The Manager ...
Fair play. You can't argue with that. I have always thought Drax to be a decent manager. I don't think he helps himself sometimes but, perhaps more than anything, he hasn't been helped by the lack of accountability at York Road. On-field ill-discipline, long win-less runs in the league, relegation; all seemingly equal repeated contract extensions. What message does that send out? What would Drax actually have to do to get the sack? "He's Johnson Hippolyte, he does what he wants". It's true. And it's counter-productive.
The Director-cum-blogger ...
"A year ago I said that the team needed to display a better blend of youth and experience to avoid another relegation struggle and when the final whistle went on March 3rd to signal a 2-0 win at champions elect Woking, this appeared to have been achieved. Leaving that game the scene appeared to be set for the main objectives of the season to be met, namely a decent cup run and a midtable security. That it played out rather differently can be attributed to three reasons, in ascending order, the inability to get the best out of the maverick talents of Anthony Thomas and Will Hendry, a lack of fitness, and an appalling disciplinary record".
Ummm ... when did Anthony Thomas and Will Hendry leave the club? It was weeks, if not months, prior to the win at Woking, was it not? So any inability to get the best out of them had nothing to do with the fact that it "played out rather differently", post 3rd March.
As for fitness levels, well, I haven't seen all of the games (neither has Stevie G, of course), but against Dover recently we looked the side most likely to win the match, the longer it went on. A 93rd minute winner against Eastleigh, on an extremely heavy pitch, also indicates that lack of fitness was not an issue. A lack of application, maybe ...
The disciplinary record? That has been appalling, under Drax, for several seasons now (player-coach red-carded for spitting in an opponent's face, anyone?). What has been done to sort it? Nothing. Or nothing that has worked.
Things really came to a head this season because our two major goal threats - Alex Wall and Reece Tison-Lascaris - were suspended for much of the run-in. But how did we end up in a situation where we were so reliant on those two? Manny Williams - whom Drax said would score 15-20 goals this season - and Ashan Holgate - no better than Kieron St Aimie - were experienced strikers placed on contract last summer. Yet come the end of the season we were starting with Lee Barney - who spent most of the campaign on loan at Beaconsfield SYCOB - upfront on his own as Williams and Holgate languished on the bench!
If you've only got a small budget to work with (and I'm sure I read somewhere that MUFC Ltd can't compete financially with the 'big' clubs ... ), then you'd better get it right when signing players on contract. Drax was unlucky with Chris Taylor's injury but messed up, big time, with the signings of Williams and Holgate.
I can only assume that Stevie G doesn't mention this as it could be construed as an "attack" on the club ... and then he'd have to label himself as "anti-Drax" ;-)
The Advertiser reporter ...
"It's the Southern League now for the Magpies ... a season competing towards the top end of a table will be a nice change"
"The Southern League won't be easy, however, United's county cup drubbing at Chesham this season proved that"
Exactly. Indeed, it took Delroy Preddie kicking a divot at Northwood - and then an almost unbelievable run of form - for us to
fluke promotion escape the division last time around.
“It's been a painful campaign for the supporters and a summer of exciting activity could be just the tonic they need” ~ Charles Watts, Maidenhead Advertiser, 5th May 2011
"There is a lot of promise within the dressing room and if Drax makes the right tweaks, next season could be a very enjoyable one at York Road" ~ Charles Watts, Maidenhead Advertiser, 3rd May 2012
"The first thing we need to do is let the dust settle before making any decisions"
Perhaps we should've "let the dust settle" on the FA Cup run before handing out the latest contract extension!
"The key thing then is, as a board, to go away and do a bit of a debrief"
"Bit of a debrief"?! :-D
"We have to look at what went wrong and see what areas we need to improve"
Why didn't we do this last summer? #1
"Our discipline is definitely one area"
"Also our fitness levels, was that a problem?"
Are you copying Steve, or is Steve copying you? And how does a "lack of fitness" tie-in with previous claims of greater professionalism? Is "fitness" the new bad luck/ injuries/ referees/ financial constraints?!
"When things haven't worked out, you have to go away and look at how things are run"
Why didn't we do this last summer? #2
"If we need to freshen things up and make changes, we will"
Why didn't we do this last summer? #3
"We gave him (Drax) a contract last year for a reason and that's stability"
Sticking with the stability line are we? As aforementioned on here, I think that the contract situation has created a sense of complacency, as much as it has a sense of stability. Speaking of complacency ...
The Advertiser Columnist ...
Ground Hopper called it, weeks ago (5th April, to be precise):
"A long summer of reflection awaits the folk down at York Road"
Either that, or "a bit of a debrief"
The Advertiser back page ...
The Advertiser back page ...
You'll note that Maidenhead RFC's controversial sacking of Ricky Khan, their title-winning coach, also makes the headlines. Cue @therealdrax:
"Rasher's writing letters, Rasher's writing letters ... "