Another weekend has passed, and with it another opportunity lost in the search for the first home win in forever.
In the wake of the defeat to Reading, Chris Coleman spoke to the media and took one for the team:
I’m not even going to say, ‘before I was here’ or anything like that. I’ve been here, I’ve had one game and I’ve fallen flat on my face. I can’t talk about what’s happened before me.
This is me today, no points, that’s my responsibility. I can’t change the past, I can only change the future. It is a big blow for us today after last week’s performance.
It seems fairly obvious that Coleman is shielding his players much in the same way Allardyce was able to deflect attention during his early struggles. Yet, reading between the lines it seems like Coleman has fully comprehended the incredible task the faces him in attempting to rejuvenate this flailing club.
Individual errors and a weak leadership led to the humbling defeat at home on Saturday, and Coleman must find some grit and determination if he is to rekindle these smoldering embers of a once proud club.
Saturday proved to him that fanning the flames won’t be easy, something he was keen to acknowledge at the weekend. "Something needs to change," said Coleman in the aftermath of the 1-3 defeat. "Is that me being brave and changing a lot of it round? Maybe, and I'm not afraid to do that."
And brave must Coleman be if he is to get the club moving in the right direction. Currently we sit second from bottom, 5 points behind Hull sitting in 20th position. Something has to change relatively quickly if we are to avoid being sucked into a relegation scrap after many years doing just that in the Premier League.
The festive period will be an incredibly important time for the future of our club - that really cannot be stressed enough. The world of football has changed so much, especially in terms of finance, that another relegation could provide a generation’s worth of damage.
Subsequently, the club must find a way to give Coleman some form of funding in order to help reverse our current free-fall. I don’t doubt that it’s difficult trying to balance the books and run a club with a fall in revenue, yet if we want to exist as a top club in the country then the manager and his vision must be backed going forward.
Right now Coleman has to contend with an injury and suspension crisis coupled with players holding limited form and no confidence in the team’s ability to win. All Coleman can do is place his faith in the unknown - something that he’s already toyed with to some extent.
The faith shown in Joel Asoro has provided something to raise hopes as the diminutive Swede has been effective when introduced into games. He will likely be given a larger role in the coming weeks as suspensions and injuries leave the squad running at minimal capacity, and he must grasp that opportunity with both hands - for all of our sakes.
Asoro has been afforded the opportunity to shine, but will Coleman give energetic youngsters like Elliot Embleton, Ethan Robson and Adam Bale the chance to prove their worth in the middle of the park? The lack of athleticism offered by Cattermole and Gibson was incredibly worrying at the weekend, and the continued absences of Rodwell, Ndong and McNair will be yet another concern for Coleman.
January probably can’t come soon enough for the new boss who will likely try to shift several first-team players in order to free up funds for new acquisitions - something the club must get spot on in order to enable Coleman to succeed. Until then, however, he must gamble on the unknown in order to find a reprieve.
Our next 6 games will go a long way to shaping the outcome this season and Coleman will need to find a way to strengthen a feeble side both before the window opens, and certainly after it closes.
The festive period will be a crucial one if the club’s spirits are to be lifted as they will signal to fans in which direction the club is moving.
Saturday’s defeat will have given Chris Coleman plenty of food for thought, and it will be no surprise to see the Welshman begin to experiment with several players in the coming weeks - especially if our current injury crisis worsens.
There’s no doubting Coleman is the man to lead us forward, he just needs to be backed by the fans and hierarchy as we head into the new year. All he can do now is gamble on the unknown and hope that Ellis Short is feeling especially generous this coming Christmas.