Embarrassed by Valley tactics

PUBLISHED: 16:59 22 September 2007 | UPDATED: 10:34 14 September 2010

“IT IS no easy job to play that lone striker role, but McFadden stuck to the task and proved he is a matchwinner. When you consider the importance of the goal and the quality of the goal, it was magnificent.

“IT IS no easy job to play that lone striker role, but McFadden stuck to the task and proved he is a matchwinner. When you consider the importance of the goal and the quality of the goal, it was magnificent.

“For their determination, their attitude and concentration, Alex McLeish's team deserved their win. Despite all France's possession, Craig Gordon had only two saves to make.”

The words of Peter Grant following Scotland's fluke 1-0 win in France earlier this month.

Little did we know such international events would have resonance at home as Grant sought to replicate a repeat of brave Scotland's performance at the Valley.

But the trouble with that system - especially when it's centred on a striker* who never scores - is that 99 times out of 100 you will lose.

Scotland's result in Paris was a miracle, but miracles don't happen very often.

Quite frankly, to go to bland Charlton (not exactly Les Bleus) with that defensive lone-striker set up was embarrassing.

This is an opposition who were lucky to get a point against Colchester and Scunthorpe, and have lost to Stoke.

Yet we went there as if we were going into the Estadio do Maracana; even leaving our only goal-scoring threat on the bench...

Doubtless Grant will point to the fact that we were only seven minutes away from getting a point.

But for my money, if you go through 45 minutes without mustering a shot on target then you deserve to lose.

When Grant took over one of the benefits was that it seemed we were now going to have a pop at teams away from home.

If he falls back into a Worthy-like malaise away from the Carra he'll end up in trouble; as unlike Worthy his home form is not good enough to get away with it.

Grant has had some very impressive results on the road so far, The Man hopes Tuesday's tactics were just a blip.

I understand we've got a bang average team, but going down without a fight is not acceptable.

The Man passionately believes that our club has got more balls to it than Charlton.

Forget the balance sheets, one look around the lifeless Valley tells you they've been punching above their weight for many years and deserve to be down-sized.

The Man always found it a touch loathsome that our board considered something as mundane as Charlton as our 'model club'.

To go there and approach the game like we did was demeaning.

t The Man is not criticising Chris Brown on this score, he worked hard at Charlton and did a decent job, but it is clear the goals are not flowing at the moment…

....................................

t TIME FOR THE ODD COUPLE TO MAKE IT COUNT

IT never rains, it pours. Following what The Man is now going to refer to as Black Tuesday, we are left without our current best player, Dion, for three games.

It did not look like a red card to me, but if you are going to fall for the wind-up tactics of a two-bit loser like Mills, right, tangling with Darren Huckerby, then maybe you deserve a red.

The fact we allowed someone like that to wind us up was very disappointing.

He leaves the pitch to a standing ovation and we stand on the brink of another failed season...

So, it's another three games with The Odd Couple (Shackell and Doherty) at the back. If ever there was a time to deliver it is now.

The Man really doesn't want to write too much about Black Tuesday, but these comments really worried me...

Grant: “Jamie was understanding, but I just wanted Darren in the team.

“I thought Darren could give us something. To do that I thought I needed some help along with him.

“After a period of time I didn't think it was working, the three, we weren't getting a grip of the game the way we should have been so we changed it and Darren gave them another threat. Jamie fully understood that and has no problem.”

The Man thinks any team we put out - based on the current squad - MUST include both Curo and Hux.

No question.

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t ANDY REVEALS HOW THE OTHER HALF USED TO LIVE

AN interesting tit bit from Andy Townsend, pictured, this week.

He wrote in a national paper about trying to transplant Robert Chase's bonus structure to Chelsea in the 90s.

He said: “We were pre-season training in Aberystwyth - four days running on the sands in Wales with no Far East or US brand-building tours for us - when, as captain, I told the other players how the rolling bonus system had worked at my previous club, Norwich.

“'Go on, go and see the Old Man,' they told me and I slowly made my way to the chairman's hotel room.

“At Norwich, we were paid £200 a win, but it would double with each win; a five-game winning streak was worth a few bob.

“I suggested the same idea to Ken (Bates) but he told me: 'F*** off and come back when you've won something!'”

Can you imagine it?

Chelsea refusing to match Norwich's bonus structure...happy days.

....................................

t It's A Man's World Until It Comes To Rugby

RUGBY: The Man has never been a fan. I'm sure it's a decent game to play; but any sport where you get applauded for kicking the ball out of play has got to be rubbish.

In case you are not aware, we are currently in the midst of a rugby 'world cup', which is being held in France.

Although it appears Wales and Scotland get to play their games at home…

I've had the misfortune of watching one game so far, and it had me reaching for the remote to switch to the Women's World Cup in China. Poor stuff.

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