Peter Ridsdale's Brave New World

Last updated : 13 January 2007 By Paul Evans

We were six points clear at the top of the table going into the match with Norwich and playing terrific football. Okay we played poorly and lost that day, but then we always lose at Carrow Road and, anyway, all the talk after the game was of the takeover story that had broken during the match - with the hedge fund investors we were told were taking over promising to plough millions into the club, it was now surely a case of onwards and upwards for the soar away bluebirds! So how can it be then that, less than three months later, I'll go down to Ninian Park today not expecting us to beat the team who have propped up the league virtually all season whilst scoring only four goals on their travels along the way?

Well, since those heady days of autumn, we have won a miserable two of sixteen matches played in all competitions and the “irrevocable” agreement that Sam Hammam would step aside proved to be nothing of the sort as supporters had to endure an awful week before Christmas where, reportedly, the club was a quarter of an hour away from administration before another irrevocable agreement was signed to save the day!

To be fair to the new regime at Ninian Park, I think it would be very harsh to blame them for the team's results since we played at Norwich, but they have hardly covered themselves in glory during the takeover saga with contradictory statements galore (after being told previously that the hedge fund investors were frightened off by Sam Hammam's financial demands, we are now told that they walked away because they didn't know who owned the infamous loan notes - I thought this information had been disclosed at a council meeting early in December?) and deadlines when the “irrevocable” agreement would go through being missed.

As the team spluttered for form, we were at least promised that come January we would have much needed reinforcements to the squad brought in - and how they were needed with City firing blanks in eight out of our last eleven matches! That statistic illustrates perfectly how much we could do with new strikers at the club and when Steve Thompson picked up the booking on New Years Day that meant he would miss today's match, it became in my book an absolute necessity.

Still, there was no need to panic, we had twelve days before we next played in the league and “in the know” posters on here were forever assuring us that it was only a matter of time before the new striker(s) would be arriving - trouble is they haven‘t yet and now it looks as if we could go into what, for me, is our most important match of the season so far with a strike force comprising of someone who has scored once in his last twelve games and, if some had their way, our third choice centre back!.

I know it's easy for me to say now, but, surely, once it was known that Thompson was not going to be available, bringing in a new partner for Michael Chopra today should have been an absolute priority for City (especially when you consider that possible replacement Paul Parry was out injured) - it's not as if Thompson picked up an injury in training yesterday, City have had twelve days to sort something out and you would have thought that they would have had a short term loan deal set up to tide them over if their efforts to bring in someone permanently didn't succeed.

People may be reading this thinking he has forgotten all about Peter Whittingham, but I haven't - in fact the Whittingham signing just increases the annoyance I feel at our lack of striking options today. If we hadn't have signed Whittingham, I would have accepted that those on here who claimed that we were unable to do anything in the transfer market until after Monday's meeting may have had a point, but the fact we have been able to spend money on a player proves that this isn't the case.

Maybe I am jumping the gun here - apparently, we have until midday to bring in someone on loan who could play today, and, even if we don't, perhaps our non scoring team will find the goals that have largely eluded them for weeks anyway? If they do though, it will be more through luck than judgment because the words barn door, cows arse and banjo keep on springing into my mind for some reason when I think of how we have been finishing lately!

I expect us to go into today's match with a strike paring of Chopra and Campbell (although the more I think of Kevin Campbell's contribution this season, the more I reckon that those advocating Roger Johnson's cause may have a point!) and I genuinely hope that it will be good enough to see off Sarfend today, but even if that happens, it doesn't change the fact that City deserve no credit whatsoever for the way they have pursued a striker in the last twelve days.

So who is to blame for this situation? Well, apparently, what happens at the club is that Dave Jones identifies the players he wants and then leaves it with Peter Ridsdale to go out and get them, so, on the face of it, it would seem that Mr Ridsdale is the main culprit.

Now I don't want to be too critical of Peter Ridsdale and the new regime at this early stage of their stewardship of the club and I do appreciate that it is not really fair to come to any firm conclusions about them until some time after the dust settles following Monday's EGM. However, in saying that, Mr Ridsdale has been talking a lot in the Echo over the past two days about what will happen in the long term at the club under his leadership and yet it would seem to me that he has, largely, failed to deliver the goods in the short term - maybe you think I am being too harsh, but, for me, the early weeks of the Ridsdale era have been a big let down.