Preston North End -v- Wednesday Post Match Ramble

Preston North End -v- Wednesday Post Match Ramble

Having had quite a few personal problems recently not least of which my poor old mum is finally having to give in to the bastard that is cancer, I find myself in need of these breaks from the harsh realities of life more than ever now, just for a bit of light amidst the darkness….even so the sadness wouldn’t let anything in as I went to pick up the Young Un.

I’d gone overboard on preparation for this too.

I had packed a bag full of everything I knew the Young Un would like.

Goody Bag

Survival kit

All the sweets from Haribo, chocolate, pop, crisps and I even made up some sarnies as I knew she wouldn’t have had anything to eat but would be hungry on the drive to Deepdale. I even went to the extra length of adding ketchup to hers just to avoid the inevitable ‘DAD!! You haven’t put any sauce on!! YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL!’ conversation.

As always she’s full of the joys…I say ‘always’ in the loosest sense of the word and basically meaning ‘rarely’…she is sat outside her house waiting for me and bounds into the car full of energy…

NEW SEASON DAAAAR!

I try to put a stop to that with my gloom cloud set to max.

DAAAAR! DAAAAR! WOOOO! NEW SEASON!

WOOOOO!

She sees the gloom cloud and immediately sets about trying to disperse it

#Weeeeednesday…ya got me wonderin’ Weeeeednesday…

Singing as loud as ya like and excited chat about starting a video blog about this season incorporating all our games, how she doesn’t like Forestieri,  about how well she thinks we will do, how much she doesn’t like Forestieri, do I think we’ll win today? How she REALLY doesn’t like Forestieri, how I’m the best dad in the world because I made sandwiches AND sauced them….oh and JUST HOW BAD IS Forestieri?

Eventually she grinds me down and I crack a smile and it’s really difficult not to with her…why is it that kids can never leave you alone in ya misery? Chuffers!

I have a newer more reliable satnav these days but it also avoids the traffic jams, crazy I know, a car that’s paranoid about being in traffic and near other cars, it’s the end of days people, I’m telling ya now.

Anyroad up, It wants to take us off the motorway and through the towns but I ignore it and carry on…again it pipes up, ‘EXIT THE HIGHWAY’ a little more testiness in her voice now….I ignore her again…a few yards further on and the brake lights start to come on of cars in front…BOLLOX!

I move over to the inside lane and I swear I hear the satnav mutter under it’s breath ‘Oh, ya chuffin listening to me now are ya?’

We come off the motorway and to be fair, the drive is much more pleasant through the wonderful English countryside and the Young Un had set her gawking to MAX!

‘Look at that’ ‘Look Dad, look’ Dad, Dad, Look Dad’ It felt like I’d stepped into a Janet and John book. If she suddenly said ‘See John Run. Run  John Run’ She was being pushed out of the car.

Stunning

She was loving the countryside though…wonderful sweeping vistas everywhere…hills and mountains and trees and glorious little houses and farms tucked out of the way…so much better than motorway driving.

She reminded me of a dog sat at the car window seeing other dogs and overly excited to look at them all…again, I couldn’t help but smile…she was 8yo again right then and there…

‘I like this stuff’ she says… ‘It’s reyt good intit?’

Aye it is…and so are you ya chuffer.

Because the satnav had taken us a different route to normal we came at the Deepdale from a different angle…anyone that’s ever read one of my rambles before knows I’ve never really had a regular route to grounds anyway and I include Hillsborough in that but all of this was new and strange and I was totally disorientated…again, nothing new there…

Eventually the Young Un shouts ‘IT’S THERE. I CAN SEE IT’ just like she used to do as a little kid when we went to the seaside and were on sea spotting duties…I almost expected her to ask for 10p for being the first to spot it.

As we drove between the houses it appeared down the end of each street…

Peekaboo

SEEN IT AGAIN.

SEEN IT

SEEN IT

SEEN…IT

Before your knew it we were out front of the ground and I had my bearings back and knew exactly where we needed to park…the road that runs alongside the park opposite the ground….we slowly make our way there and find it full and cars turning round at the top with great difficulty. Instead of doing the same and making our way back out I pull over between the trees and onto the grass.

That’ll do me. (Whilst thinking to myself ‘hope I don’t get a ticket’)

We make our way through this beautiful park towards the ground and the Young Un says ‘I like this ground, a lot’

I know what she means, there is a lot to like about it and we both said the same thing that we wished the Football Museum was still here.

The park, the front of the ground, the statue and the whole vibe outside the ground make it a pleasurable place to visit and as the Young Un later pointed out ‘I like it when grounds are on roads that have their name in them, like this one’ ‘Deepdale Road’

After a few photos we make our way round to the Bill Shankley kop which is the away end and find our seats…a bit high up for our liking…we are used to row 3 at home games and this was row 4…we steadied ourselves for the hike to row 4 and adjusted to the extra height.

With the sun shining on a stunning looking playing surface, decent ground, great company and Wednesday fans in good voice…

That moment…

Perfect.

We just need a good performance to round the day off….

I still love that first moment of the season when the players walk onto the pitch…doesn’t matter where it is, who we are playing, how good we are or them and it doesn’t matter what our expectations are…at that moment when the team walks onto the pitch for the first time of any season and the fans of both sides are chanting and cheering…anything is possible, absolutely anything…

THE MATCH

The noise at the start was incredible, as it always is…not up there with other great away days on opening day, Derby springs to mind….but loud enough…however it was put to bed pretty sharply as it became clear very early on that Wednesday were not at the races…or maybe they were and that was the problem…

The noise wasn’t tucked away because we were being outplayed…it wasn’t tucked away because we were outsung…it wasn’t put away because because we were outbattled…

It was put away because the players weren’t playing to their abilities…because they looked as though they wanted to be anywhere but here…it was put away because the decisions they made were piss poor…it was put away because there was no energy and even less spark…it was put away because whenever there was a 50/50 ball, a loose ball, a short pass, of which there were many, our players were not only second to the ball but often didn’t look like they wanted to get there at all.

This Preston side is not a good football side…they’re not even a good Preston side and we’ve seen some crackers over the years but they beat us today not because they outskilled us….not because they outflaired us but because they are a TEAM…..they play for each other…and right from the off we were anything but a team.

Whilst I don’t like them or their behaviour, you can see how together they are and it makes our own lack of togetherness stand out even more. They don’t have a stand out player, they will never stand out against a good football side when it comes to skill but they will always stand out as a team. As a set of players all in the same fight and looking out for each other and I didn’tsee that in Wednesday.

One man team?

Our midfield is always lightweight without Kieran Lee but we can’t be a one man team surely?
All across the midfield today we were poor. Bannan was the best of a poor bunch but still not good enough and we were so short on ideas it was scary. Our decision making was even worse.

We would lob the ball aimlessly forward for their defence or keeper to amble over and collect. When we got a throw in no one showed for it and we threw to a player marked by three other players. THAT was our best option? Really? Our players sauntered and swaggered around at times like the simply had to turn up to get a result and some of think they are better than they are.

No one embodies  that  more than Forestieri who is a shining beacon of all that is wrong with Wednesday at the moment and also underlines how blinkered we as fans are that we would rather have him  on the pitch than pretty much any other player. Fans will say ‘but he can change a game’. How many times doe she do that compared to how many he lets us down?

I saw Hutch make a tackle around the 40 minute mark and I turned to the Young Un and said ‘I forgot he was on the pitch’
How many times has anyone ever said that about Hutch of all people?
Totally invisible and in a game that should have suited him down to the ground.

In the second half there was a short pass to Hutch. It was all over his ball as he casually waited for the ball to arrive…a step forward and he gets it comfortably and sends us into a great attack…instead it’s easily intercepted by a more eager Preston player and they are away on the break instead of us being just outside their box with the bases loaded we are on the back foot from our own sloppy play…worse than sloppy, LAZY play.

Invisible players

He wasn’t alone to be fair to him…the entire midfield were beyond lacklustre, that would do lacklustre a great disservice…they may as well not have been playing and the only players to come out of this with any credit at all…though far from mistake free were the defence, especially the full backs who were working their nadds off with very little help from other quarters, either going forward or in defence.

The game was screaming our for subs…and it was screaming for those who could change the game…Hoops and Wallace top of that list and stick Fletch on too for that matter….let’s have a go….at least let’s have a go at them and if we are going to lob balls into their defence give us a chance of reaching them.

Until Hooper and Wallace came on I cannot remember many…in fact ANY moment of real urgency or a time where my pulse quickened and I thought ‘THIS IS IT!’

Just to underline the point, eventually Carlos DID bring Hooper and Wallace on and with virstually their first touches they created the only glimmer of vision we had.

Hooper with a sublime overhead pass into the box that went begging and Wallace taking a free kick that whizzed just over the bar.

90 minutes of play and 2 players taking a small part in it create our only real moments of excitement. What a state of affairs

Jordan Rhodes was one of the players taken off and there were loads of them that  should have gone before him…Forestieri for one…Boyd another…Hutch…Reach…any of them. All invisible and lightweight

I’ll tell you something else for free as well…no, no…put ya money away, this is free.

Big goal

I love Nuhiu, I’m not one of his haters but if Winnall isn’t deserving of a place on the bench ahead of him, especially in a game like this then what the chuff are we paying him for?

 

Just to make sure Barnsley don’t have a striker? He would have loved this game. He would have created problems for the Preston defence, something we rarely did throughout the game but Winnall does one thing when things aren’t going right for the team, he works his chuffers off and makes sure the defence know he’s there. I don’t think Preston noticed many of our players in this game.

Make no mistake about this we weren’t robbed. Preston didn’t fluke this result just because they got a penalty. Whether folk disagree about whether it was a penalty or not it doesn’t hide the fact they deserved this result, certainly far more than we did a draw.

It was all so deflating for the Wednesday fans…there was a lot of muttering going on and rightly so.

We don’t have a great record at Deepdale but this Wednesday side have proven in the past they don’t care about long standing records and have blasted many out of the water and when we turn up in numbers on the opening day of an expectant season, in glorious sunshine with our hopes still wonderfully high, the least we can expect is that the team share those feelings, that they aren’t just here for the money and if they are to ever convince us of that this season they need to bury this performance very quickly

No change needed…yet

Where was the play this Carlos team started out with…the bright attacking zipping flare…passing the ball on the ground in short sharp triangles…players running and moving for each other…you watch this side now and it’s a distant memory.

Are we so blinkered and obsessed with getting to the premiership that we will accept play like this if it gets results? And what if it doesn’t? We shrug them off and keep our mouths shut because of the bigger picture?

 

I am in no way saying our season is over…I’m not saying get shut of the manager but we cannot be blinkered about this and if things need to change then so be it, WE are the only ones in this play with a long term vested interest, no one else and if it’s good the players and management will take all the accolades and we will all be gushing in our support and praise of them but when it’s not we MUST have the right to say so.

As we got back to the car we could hear a few gobby Preston fans chanting about not hearing the Wednesday sing which is rich really considering we hadn’t heard them all up to them scoring and straight afterwards too.

As we approached our car we noticed North Stand Man’s car in front of ours and it had taken a battering. I was hoping it hadn’t been over zealous fans causing the damage but after speaking to him it turned out someone had run into them on the way to the ground. Sometimes really poor footy isn’t the worst part of your day.

We waited for traffic to clear before making our way out and ignoring the satnav once on the motorway we made really good time, enough time in fact to visit me mam….and that DID make me happy. Happier than the Wednesday performance anyway.

Thoughts are also with long time Owls Alive supporter Andy (Wym Owl) and his wife who are also under the influence of the bastard cancer. Finger crossed Mrs Wym pulls through it all and they both come out smiling on the other side.

It will be interesting to say the least to see how the team and management respond to this perfomance, not the result, I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff about the result but the performance was everything here and the season isn’t going to get any easier.

Cheers
Steve:Beastie
TWITTER: @owlsalive @beastie_
EMAIL: admin@owlsalive.com

 


2 Comments

  1. Hi Beastie , Good to have you back .Best wishes to your Mum and Mrs Wym – we also know how awful the big C is .
    I took my ‘young ‘un ‘ to P N E – it was awful , absolutely awful .I dont think we’ve ever felt so flat on an opening day.As you say , they didn’t look interested and it does make you wonder if there’s something going off behind the scenes thats effecting the players .It can only get better -can’t it ?
    Great ramble as usual !

    • Lets hope so Alan…I had similar thoughts to you mate about stuff going on behind the scenes. It’ll all come out int he wash as they say

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