North Stander: Hurst’s revolution will take time, so don’t panic!
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“Don’t panic!” Corporal Jones’ catchphrase from Dad’s Army came to mind as Town fans reacted to Saturday’s last-minute defeat at Rotherham, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.
One or two true Blue supporters seem to have got the collywobbles already, just two games into the Paul Hurst era.
Yes, it was gut-wrenchingly disappointing to lose to Rotherham – who are already seemingly nailed on as relegation certainties – especially after being the better team for most of the match.
It was especially annoying to realise we are still afflicted by two weaknesses from the McCarthy days - conceding late goals and being unable to deal with set-pieces.
But let’s get real here. We have played two games. Look at the line-up on Saturday. Six of the starters were new signings, and another three came off the bench. This is not going to happen overnight. At the moment, we have a team of strangers.
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I must admit that, like many Blues fans, I’m struggling to keep pace with Hurricane Hurst. After years of “steady as you go” under McCarthy, the comings and goings have been happening at breakneck speed.
So, let’s not have any Corporal Jones-style panics. We will all have to be patient as the new players settle in, and Hurst learns his most effective line-up.
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Of course it’s a gamble. None of the new boys have any experience to speak of at this level. Some of them will fly, while others will struggle to make the grade. Time will tell. It will take weeks, maybe even months, for the whole thing to settle down.
One thing has become crystal clear – Hurst was not overly impressed with what he inherited from McCarthy. Some of his public comments in pre-season suggested as much, and his actions have spoken even louder than his words.
I think most of us would agree with him. McCarthy’s squad was good enough to stay in the middle of the Championship, but was realistically never going to challenge for promotion.
This is what’s so exciting about Hurst’s revolution. The squad is now an unknown quantity. Yes, it’s a gamble. It could end in tears, and the doom-mongers who are already talking about relegation might ultimately be proved right.
But, on the other hand, the new blend could work brilliantly. At least we now have hope. Under McCarthy, we knew exactly what we were going to get. Turgid football, and no chance of anything changing. Mr. Stubborn was never going to gamble, so we were simply stuck. How boring was that?
Now we can at least dare to dream, and surely that’s what being a football fan is all about.
There will be some disappointments on the way - Saturday certainly falls into that category. But the hope which Hurricane Hurst has brought is so much better than the dull, ultra-safe McCarthy method. So, I repeat – “Don’t panic!”
A big week lies ahead, and we will learn more about our new manager. One of the most frustrating aspects of Mick McCarthy’s time at Portman Road was his abysmal cup record.
Year after year, Town would exit both domestic cups early, often at the hands of lower league opposition. The utter humiliation of Lincoln still hurts.
Then, we would watch enviously as other teams from outside the Premier League progressed to the glamour stages of the cups, providing excitement for their fans and boosting the club’s coffers at the same time.
Well, it’s League Cup week, so we’ll soon know all about Paul Hurst’s attitude to cup competitions.
I know the cups aren’t our top priority, but I really want to see a strong side turn out at Exeter. Please let’s not have yet another one of those oh-so limp exits by a team full of kids.
It’s so frustrating to see part of the season shrivel up and die before we’re even halfway through August.
One more thing - surely winning is a good habit, isn’t it? Winning games, and scoring goals, must boost confidence. How about it, Mr. Hurst?