Writer: Site Staff
Date:Sunday December 18 2005
How deceptive can football statistics be.
Foxestalk currently have a standing poll on whether manager Craig Levein should remain in his job or go.
As at 8.30 Saturday night:
* 18.18 per cent wanted him out..
* 20.45 per cent want to see after Christmas
* 27.27 per cent want to see at the end of the season
* 22.73 per cent want him to stay boss for a season or two
* 11.36 per cent couldn't give a damn.
Which says that only 61.36 per cent definitely want him to stay in the job beyond the end of the season.
The other 38.63 per cent want him only until the end of Christmas and then to consider whether his results record justifies his continuing.
It sounds like a tenuous hold on power - considering the latest 1-1 draw with Crewe which keeps City down among the dead men of the division.
But, only 44 had voted some of the rest indicating that the poll is nonsense anyway at this time especially as the manager has a long term contract, has signed most of his players on long term contracts and would probably cost the club a fortune should he be forced out.
However what the poll does indicate is that Levein's hugely positive economic effect on the club and his dramatic lowering of the average age of playing staff (and thus their potential sell-on value) does little to convince some fans that he should stay if results remain disappointing.
I myself asked the question of fans last August what they felt was the value of City's first team squad and the general response put the figure between £2.5 and £4 million.
Soon after that Connolly was sold for £2m plus another million if Wigan stay in the Premiership this season which now looks highly likely.
It follows then that, with some of that money reinvested in players like Hume, Gerrbrand, Hammond, Maybury, Hammill plus the scintillating form of Joey Gudjonsson and now, perhaps Stephen Hughes, the side is likely to be far more valuable than the summertime middle figure. A that is without counting anything for youth talent like Alan Sheehan, Richard Stearman, James Wesolowski etc.
Furthermore many of the first team squad are young and their values quite likely to increase.
The team might not be winning matches often enough but they are undoubtedly playing their best football of the season - as highlighted by the thrashing of promotion chasing Sheffield United.
January should bring another input of players, two or three more to strengthen the squad. So how tenuous is Levein's job really?
The answer probably lies in the number who have voted.
There were over 24,000 at the Crewe game. Forty four people bothered to vote in the poll.
My belief is that the rest will know it's going to be a long, hard road to restoring City's fortunes and assembling a Brave New (Young) Team for the Brave New World of Premiership football which everyone associated with the club hopes is on the horizon a couple of season's down the line.
Patience, for now, is going to be a very important virtue.
Date:Sunday December 18 2005
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