Too many weeds in Peter's City garden

PUBLISHED: 16:33 04 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:47 14 September 2010

What an amazing spell of weather we have had lately. Just before October was pushed aside by November there I was outside cutting and edging my grass, and pulling up the seemingly countless weeds that have been doing a bit of late-year sunbathing courtesy of some global warming.

What an amazing spell of weather we have had lately. Just before October was pushed aside by November there I was outside cutting and edging my grass, and pulling up the seemingly countless weeds that have been doing a bit of late-year sunbathing courtesy of some global warming.

They don't discriminate as to where they root and flourish; every last ounce of their strength appears to go into their main focus: survival at all costs. With my hand fork broken at the moment you can imagine the 'weedy' sniggers when I tried to use a trowel on the enemy instead.

Beyond my garden there are the trees, now on the turn and stunningly beautiful in the low sun of a morning or late afternoon. A couple of weeks ago and you could have been forgiven for thinking that they had signed a pact with Mother Nature just to hang onto their green hues and skip wearing their autumn garments for this year - but all of a sudden things change, slowly at first, then with gathering pace until…bang…wouldn't you know it: what you had (due to experience) expected arrived and then will change yet again before you have time to ask: “Which is thinner, your wallet or City's squad?”

No you haven't stumbled on misplaced section of 'Gardening Monthly' or found me abandoning all things Canary in favour of some outdoor therapy (though heaven knows some of us may well have sought it last weekend). It is simply that the fresh air and solitude gave me plenty of time to ponder our 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Stoke and - surprise surprise - there appeared to be more than a few similarities. Just like my weeds our opponents appear, at least on the surface, to be more focused than we are, though I would hesitate to suggest their sole intent is survival - more like climbing higher and higher up the league table, whereas we put on little spurts then wither a bit.

Then there's using the wrong tools to get the job done. Round pegs in square holes and all that, and boy didn't it show at Stoke? Now there are a few players who have 'versatility' as their middle name: Phil Jagielka at Sheffield United springs to mind as he can play just about anywhere in defence and midfield, and is also pretty useful between the sticks, making a second keeper on the bench not a necessity. But Gary Doherty in midfield? That one comes into the 'truth stranger than fiction' category.

Next up there's what you get used to and how little surprises, some not at all pleasant, can creep up and bite you on the proverbials. City had a decent start to the season, then a pretty steady decline until things came to a head a few weeks ago. Then, like the trees trying hard not to change into their Autumn colours, we had a few all-too-brief days of smiling at them and with them, getting used to their out-of-season greens before… bang… we're back to uncertainty again as they decide to roll in some artist's palette after all. What I really mean here is, this is City…so expect the unexpected and you won't go far wrong.

There's just no consistency. One minute optimism, the next despair. The paper thin squad is certainly not helping, but at least let's have round pegs in round holes, let's have the focus of knowing what to do from experience (regardless of the age of the player concerned) and get some consistency going before we play a certain team who scored five the day after we let in five - because not watching the 'Championship Review' or the local news on Mondays is becoming a habit in this household and one I would very much like to break, especially now there are fewer daylight hours to take it out on the hardy weeds that escaped my trowel this time around.

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