You’ll have picked up on the fact that I’m a Crewe Alexandra fan. I’ve mentioned it once or twice (or lots). Well, you’ll also probably be aware that this season has been something of a car crash so far. Won one (Capital One cup game) and lost the rest. Really not great.
This has led to widespread condemnation. But then, let’s be honest. If last season you had a ropey defence (one of the leakiest in the league), release one of your first choice centre halves and ‘replace’ them with two squad players who weren’t good enough to force their way into the aforementioned leaky defence last season, then you’re always going to struggle to stop conceding goals.
Throw in the fact that the top scorer (on loan from Arsenal) returns to his parent club, another striker refuses a contract whilst another pushes through a move to Italy, leaving you with one striker. The remaining striker is 21, inexperienced and in his second season of league football, having scored just twice last season. Therefore, you’re going to struggle to score goals too.
Let’s look a the evidence; a team that can’t score lots of goals, and struggles to keep clean sheets. If you’re not a rocket scientist, don’t worry, as it doesn’t take one to work out that isn’t a great combo.
So, you might say, why didn’t the manager replace the defender? Why didn’t he sign more strikers (apart from a guy released by a club relegated from our league last season)? Well, it’s simple. He doesn’t have the money to. The manager is a guy who, in 2 and a half years in charge, presided over an 18 game club record unbeaten run that culminated in winning promotion at Wembley, and then topped if off with another victory at that famous stadium that saw us win the Johnstones Paint Trophy. He knows what he is doing. In turn, the board know that this is a manger that knows what he is doing. So why won’t they back him with money? The sad truth is they probably would if they had it available. If you aren’t going to back a manager with a record like that, who are you going to back? This leads me to the conclusion that there is no money to back him with, despite the club raking in deals worth upwards of £5 million over the past three summers. Where has that money gone? Only the board know.
Are Crewe going down? Without doubt. I can’t see any other outcome. I can’t even see us getting to 40 points, let alone 50. The only benefit this season can have is that, with such a threadbare squad, we get the chance to blood our young pros and help them get the first team experience that will see them blossom next season.
Sometimes, clouds really do have silver linings. Let’s hope, for my team’s sake, this is one of those times.