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 Underachieving
Topic Originator: Never10yairds  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:02

Considering we have a bigger fanbase than some premier clubs and the vast majority of our championship rivals over the last few seasons, how have we sunk so low? I feel we need to analyse this to try and arrest the decline.

Are enough of the funds coming into the club making it to the playing budget?

Is it simply a matter of recruiting poor managers?

Are managers being in some way hampered? Are they given free reign to sign players? Are they told to play a certain style of football?

In my opinion it has been down to poor management but I’m starting to wonder if their might be more to it. There must be some introspection from those in charge at the club and corrections must be made to stop the rot. We can’t keep making excuses and blaming bad luck. Progress must be made. Failure should no longer be so readily tolerated at this club. Expectations need to start being met. Considering the numbers that turn up, the money the fans put in, they deserve so much better.

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: JamesAndrew74  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:11

Quote:

Never10yairds, Tue 10 May 21:02

Considering we have a bigger fanbase than some premier clubs and the vast majority of our championship rivals over the last few seasons, how have we sunk so low? I feel we need to analyse this to try and arrest the decline.

Are enough of the funds coming into the club making it to the playing budget?

Is it simply a matter of recruiting poor managers?

Are managers being in some way hampered? Are they given free reign to sign players? Are they told to play a certain style of football?

In my opinion it has been down to poor management but I’m starting to wonder if their might be more to it. There must be some introspection from those in charge at the club and corrections must be made to stop the rot. We can’t keep making excuses and blaming bad luck. Progress must be made. Failure should no longer be so readily tolerated at this club. Expectations need to start being met. Considering the numbers that turn up, the money the fans put in, they deserve so much better.


The numbers that turn up doesn’t make a huge difference, every club that’s over achieved (excluding Livingston) have been financed by an owner to the tune of millions more then we generate. We turnover around £2 million PA which is poor.
Dundee, Dundee Utd, Ross County, Hibs, Hearts, St Mirren all won the championship by spending funds generated not by supporters or crowds but realistically by someone writing a cheque.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Never10yairds  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:15

Is this true of all the clubs that finished above us in the championship last year? Do they all have sugar daddies that allowed them to outspend us?

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: JamesAndrew74  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:22

Quote:

Never10yairds, Tue 10 May 21:15

Is this true of all the clubs that finished above us in the championship last year? Do they all have sugar daddies that allowed them to outspend us?


Granted we had a poor season but we finished 12 points outside the playoffs and marginally behind 3 other teams. Yes we were poor with the start we had but we weren’t cut adrift. My point stands…each club that’s won the championship (inc Killie) have a sugar daddy to outspend all others. Our budget was wasted pre season by PG
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Never10yairds  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:30

If that is true, we need to move away from our current model and find a wealthy generous local owner.

I’d note that Arbroath were 15 minutes from winning the title and have a fraction of our turnover.

I’m not asking that we romp the championship, but surely we could be competitive instead of relegated?

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: JamesAndrew74  
Date:   Tue 10 May 21:37

Quote:

Never10yairds, Tue 10 May 21:30

If that is true, we need to move away from our current model and find a wealthy generous local owner.

I’d note that Arbroath were 15 minutes from winning the title and have a fraction of our turnover.

I’m not asking that we romp the championship, but surely we could be competitive instead of relegated?


Agreed but they didn’t win it. We’ve needed a wealthy owner for years as it’s the only way things work, facts prove that
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Muppet Par  
Date:   Wed 11 May 19:39

It’s down to Ross Mcarthur and the board who has failed miserably to bring this club forward. Failure after failure, outstayed his welcome by about 5 years. Whole club rotten to the core

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: JamesAndrew74  
Date:   Wed 11 May 20:21

Quote:

Muppet Par, Wed 11 May 19:39

It’s down to Ross Mcarthur and the board who has failed miserably to bring this club forward. Failure after failure, outstayed his welcome by about 5 years. Whole club rotten to the core


At least your names correct
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: AbuBarrie  
Date:   Wed 11 May 20:54

Leishman still kicking about I see...why?

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Muppet Par  
Date:   Wed 11 May 20:59

Original James 👍

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Tenruh  
Date:   Wed 11 May 21:07

Quote:

AbuBarrie, Wed 11 May 20:54

Leishman still kicking about I see...why?


Go tell me why not ?
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Tenruh  
Date:   Wed 11 May 21:10

Quote:

Never10yairds, Tue 10 May 21:30

If that is true, we need to move away from our current model and find a wealthy generous local owner.

I’d note that Arbroath were 15 minutes from winning the title and have a fraction of our turnover.

I’m not asking that we romp the championship, but surely we could be competitive instead of relegated?


How about asking Gavin Masterton to return
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Wed 11 May 22:29

Quote:

Tenruh, Wed 11 May 21:07

Quote:

AbuBarrie, Wed 11 May 20:54

Leishman still kicking about I see...why?


Go tell me why not ?


Interested in this too. It sounds like his role is more of an honorary one.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: eastendalloapar  
Date:   Thu 12 May 06:09

Personally I think that he will be an ambassador at hospitality, anyone who has been to hospitality will know what he does and how he tells everyone about a goal he once scored.

matt forsyth
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: RossF  
Date:   Thu 12 May 06:31

Sadly decisions from above have caused us to be where we are. Had we been lucky enough to bring in the right manager like St Mirren managed with Jack Ross we could be in the top league. That`s not a guarantee but none of our managers have been inspiring appointments since AJ in league one. I really thought Yogi would turn us around but he was unbelievably stubborn with his team selection and that got us relegated. I still can`t believe he didn`t bring Cole on to take that free kick against Queen`s Park.

Hopefully we can finally make it to the SPL one day. I`d love to see us back there competing at some point in the near future. Fingers crossed our new chairman/CEO can get us there.

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: DunPar  
Date:   Thu 12 May 07:30

Agree with all points made. But I don’t know how much money was pumped into Arbroath - it’s difficult to believe they got so much more money than DAFC to make the difference. But money does make a difference…….but it also comes down to good management. It’s not all about how much the salary bill is…….rangers are an example of that this season - Rangers salary bill was 20m v 100m for Dortmund……..

Stand down on leishman though. He’s a legend. We need to keep our legends. Imagine if none of them were around EEP ? When I were a lad, it was great coming to EE and my dad pointing out his heroes who were also in attendance - Alex Edwards being a regular…….we need Leishman as part of the identity of our club. 100%. Perhaps not in a decision making role but definitely as an ambassador of what we’re about. He’s Mr Dunfermline (fae Lochgelly) !!

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: DunPar  
Date:   Thu 12 May 07:38

But we ARE underachieving. That’s a given. We’re not achieving to attract sufficient investment and talent that our level of support and our facilities should be able to attract.

We all berate Masterton but……….

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Tenruh  
Date:   Thu 12 May 08:27

Quote:

DunPar, Thu 12 May 07:38

But we ARE underachieving. That’s a given. We’re not achieving to attract sufficient investment and talent that our level of support and our facilities should be able to attract.

We all berate Masterton but……….


After Masterton left we become a "Community Club" the type of club I would guess success would be more limited than a Big City or Sugar Daddy (Masterton) club . So I was prepared to accept we would be building foundations with a long term plan to hopefully get back into the top flight.
Now that the CC model has been abandoned we look like we are floundering big-time.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Thu 12 May 09:50

I think the key underachievement is that we are a big club in comparison to those around us. We have no debt, cash in the bank, better crowds than most of our rivals, and yet it often feels like we`re broke. Where`s the money going? Have we brokered poor deals in terms of sponsorship and catering agreements? Are we not making enough of the stadium? Is the stadium and issue given its separate from the club?

The new CEO has a solid background in developing clubs to maximise revenues so I`m hoping we see that.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: evo!  
Date:   Thu 12 May 10:54

Issues at club for underachieving - focusing mainly on our 6 year championship spell

Recruitment/development of partnerships

Every season pretty much in the last 6 years, we started with a midfield pairing that were out the picture by the end of the season.

Geggan / McCabe - Herron/Big Nat
Big Nat - Shiels - Vincent/Beadling
Beadling/Vincent - Ryan Blair + one of the others
Turner/Paton - Ethan Ross (this one to a lesser extent)
20/21 - Felt like we just never even had a consistant pairing, and Turner leaving didnt help
Pybus/Dorrans - Chalmers/Polworth (ok pybus stays in too but shape change)

So in other words we have started almost all the last 6 seasons with a poor midfield, or one that lost its way. This season through with a confidence shattered defence and about 10 centre backs playing different combinations over the season, you had the same problem with defence this year under Grant and Hughes

AJ and Grant/Hughes at some stage just signed poor players or players who didnt produce. Crawford didn`t have much any mistakes on this front.

Many other clubs may have similar issues of course, but we certainly do.


Youngsters we developed


Going back many years we havent been great at producing young players, the admin season being an exception. Todd, McCann and to a point Allan have established themselves this season, but none really striking me as players bigger clubs are going to be keeping an eye with a view to signing one day. Also while i think our fan base want the best for these players and will back them, I dont the fanbase really is massively excited about the abilities of the 3 of them. The best young player at the club that i think got fans genuinely excited in the last 6 seasons, was Callum Smith, when he exploded on the scene a few years back. Thats really it! And he lost his way with us and only had a good season this year to be honest since.

All this ties back into coaching for me. None of the managers ever felt in the last 6 years, for all the good stuff AJ and Crawford did do, like everything was working as it should. I`ve always said Crawford would make a good director of football, with a good eye for players and what the team needs.

Long term, the youngster issue will improve, but i would suspect for the next few years recruitment will be key, for money reasons, but they have to get it right in the summer months and not have tons of loans and january stuff to do. This will help..Who is the right person for it...i dont no, but not Yogi!

BEAST!
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Thu 12 May 12:43

Consistency is definitely an issue. Yet again we`ve relied pretty heavily on loans who will now return. The team needs to gel and be a team rather than a group of individuals thrown together.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: par-91  
Date:   Thu 12 May 13:53

Quote:

jake89, Thu 12 May 12:43

Consistency is definitely an issue. Yet again we`ve relied pretty heavily on loans who will now return. The team needs to gel and be a team rather than a group of individuals thrown together.


Agreed. I don’t mind having a few loan players, but our GK and both CBs were loan players for the last 12 or so games of the season. That’s not forward-thinking at all, although I understand things were desperate by the time they arrived. Likewise, Hughes seemed determined to be heavily reliant on Polworth - despite the fact he was on loan and useless.

When Hughes came in, we were also far too dependent on Connolly, who was only on loan and left in January. At the time, I was critical of this as it appeared to lead to Gaspuitis’ early departure. But there may have been other factors, I don’t know.

End of 20-21 season, we were very reliant on F Murray and Henderson as well, who were both on loan. It certainly seems to be a running theme.

I’d rather we tried to bring in guys permanently and helped them progress. This was the plan, but it doesn’t seem to have worked (other than Nisbet). We’ve seen many of them leave at the end of their first contract - Dom Thomas likely to be the next name on that list. We paid fees for E Murray, Kyle Turner and now Thomas (wasn’t that some of the Nisbet money?) who have all gone on to leave for free at the end of their 2 year deals. I’d like to see us try to find a way to get that strategy to work more effectively, rather than give up on it - as we seem to have done in the last 12 months.
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: da_no_1  
Date:   Thu 12 May 14:09

Loans are my bug bear.

They should compliment your existing squad - not form the basis of it.

On Saturday our first choice keeper, 2 centre halves & half the "midfield" are loans or short term deals - the spine of our team.

Just not good enough recruitment-wise

"Some days will stay a 1000 years, some pass like the flash of a spark"
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: parsfan97  
Date:   Thu 12 May 14:15

The reason our team was like that Saturday was because grants recruitment in the summer was absolutely shocking! Only pybus out of all of them has been a good signing

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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: Indiapar  
Date:   Thu 12 May 16:07

I think we have under performed for the last few years for the reasons given above. I also think it is about money in part. We have made some poor decisions in terms of signings and managers. I think PG was a knee jerk reaction to SC leaving so it was a difficult call at the time. These things are not always about individuals however its often a culmination of wrong decisions, circumstance anď a bit of bad luck. Personally I think that dropping down a division is a good thing for us. Next year had we stayed up we would be bouncing along the bottom of the league. Youth development is the way the club wants to go and dropping a division might be a bit more foregiving in terms of bringing in younger players to the 1st team. Its all about lining the ducks up and have a football system within the club that is purposeful in terms of its objectives. I feel over the last few seasons we have been fragmented and dissointed in that respect.

Post Edited (Thu 12 May 16:09)
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: McCaig`s Tower  
Date:   Thu 12 May 22:15

Have we under-achieved? A very good question (and one I’ve asked (and attempted to answer) before). Apologies for the long post(s)

There are various ways of looking at this.

Historically

Taking a long term look (and I’m defining this as 50 years) our average finishing position in what is now the SPFL set-up is approximately 16th, which equates to 4th in the championship. We finished 21st.

Approximately 2/3rds of the time we have finished within the range 8th to 24th (there’s some pseudo-statistical significance over me choosing these numbers) – so we have under-performed, but not hugely in a historical context, not that that lessens the pain. For example, in the old 10-14-14 set up 21st would have been disappointing, but not catastrophic. (Of course, it wasn’t possible to have finished lower than 22nd this season.)

In essence, I’m saying that on past evidence we are one of a number of clubs who might expect to be top half of the Championship more often than not with some seasons in the Premiership, and the odd season in Division 1.

Should past performance be a guide to the future? Well, things change.

There have been populations shifts – from industrialised areas to green belt, from towns to cities, from cities to new towns, or dormitory towns, from the Lowlands to the Highlands, perhaps. The pyramid is allowing new blood to flourish. Over time, the balance of power will shift. Where are Third Lanark these days? Clydebank? Berwick Rangers?

More significantly, there have been shifts in the distribution of wealth, with the richer clubs getting richer. This may mean that teams like Albion Rovers, East Fife or Cowdenbeath will never regain former glories (or will continue to underperform) and clubs like ICT, Ross County and Livi will continue “outperform” by my definition.

This leads to the concern that we may be “missing the boat” and thence to short term decision making.

Financially

A more relevant factor might be budget – I would imagine that performance is highly correlated with how much money a club has to spend. Fanbase will be one factor, sponsorship, prize-money, parachute payments, transfer fees, other income sources and of course, wealthy fans are others. Our budget would be bigger than most in the division - not sure about Partick or ICT – so I would be pretty sure we have underperformed there as well.

Is there a reason for this, or is just one of those things? After all, for every team that has a good year, there will likely be one having a bad one. Off the top of my head, Hibs, Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Dundee have had a bad season. So have Falkirk, Dumbarton, and maybe Stirling as well. Motherwell, Ross County, Arbroath, Cove and Queen’s Park have had good seasons. Often there are obvious reasons for this, sometimes it seems just down to luck.

1/n



Post Edited (Thu 12 May 22:16)
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: McCaig`s Tower  
Date:   Thu 12 May 22:17

(continued)

Perhaps there are structural reasons.

For example
• we have a big stadium; does the upkeep thereof take away from the playing budget? Does the corporate structure help or hinder in this regard?
• We have a CEO. Is that value for money?
• Is the experience of Administration still having an effect? Lack of access to capital must surely constrain decision making.(It seemed clear that the “community club” idea was not a long term solution, so I give credit to the BoD for moving on. Whether it was a necessary short term solution I don’t know).
• Maybe the BoD has a propensity for making the same error – for example in managerial appointments. (I’m not convinced by this as most appointments have garnered some support but it’s possible).
• Do we rely overly on loan signings?
• Do we chop and change too much? Not enough continuity?

There is perhaps an expectation that we need to challenge for promotion, so we get a new manager and new players. When that doesn’t work, we rip it up and start again, which is very costly. Some of our rivals may have the luxury of lower expectations, and thus the time to build a team or style of play over several seasons, before suddenly it all comes together.

This might be a little unfair – we allowed AJ plenty time (although the length of his contract extension seemed to be in excess of that justified IMO). I suspect Stevie C would have been allowed similar, and I imagine it would have been the intention to afford PG such a luxury also.

So what went wrong?

I’m into the realms of speculation now, but I imagine PG must have impressed the board with his “vision” – perhaps a combination of solid foundations and a “modern” outlook that would mean us being more than competitive on the park. You can imagine the directors getting all misty eyed as they dreamt of the Pars romping to the title with their exciting new approach to the beautiful game.

For some reason we got off to a bad start – possibly player recruitment and style of play were factors. We have had bad spells before, but they have been masked by better results beforehand. In 2018-19 we had a dreadful run at the end of the season and plummeted down the table. Relegation became a possibility at one stage. Last season I felt we were flattered by others’ inexplicable inability to stop Thomas teeing up Euan Murray for goals early in the season. But bad starts are the killers – once confidence goes they are hard to recover from.

There were issues with players – Watson went walkabout and Thomas seemed to fall out with at least one manager. Gaspuitis, Fon Williams and Connolly were allowed to leave.

With hindsight, the signing of Dorrans wasn’t the coup we hoped but possibly more of a handicap as it seemed impossible to accommodate his style of play successfully.




Post Edited (Thu 12 May 22:18)
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: McCaig`s Tower  
Date:   Thu 12 May 22:19

(continued)

To what extent were the coaches culpable? It’s hard to say – I don’t know what their remit is. Maybe they are just handing out bibs and setting up cones. Maybe they are following orders to prepare the team in a certain way. Maybe they are very influential – who knows. Matty Todd has improved a lot – is that down to Shields? He only got his chance because Comrie got a daft red card and someone else went down with CoVid allegedly.

The board went for what looked like a short term fix – an experienced manager who should have been able to improve the team sufficiently.

To an extent Yogi did what was expected. He brought in players to improve the team (a mixture of experienced players, players he had worked with before and promising youngsters). Results improved, but when we needed to step on, and play more positively, we didn’t. There was a strange reluctance to play some players, and other players were played out of position. Todd at RB was a revelation, Macdonald up front less so. Sometimes it was if we tried to be too clever – shuffle the ball about at the back, play one up front, try not to lose. Now, it was close to working – if we take one of those chances at Queen’s Park we would probably have won the tie, then beat Airdrie then no-one cares much, mission accomplished. But it didn’t. And so he failed.

Where now?

We need to achieve a mixture of short term goals (promotion) and long term goals (laying foundations to make future long term success more likely). There are very many areas of the club (such as recruitment, coaching , community involvement) as well as on field results that need addressed and the manager will need to be involved in most, although there will be areas where the CEO must earn his corn.

Winning promotion may require different skills from avoiding relegation, so it is possible that a new manager is needed. Should Yogi offer his resignation, I don’t think it would be rejected. Which would give us a different problem.

Finally, a word about the players – it may be a controversial opinion but I would keep most of them (see the point above about continuity) – they don’t become bad players overnight and a good manager should be able to get more out of them.

/end



Post Edited (Thu 12 May 22:20)
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: dover par  
Date:   Thu 12 May 22:35

The blame lies squarely with the Board, season after season of bad decisions and mismanagement as left us back at square one (league one)

"Pressure is something you feel when you don't know what the hell you're doing."
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 Re: Underachieving
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Fri 13 May 06:35

Good analysis, MT and an impressive show of stamina - that would take me about 3 weeks to type out. 😀

I can`t agree with the very last paragraph. To paraphrase Alan Hansen, you`ll never win anything with loan signings. I`m not saying they don`t try to win or don`t care, but when it`s crunch time, 50/50 balls become 40/60 ones.



Not your average Sunday League player.
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