The Stearn Question

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If Stearn is to start against Weston who should he replace?

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Total Votes : 15

The Stearn Question

Post by BenE on Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:47 am

who should give way?
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Mark Tanner on Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:32 am

I went for Watkins, nothing against Watkins and can never see it happening but he is the like for like replacement for him really. The midfield four are starting to really gel and work well, which they need to without any wingers and Pratt or McCootie are more of a target man so unfortunately it'll have to be Watkins for me.

Keep the 'little and large' combo upfront with the diamond 4-4-2.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by stillmanjunior on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:22 am

Is it possible to 'foe' threads on this forum?

I'm not going on Friday so at least when he's probably on the bench away I won't have to cope with hundreds around complaining about it.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Palms on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:36 am

I thought everyone was bored of the conversation on here last week...
For what it's worth I'd like to see Pratt and McCootie played together, regularly and from the start, with Stearn and Watkins on the wings. Sadly I don't think our selection of midfielders are anywhere near strong or mobile enough to cope whatever the pairing. I miss Noah
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Mark Tanner on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:42 am

That would be great to see Palms, I fear you're right and we won't get to see it!
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Roman Mike on Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:14 pm

Where is the Addlesbury button?
Persistent under performer. Doesn't read a game. Doesn't anticipate and spends his time chasing shadows.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by stillmanjunior on Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:18 pm

Ben Adelsbury? Hasn't started the last two games anyway. I'd say "persistent under performer" is a touch harsh. Think last season he was ruined by injuries, and this season he's chipped in with a couple of goals. Think he'll find it difficult to push Chas out of the side though.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Roman Mike on Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:27 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:Ben Adelsbury? Hasn't started the last two games anyway. I'd say "persistent under performer" is a touch harsh. Think last season he was ruined by injuries, and this season he's chipped in with a couple of goals. Think he'll find it difficult to push Chas out of the side though.

You are proabably right with the "harsh" comment. However, I don't think I've ever seen him control / own or turn a game (or even an opponent). Maybe I missed it but I don't get that warm feeling when I see him going into a tackle or when I see his name on the team sheet which makes me glad he is on my team.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by BenE on Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:45 pm

Good shout Palms but as you say would be very light defensively.

In my opinion you can't just replace Pratt with Stearn. You would have to bring McCootie in as well. Which is what I would do in the present circumstances but with Pratt fit I'd drop Watkins I'm afraid simply because we need more goals.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:20 pm

The problem is that, while you can't replace Pratt with Stearn, you definitely can't replace Pratt with McCootie. You could replace Watkins with Stearn but that just makes us less effective. So you have to put Stearn on one side, Watkins on the other and either have an obviously injured Pratt or a out-of-depth McCootie upfront. It would have helped if the management hadn't signed one player who, as a striker, is a great defensive midfielder and another who, as a striker, is a great house-painter.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by yuffie on Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:55 pm

Hopefully after Hemmings was roundly slated but came good (albeit in a different roll), McCootie can repeat the trick. He has certainly shown glimpses that he can hack it at our level and was clearly highly rated whilst with Paulton.

He hasn't looked 100% fit or been given a run of games. Until both of those happen I am not going to start slagging him off. Though, in truth, even if he doesn't come good after that I won't as it's not in my nature to do that to City players. I also don't remember anyone criticising his signing but, naturally, as he hasn't set the world alight immediately it's another stick to beat the management with Rolling Eyes

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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:47 pm

Yuffie, as I showed on the other thread, he has been given a run of games and come nowhere near Stearn's effectiveness in the same period especially given the much lesser proportion of game-time the latter has had.

If he has picked up an injury since signing, nothing can be done about that (although if Hemmings had worked in his original role, that wouldn't be an issue). If however he was signed not 100% fit, then that is a management mistake.

Also, no-one is slagging McCootie off (unless he is lazy). We are just saying that he cannot cut it at this level presently but he is being given starts that a much better more effective more proven goal-scorer is being denied. We are however using him as a stick to beat the management with because it comes in the wake of the signing of Hemmings, the non-selection of Stearn and, more to the point, the poor results. They got out of jail with Hemmings' re-assignment and, fair play to them, if they thought of that but they still signed him as a striker.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Dusty Lynfield on Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:25 pm

I would go for Pratt. As I mentioned in the Crash thread, I feel he needs to be rested over the Christmas break to come back fresh in the New Year for the Wealdstone rematch and push on in the league. For all the talk of Stearn, Dave is our standout, consistent performer when fit.. I'd be interested in trying a Stearn / McCootie partnership up front, with Chas in the holding role, Artus, Allen and Watkins in midfield. Perhaps this wouldn't give us much width, but if that's required at times, Stearn could drop back to midfield with him and Watkins playing on the wings ins 4-5-1...just a thought.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:40 pm

I wouldn't disagree with much of that but it isn't going to happen. McCootie will replace Pratt in - what is seen by the management as - a like-for-like replacement, Stearn will come on as sub somewhere after 75 minutes of every match. Either that or they will play Pratt to death. There won't be anything more creative than that.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by yuffie on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:36 pm

“He is very effective either in the hole or a more advanced position and will do well for us, particularly if he adds a few goals to his game."

A quote from Britton when Hemmings signed, so it was clear they were aware of where he could play. So far he has started one game as a centre-forward - where we were 4-0 down after 30 minutes and he was substituted after 52 minutes - so while I won't be unhappy to never see him play there again he hardly had a chance to show how good or bad he is in that position. It should also be to Howells/Britton's credit that they used him in an even deeper role with further success.

I realise they will never be able to do anything right in your eyes - but to somehow twist what is turning out one of their best signings does push even that view a bit far. And even if McCootie wasn't 100% fit when he signed to label it as a 'mistake' just seems to be further stretching to criticise them. I don't recall too many supporters thinking this when he was leaving the pitch against Eastbourne after 65 minutes even if the injury had been one he was already carrying.

Going back to the topic of the line-up I like Dusty's 4-5-1 line-up with Stearn and Watkins on the wings, which would easily transfer to 4-3-3. Something like this.

Mellor
Simpson Ball Walsh Gallinagh
Stearn Artus Hemmings Kington/Allen Watkins
Pratt (McCootie)

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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:03 am

Hemmings isn't playing in the hole though, is he? He is playing in front of the back four most of the time. I agree that it must have been them that moved him back that far (after a game genuinely in the hole) and have given them credit for that. He may have only started one game as centre forward but he came on as sub striker enough and looked awful until he started moving back and peaked where he is now. Also, if Howells/Britton genuinely signed him as a utility player then why, after him failing as a striker and being moved back to midfield, why did they then go out and sign another in McCootie to replace him? Hemmings was fairly obviously signed as cover for Pratt that we didn't have and when it was obvious he couldn't fulfil that role, they had to find cover, hence McCootie. So no, not one of their best signings albeit they have managed to make the best of it.

Pointing to McCootie's excellent debut as a reason to still celebrate his signing over three month later is clutching at straws as much as saying he needs more than a run of 10 starts in 15 games to show some promise.

I take umbrage at any suggestion that I will slag off Britton/Howells regardless. I have geven them a lot of credit over the seasons that they have been in charge. Even in this thread, I have given them credit for Hemmings' repositioning. I gave them credit for the Rovers defeat. Indeed, although they made mistakes that got us relegated from Conference, I was fairly pro-them up until the Preece incident last season after a 3 game losing run which started bells ringing. Then the continuing ignorance of Stearn concerned me. However, new season, new signings, I was optimistic especially as the resigning of Stearn suggested they were going to be a more positive about him. However, it hasn't happened, has it?

Look, stats don't prove everything but they do back up the evidence before our eyes every week. We have lost 9 in 19 and only won 7. We have only once won twice in a row in the league. Our goals against isn't actually that bad but our goals scored is pretty woeful. We start Watkins all the time even though he isn't scoring (although he genuinely has more to his game). We start McCootie more often than not even though he isn't scoring. For the second season running, our second top scorer - even though he hardly gets any game time ...well, you know the answer to that.

Those stats actually just back up the performances that we have been seeing all season. You know, Basingstoke last season, even with the Preece thing, just looked like a blip. However, Concord, Basingstoke, Whitehawk, East Thurrock etc. this season are the signs of something else and it's this - Howells and Britton are a busted flush. Their team selections over the last couple of season have been dreadful, their tactics for the last three years have been patchy, their attacking signings since they signed Stearn, Watkins and Pratt just haven't worked (however you dress up the Hemmings move - as we still haven't proper cover for Pratt). The supporters (and, possibly, the players) still don't know who is in charge and their man-management has been awful.

The league position, the results, the performances and the stats all back up that they are a busted flush. Yes, I give them credit for Hemming repositioning. Yes, I give them credit for the Rovers win. I give them credit for signing Watkins, Stearn and Pratt and for the great football that on occasion we can play. This isn't even a reaction to the Wealdstone game which was the result of two individual mistakes.  This is a reaction to a long decline that has happening before our eyes which doesn't need stats to back it up even when they do.

If you think that McCootie is going to come good in a way that will excuse ignoring Stearn then fine but he and the management have 21 games to get us 42 points and 6 places just to get us just outside the play-offs where we were last year. That is quite a responsibility to put on McCootie's shoulders because I can't see how the management are going to change things around nor, indeed, whether they intend to.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Eddie Hitler on Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:13 am

Spot-on Marc
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by BenE on Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:35 pm

wow Marc you really got that off your chest.

I must admit I hadn't realised McCootie had started so many games. I find it difficult to reconcile his first performance with subsequent performances. He has gone from looking exactly what we needed to exactly what we don't. A bone idle striker who causes the opposition no problems. He must have it in him as we saw but why is he not showing it?

Having said this you cannot blame managers if someone is too lazy to use their talents.

We have had a succession of loan and triallist strikers at the club and none of them have been any good. You can't really blame the management for that either.

Where I would be critical is in their lack of experimentation with development squad players. Some of whom are worth a punt.

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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by stillmanjunior on Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:46 pm

Which ones and what is that based on?
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by BenE on Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:49 pm

only what I have seen of them in Somerset cup games.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:09 pm

BenE wrote:wow Marc you really got that off your chest.

I know but sorry, someone has to say it. It is the elephant in the room. We are playing anyone apart from one of our most effective players and second best goal scorer (given the same amount of starts as Pratt, maybe he would be our best). The comments from Howells and Britton suggest they don't fancy him. In which case, why did they resign him because he is still the same player and they are still treating him the same way and results are going nowhere.

I must admit I hadn't realised McCootie had started so many games. I find it difficult to reconcile his first performance with subsequent performances. He has gone from looking exactly what we needed to exactly what we don't. A bone idle striker who causes the opposition no problems. He must have it in him as we saw but why is he not showing it?

Having said this you cannot blame managers if someone is too lazy to use their talents.

I am loathe to call him lazy for a couple of reasons although there is evidence of it. I think that you can put some responsibility on managers. Firstly, it is up to the management to motivate players. I will give them credit for the Rovers game but, there again, it shouldn't have been hard to motivate any of the players for what could be our biggest game of the season. In saying that, McCootie was the only one there who had a terrible game. Secondly, if a player is lazy, don't play him and play someone who does work hard like, well, you know...

It may be that either McCootie has never had to work as hard as he does at this level, has never been coached to or isn't fit enough or injured. If it is one of the first three, then he needs to be coached and trained and, if it is the last, he needs to be rested.

We have had a succession of loan and triallist strikers at the club and none of them have been any good. You can't really blame the management for that either.

Yes, I wouldn't blame them for that either and that is the point of loans and trials but I am not sure that is relevant at the moment. They have permanently signed two strikers who are, for different reasons, nowhere near as good upfront as the three they signed at the start of last season.


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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:24 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:Which ones and what is that based on?

The one that springs to mind with me is Brad Norris who came through a couple of seasons ago. He got a couple of sub's appearances in some games and looked lively enough but, of course, was way off the pace of the game. I am not sure what went on there but he went to Odd Down where he did well and now is at Larkhall where he seems to be coming on as a sub and isn't scoring so freely. I am never sure with development players nor loan players as we really never see enough of them to tell and, as with McCootie, they can have a couple of great games which don't necessarily translate over a season. I do wonder, with young players like Norris, whether they should stay with the club longer and go out on loan to your Odd Downs and Larkhalls, keeping them in the City orbit but getting them game time.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by yuffie on Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:45 pm

I think with youth/academy players it is fairly clear from even brief appearances in pre-season friendlies/SPC games that they are capable of making the step up. Both Noah Keats and Dan Bowman looked comfortable at that standard from the word go. With Keats he appeared at the same time as Brad Norris and, to me, it was no surprise that one made it and one didn't. Though to be fair to Norris making the step up as a striker was always going to be a bigger ask.

I think it is revealing that no other player (as far as I know) that has appeared recently in the first team via the youth/academy has gone on to play any higher than the Southern League (most Western League). Going back a bit I can remember Yan Klukowski (Newport County) and Kane Ingram (Weston) starting with our youth team but they appear to be very much the exception.

I guess if we were a Southern League team then there would be a more realistic path to the first team. And with the current finances and possible future direction of the club ownership then we may see if this is true sooner rather than later.

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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by BenE on Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:15 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:I am loathe to call him lazy

I work with loads of talented people but the people who succeed are the ones that work hard. Too often talented people have never had to work hard because they have always been better than their peers and didn't have to put the effort in to stay ahead. At some point they reach a level where everyone else is as good as they are. That's when their application to the task makes the difference.

Some can't do it. I call it laziness. Others may call it laissez faire.

At the moment I am assuming McCootie is carrying an injury.
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Re: The Stearn Question

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:50 pm

Yes, that's a good point. Bowman, from the off, looked different class. I'd forgotten that Keats came from the Academy actually. It's interesting looking back at Keats and Norris. Keats started the season as a sub then had a couple of starts and then had a great game at Salisbury which cemented him in the side. Norris made a start as a sub but never quite made the same impression. As you say, it may have been because it is more difficult to be thrown on late as a striker but also he did make such an instant impact as Keats or certainly Bowman. The fact that he isn't doing as well at Larkhall as at Odd Down certainly suggests this.
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