Date: 12th October 2010 at 8:15pm
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The obligatory ‘You`re Fired!` returned to our screens this Wednesday as Alan Sugar embarks on finding another Apprentice, but it could have been Mark Lawn pointing the finger on Saturday if defeat had ensued at Barnet. As the season approaches the quarter way mark, you would have had to have been in hibernation to have not noticed the discontent within City ranks. Rumours of splits between manager and chairman, players and manager and certainly splits between fans and manager have all added to what has been an undoubtedly miserable start to what promised to be a good campaign.

Pre season favourites, non league gems a year wiser, a proven manager and arguably the best passer of the ball outside the top two flights. City had it all. It is easy to understand the frustration, anger and apathy currently being directed at City.

Yet I don`t find myself as apocalyptically angry as some City fans seem to be. While I accept (I`d be a fool not to!) we have seen some horrendous football this season, and some extremely baffling decisions (Moult off, Oliver remaining on at home to Morecambe?), the season is far from over. Despite having only won 3 out of the first 11 games, City sit just 6 points off the play offs. With the team sat in 7th to come on Saturday.

Today saw Peter Taylor come out in the press asking for clarification of his role. The same Peter Taylor who 2 months ago was worth signing after a 3 month trial. The same Peter Taylor who guided City to 7 games unbeaten in last season`s run in -taking notable scalps against playoff teams – Rotherham, Morecambe, Northampton and Aldershot. The same Peter Taylor who, along with Neil Warnock, has the best record for promotions in English management.

Without wanting to sound delusional and without wanting to have blind faith, Taylor was good enough in the summer and he is good enough now. Many would disagree though, and it is difficult to dispute their point. Taylor got the new pitch he wanted. Taylor got (but then lost) his training facilities. Taylor had his pre season jolly in Essex. So far Taylor has asked and Taylor has received. This is the root of many City fans anger. Many recent managers have had far less backing and performed admirably, particularly Colin Todd at the beginning of his reign. Taylor has had that backing and is flattering to deceive.

As the Stuart McCall debate is well and truly over now, I don`t particularly want to go over old ground, but 3 years ago, at a similar point in the season, City lost 5 in a row and dropped perilously close to where they lay now. That night in Morecambe when Garry Thompson gave us the run-around was depressing. Yet rumblings of discontent were far harder to come by. To be fair, the respective managers are at comparatively different points in their career, but McCall was granted another 2 and a bit years after that, and it is that time which Taylor needs to be afforded – maybe not 2 and a half years, but certainly another 2 months. McCall, who was far less experienced and far less pragmatic than Taylor is, managed to turn that season around to a respectable 10th place finish. And that run was just as bad as City have been through recently. In 2 months City could quite easily be well placed in the playoffs. And while we`ve all been extremely disappointed so far, there have been signs that City are not a bad team. Remember beating Forest? Remember going all the way against Preston? Remember going to Rotherham and coming back with a point, which should have been 3, and not knowing which of the teams was 3rd and which of the teams was 3rd bottom. And by all accounts City never looked like losing in a comfortable win at Barnet.

The team is there; McLaughlin, Ramsden, Duff, Williams, O`Brien, Daley, Doherty, Flynn, Hendrie, Hanson & Speight. That team is more than good enough to get into the play offs. It is just a matter of getting consistently good performances out of them. And nurturing some back to fitness!

The silence from both Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes does nothing to help the situation. While Taylor may not be in a position to issue ultimatums in a back me or sack me kind of way, the uncertainty which developed over the weekend cannot be conducive to good team performances. If players are running onto the pitch, uncertain if the manager is there for the long run, it will undoubtedly have unsettling effects. And there is usually no smoke without fire. The Barnet win may just be a stay of execution, but the board need to present a face of solidarity to allow Taylor to concentrate on his job and get the best out of his players – which is ultimately what we all want.