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"Going backwards"

Following on from the Treading Water thread where it has been stated that we are "going backwards", I thought I would look at this and try to challenge this narrative.

At a time when 'fake news' is having dire effects on our politics and our society, it's important that we, as a fanbase of a football club, try to steer clear of this. Fact will always be more important and more valid than opinion or feelings.

So what does it mean when a large section of our fanbase say we are "going backwards"? To me, it seems like this is a narrative that is gaining traction and is starting to be parroted by sections of our local press (morning Nev!). The problem I have with this narrative is that I'm looking at the facts and...I'm not seeing it. I'm not seeing a club that is going backwards, at least not when compared to our other seasons in the Premier League.

So first thing's first, I'm excluding the title winning season, for obvious reasons. It was a fluke, a miracle, and not something we are going to repeat again without massive investment. And because when you compare the present to THAT season, of course we're going backwards, and we always will! Even finishing 2nd would, factually, be 'going backwards'.

Secondly, I'm only looking at our Premier League seasons since promotion. You can't compare the Premier League to our seasons outside of the top flight because you're comparing two different animals. Every season outside of the top flight for a club that was geared around being a top flight club was, by default, a failure.

So if we look at the three full seasons we have had in the PL (apart from the title win), we see the following;

2014/15: We started the season well before going on a truly awful run that saw us 20th by Christmas, and a position we would remain in for 5 months until April. A fantastic end of the season, where we won 7 of the last 9 games, saw us eventually finish 14th and laid the foundations for what Claudio Ranieri would build upon to huge success the following season.

2016/17: Following those miraculous events, we lost arguably our most influential player, had a poor transfer window and started the season poorly, being around 15th/16th at Christmas/NY before a poor run led to Ranieri's dismissal. Under Shakespeare, and just like the 14/15 season, we went on a good run to pull us out of immediate danger. A poor end to the season, including a 6-1 defeat to Spurs, meant we eventually finished 12th.

2017/18: Another poor pre-season of recruitment (culminating in Faxgate) and another poor start to the season. Shakespeare was out of his depth and left us in 18th, before a win at Swansea took us clear of the bottom 3. We started well under Puel, rising in to the top half where we stayed for the majority of the season. A terrible end to the season meant we missed out on European football and eventually finished 9th.

2018/19: Now to the present season. One that can be best described as inconsistent. We started well, with 2 wins out of 3, followed by successive defeats, followed by successive wins, and so on. The tragic events of Vichai's death left a dark shadow over the club but that also coincided with a seven game unbeaten run, ended last night by Spurs. Our current position is 9th.

So, with all this being said, we see a club that has gone from 14th in it's first season, to 12th after the title win, to 9th last season, to 9th currently.

What's more, not only is this our best first half of a season other than the title win, this is in fact the only standard season so far where we have not, at one stage, been in the relegation zone. Apart from the periods where we got out of relegation trouble in 14/15 and 16/17, and the period immediately after Puel took over, this has been our most consistent season to date.

With all this being the case, I am still not seeing the "going backwards" narrative. Have we stalled? Yes, arguably. Are we achieving what we should be? Arguably not, as we could be higher in the league. But are we going backwards? No, not in my book. Because to be going backwards, it would mean that our results and league position are declining, which is not something that is currently backed up by facts.

If you're opinion is that our style of play is not as good as it has been, then that is an arguable point. I think we played poorly for long periods in each of the seasons that I have quoted. If you don't like Puel's tactics or substitutions, again that's a valid point. But to my mind, and unless someone can quantify what they mean by 'going backwards', I just can't go along with that theory.

posted on 9/12/18

Puel is no peter taylor and Maddison is no junior Lewis. I am disapointed with my mate Stringer because they are driving the agenda to waiting a few seconds to see if there was booing and then almost sounding disapointed when it happens.
Good post Foxy we have just come off a seven game unbeaten run without a sixty million quid player this season. Good recruitment for once this summer but no back up strikers,and managing the hardest thing in life change.
As for losing top players each season we have lost a star player and i expect Harry to go to Man utd in the summer. Until Chilwell can get the mistake out of his game he's around for a bit.

Puel will be given this season to get it to work no one needs another managerial change this season and stabiliy is what is needed.
There are some supporters who would may not say it out loud but would like to fall into the bottom three to get ri of the boring frenchman and we can see how tht worked out down south.

Finally nice to hear another voice on here to few post these days

posted on 9/12/18

comment by Merseysidefox (U4842)
posted 37 minutes ago
I have to disagree on the direction of the club BS. I still think we’re being run very well.

Yes we’ve got a couple of transfer windows badly wrong since the title win, but it was always going to be hard to deal with that situation.

All in all, I see us investing from the bottom up, holding on to our key players and investing in each window to improve. The owners did do under a amanger they felt could deliver the long term plan.

It’s the manager I have my reservations about.
Going backwards and being run well as a club can actually co-exist.

Financially for example the club is in fantastic health. It’s being run well. A new training facility, state of the art, is in development, an increase to the stadium and a global presence that far exceeds where we have been before. It’s not that aspect of the club I’m concerned with.

Claude Puel however didn’t appoint himself as manager. And neither did Shakespeare. Puel is t keeping himself in a job. The appointment of Macia as head of recruitment (which didn’t really work) wasn’t down to him.

The on the pitch progress is ultimately down to the owners decision making - and its been hit and miss of late. If the club does go backwards - from a footballing perspective, then it’s down to decisions at the top. I wouldn’t want any other owner of course - but the financial progress will be impacted if the footballing decisions are poor

posted on 9/12/18

‘There are some supporters who would may not say it out loud but would like to fall into the bottom three to get ri of the boring frenchman’

You have got to stop with this nonsense. No one wants bottom 3. If I had to choose right now I would go with Puel for the next 20 years if the alternative was getting relegated and hiring a new manager.

I do not want to see Puel sacked at any cost to the club. If he’s boring and gets us 6th place I would be delighted. I’d love to bore our way into Europe. Please stop making out that we want him sacked at any cost to the club, you’re far better than that

posted on 9/12/18

To discuss the analogy in the OP, I don't think we're "going backwards". I think we're going forwards into thicker fog and need to think about whether we really want to go this way.

As I've put elsewhere, our whole game plan seems to involve sitting back rather than showing some intensity - or at least showing periods of intensity like we did in the league-winning season. We don't (can't) press for a whole match but we can do at times - so called trigger points where everyone goes at once. And I see no evidence that Puel plans to change this. I don't believe that what we're seeing is a transition in terms of style. We might be in transition in terms of practising it and making it work effectively, but what we're seeing is an attempt at what we're aiming for. My concern is that it's outdated and that we're heading in the wrong direction even trying to make it work. After all, there's more than one way to play football with greater possession stats.

All that said, the helicopter accident has had a massive effect in many ways. One of those will be that the family will be trying to get to grips with clubs and businesses right now, with any number of vultures around in Thailand waiting to challenge King Power on the basis that all's fair in war and business. They will want as little upheaval as possible right now, so practically I can't see anything changing here until the summer unless we get dragged into a relegation scrap.

posted on 9/12/18

By the way - the title of my thread was treading water rather than “going backwards”. That said, ultimately, if our star players move on at the end of the season because they can’t see the progression then we will be on a slow decline in my opinion. That’s what I was trying to say

posted on 9/12/18

Where is the Treading Water Thread and the large part of the fanbase saying we are going backwards?

While I would more or less agree with that than not I don't think I've really ever seen that stated on here, maybe once?

I understand there's an Agenda at work here but seriously comparing this Season with our First back in the Premier League, where virtually the whole Club were Premier League Virgins against today's Seasoned Premier League Club is just a Joke and makes the OPs point virtually ridiculous.

Comparing this Season's favourable Fixture List with Shakeys first extremely tough 9-10 Games is also a laugh, how much better have we done in this Seasons comparable Fixtures?

We've lost to everyone we've played in the Top 7, we've drawn with the bottom 4 so far!

While games against the Top Clubs have seen us play better Football in general, there is a definite 'luck' about many of the points we've picked up, many Fans of Oppo teams such as Wolves, Watford, Fulham, Brighton etc will wonder how they didn't get all 3 points.

So are we going forwards or backwards, there's no fake news in the fact that now Foxello has brought it up we are going backwards, something he himself asserts when he says 'we have stalled', well if your not going forwards, your going backwards, there is no pause as life, Business and Football moves at a fast pace, it's so easy to get left behind, that stalled has now lasted nearly a Season.

Pule has recently stated we need European Football to keep our top Players, that just emphasizes his catastrophic error last season in changing our dynamic exciting Football that he created when he arrived utilising the players in their best form linked with good passing sequences to DULL Boring Possession Yesteryear Football.

He is our own Teresa May with Brexit issues, hardly anyone understands what he's trying to achieve, how he thinks he's going to do it and a growing majority think he'll fail yet he persists with his blinkered 'plan'.

We've seen what he can do, he just needs to use what he's got to their best abilities!

posted on 9/12/18

a friend of mine who is a Fulham season ticket holder said we were the worst side he has see at the cottage this season so far.

posted on 10/12/18

Backwards, treading water call it what you like but you all know there is only one way this will end

posted on 10/12/18

Every manager gets the chop eventually even Wenger but don't think is going to happen anytime soon.
The owners have backed Puel and will want to see what he can do and who we would bring in one of the losers on the English manager merry go round?

posted on 10/12/18

comment by Nevsaysagoal2city (U5194)
posted 8 minutes ago
Every manager gets the chop eventually even Wenger but don't think is going to happen anytime soon.
The owners have backed Puel and will want to see what he can do and who we would bring in one of the losers on the English manager merry go round?

You really don’t like English managers do you!

In terms of appointments we could look at;

Rafa Benitez - My preferred option and it’s a miracle he’s still at Newcastle. Miles better than Puel. Would he come though?

Eddie Howe - Far from being an English loser this guy is taking Bournemouth to where Leicester should be headed. There’s no chance of him leaving a club he loves so much however. It would be a sideways step right now

Marcelo Bielsa - Doing an amazing job at Leeds - the father of the Pochettino style of intense pressing football. Would absolutely love to get him

I agree there aren’t loads of great English managers right now but they aren’t as bad as people make out. They are just given less of a chance

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