Date: 29th May 2006 at 8:37pm
Written by:

Site member ‘francis4356’ is the first to provide us with answers to our final Fan Interview of the season. Expect more entries soon!

1. So we lost in the play-off final this season, how has this season rated with others in recent memory? Could you call it a success considering where we were just a few years ago?

An undoubted success – quality of football, 2 cups, play off final. I believe we have a stronger playing staff and a more stable club than we had for the previous 2 promotions.

2. Some fans have criticised Jackett throughout the season (mostly post Christmas time). Can you understand some fans frustration or is criticism harsh and undeserved?

The criticism reflects the extent to which our expectations have risen following the teams performances. Our dip in form coincided with crucial injuries and integration of loanees and new signings. I think criticism of KJ is harsh.

3. We showed at the start of the season that we had a squad good enough to go up automatically but we ended up finishing 6th, what areas of the squad do you think needs to be strengthened in order to gain automatic promotion next season?

Priorities would be Centre back, defensive coach and goalkeeper.

Centre back is the glaring area for strengthening even if Izzy comes back fit and in form. Certainly 1 or perhaps 2 signings in this position. We also need to bring in a defensive coach as our set piece and broken play defensive set ups are woeful. I’d love a skilful ball playing centre midfielder as well to succeed Martinez, and competition at right back, wide left and wide right. To back it up, a goalkeeper good enough to take the number 1 spot.

4. On the flip side then, who do you think we should release this summer and why?

Austin and Forbes should be thanked for their services and moved out to a league 2 club along with Monk who isn’t good enough to hold his place in the starting 11 if Izzy and Watt are fit. Martinez best playing days are behind him but he should not be lost to us so integrate him into the club coaching structure and PR team. Either Gueret or Murphy or both should go depending on whether we get 1 or 2 new keepers.

5. What have been your best moments of the 2005/06 season?

Firstly beating the Wurzels 7-1. Not because it was BCFC but for the quality of our football. Like many other teams in league 1 in the early days, the opposition thought they only had to turn up to beat us.

Secondly as most ill-informed ‘pundits’ had us down for relegation before a ball was kicked, our continued presence in the top 6 of the div for almost all of the season.

Thirdly we did actually win 2 cups, and we reached and certainly played the best football in the play-off final, and all that gives me a big lift

6. Some fans have said that we’d be better prepared going into the Championship the season after next as to going up this year? What are your views on this?

The teams that go on to achieve the most and play at a higher standard for longer, have a mental toughness and resilience that usually comes from experiencing pain.

Most of our players have not had that experience until now, and I would hope that they would not want to experience it again. Too often this season we’ve taken a lead and then failed to stretch it or defend it, even smiling as we’ve missed our opportunities before being brought back to earth.

If we believed we were too good, we then failed to do enough to ensure we were good enough. I am expecting a greater ruthlessness, professionalism and determination next season.

7. Who in your opinion was Kenny Jackett’s best and most important signing of the season?

OTJ and Fallon are probably the best signings but for different reasons. KJ could not have expected a young and inexperienced lad to have made a starting place his own and exhibit such potential to play at a higher level. Fallon on the other hand was a ‘now’ signing who has become the No 9 we need to lead from the front.

8. What do you think was the reason for our decline and significant drop in form at the turn of the year? Did Jackett’s January signing’s affect our rhythym and consistency of our starting team and style or was it something else?

Firstly injuries – I believe that losing Izzy then Watt, and KOL and OTJ for a long period knocked a hole in the centre of our team that we never really recovered from. The January signings became necessary starters when they should have been going through an acclimatization.

Secondly – KJ must take some of the blame for not preparing for the 2nd half of the season. For the first half fixtures we were the surprise package playing good football and scoring at will. For the return fixtures many teams would have had their agendas set by then (mid table, avoid defeat, relegation, promotion, etc) and looking at our position, set out their tactics as necessary to frustrate us or steal a few point or three.
Injuries restricted us and we did not adapt as well as we should have.

Thirdly – Players you look to for inspiration and leadership failed to deliver – Our key man Trundle looks to have taken his eye off the ball to fish for a transfer to the toffees, become a TV star and design his own clobber. Macca thought he’d done enough and stopped working. Monk should have rallied the side but struggled to justify his own selection and lead/organize the defence around him. Willy just did half a job, and Roberto, our captain, did not have his manager’s confidence for some reason.

9. It was quite a surprise to see doing well right from the start, what was your prediction for this season and did you believe we’d maintain our form to go up or did you think we’d begin to drop down the table slightly like we did?

I’ve watched quite a lot of league 1 and 2 football over recent years, and after last year I knew we were good enough for mid table. Then we strengthened the side and I thought we would surprise a few. In the first few weeks of the season I saw a few games played by some of the favourites for promotion and I knew then that the playoffs were realistic, and I began to dream of promotion. By December I thought we had enough about us to maintain the promotion dream but then came the injuries and the no-win streak that we couldn’t really break out of.

10. Who did you vote as your player of the season and why?

Leon Britton was my Player of the Season. His commitment in training and playing is an example of his top professionalism. On the field he works hard going up and down, picking up Willy’s throw outs he starts many of our attacking moves rarely losing the ball or missing a pass.

He supports the midfield and our attacks and has enough left to cover his full back and track back. As effective off the ball as he is on – always working never hiding – doing a job for the team. He is skilful and has performed at a highly consistent level.

11. I have mixed feelings about next season, I think we can bounce back and gain automatic promotion but another side of me believes we won’t even manage to get into the play-offs, what are your views on this?

Make no mistake; the teams of league 1 will be ready for us next season so we will have to work much harder. We need to acquire a mental toughness and a defensive discipline to grind out results on the days when the quality of our football is not enough. This must be allied to patience if we are not to play football for 60 mins and then start banging long balls at Fallon’s throat or for Leon Knight to chase.

On the positive side we have a very capable squad and I hope Huw Jenkins and KJ can identify and sign perhaps 3 players who will make the difference. Teams will be looking to their fixtures with us next season and using the game as a measure of how good THEY are.

Thanks to francis4356 for his answers.