interested in signing a team which will finally win some trophies. "Newcastle always buy one star here, one star there, but they never buy a team'. I look at that every day - one star here, one star there, no team, no backbone," said Roeder, with another glance at the whiteboard. It has a list of injured players on one side, the club's remaining fixtures on the other and, in the middle, a smudge of blue ink where Roeder had wiped away the names of the club's summer transfer targets. Roeder makes no secret of what he feels is responsible for a poor first full season in charge - injuries But his list of targets is highly classified. It is also the list upon which his future rests. Get the recruitment right in the summer and he will continue as manager. Get it wrong and he will gaze upon his whiteboard for the final time. Roeder's regular habit of falling back on the club's injury problems has started to irritate many supporters. While a manager may suggest he is not looking for excuses in a crowded treatment room, the constant referral to the issue is, nevertheless, viewed as an excuse. "I want to be careful when I'm talking so I don't do something that I've never done, make excuses." said Roeder. "But the stats tell you we've had injuries that's been in double figures for six months. I can't legislate for that as a manager and the fans can't legislate for that either. I think the fans have been fantastic because the majority understand what has happened to us this season. "In life, not just football, it's always the loud minority we hear. It's never the silent majority. The silent majority are the decent people in life. That's not just in football, that's in life, politics, everything. "The silent majority understand the situation, but the loud minority don't understand how difficult it is. "All the players who've had long spells out, their seasons haven't got going. You can't expect players who've been out for a long period to come straight back in and play at their best straight away. "It's just impossible to succeed with a team which has had more than 20 different combinations in the back four. These aren't excuses, they are facts. The teams that do well have consistency. "They don't have changes week in, week out, they play with the same 14 or 15 players in the league." Yet, for many supporters, Roeder's words are still nothing more than excuses for failure; a weak apology for a season which was destined to fail when two transfer windows opened and closed without the signings needed to strengthen a squad short on quality and numbers. A left-back, a centre-back and a target-man were the obvious requirements, but Roeder and chairman Freddie Shepherd failed to land them in the summer, while only the inexperienced and unproven defender Oguchi Onyewu arrived on a loan/trial in January. For all the talk of injuries, if the club performed better in the transfer market, the injuries would not have been so decimating. "That doesn't just involve me," counters Roeder. "Last year, I had targets that I wanted and targets that I didn't get for a variety of reasons. I then didn't just panic and buy players I wasn't certain about. It would have been `here we go again'. Players on three or four-year contracts who in six months time are no use. I was gambling with my job, but I was gambling with my job for the good of Newcastle United, not for myself. "We were looking at players who were fourth or fifth choice and we don't have fourth or fifth choices. We could have got players who were past their shelf life, because that's happened here in the past, players who are a name but that's all they are. As a result, we go into the summer with room to manoeuvre in the squad. "The club, over the last ten years, has been built on signings. Supporters expect to read about signings. People say, `go on Glenn, sign anyone, make it a back page for the Evening Chronicle for one day'. In a few months' time they are saying `what did you sign him for'. It's not a computer game. "I'm still working with a squad that isn't mine. I would expect to be judged when I have the players I've signed. We will go into next season with my team. I can't change everything in two years. It's like any new business, survive the first two years and then you're up and running." Source = The Journal "I'm still working with a squad that isn't mine. I would expect to be judged when I have the players I've signed. We will go into next season with my team. I can't change everything in two years. It's like any new business, survive the first two years and then you're up and running." It's a fair sentiment and, as it looks likely that he will stay, I genuinely hope he is right. Good luck Glenn. He seems to realise that he still has a hell of a lot to prove for a lot of us. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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