Game Of Patience May Be Needed
By Ross Brewster
CARLISLE United manager Steven Pressley was no doubt attempting to bring a sense of perspective to his side’s inconsistent start to the season when he remarked: “What we have to remember is that this is a building process for us and we are a brand new team.”
However, Pressley will be as aware as every other manager that, when it comes to football results, patience is most definitely not a virtue.
If it’s correct that Carlisle has one of the lowest budgets in League Two—in the bottom five it is suggested—then that puts them in the company of the more obvious lesser lights when it comes down to recruiting.
On the face of it United have done well, bringing in young loan players from Premier League sides, plus a host of other new faces and setting out what could be a more direct route to first-team football for some of the club’s young hopefuls than has been the case in recent seasons, even if the reality is the very promising ones will be sold before we get to see much of them.
As Pressley says, it’s virtually a new team. He hoped to have everything in place pre-season, but the signings went on right to the eleventh hour and beyond as loan players became available.
It’s been a case of “getting to know you” for his reconstituted outfit. And yet Pressley will be only too aware that football doesn’t allow you time. It’s a result driven business.
Football boffin Kevin Pullein put the time afforded to top-flight managers under the spotlight and came up with the alarming statistic that on average it takes just six bad results for a manager to lose his job.
While Pullein was referring essentially to the Premier League, the same could be said right down the divisions. “Managers can resign or retire, but most managers who leave are sacked. Not because of bad results as such, but because of unexpectedly bad results. They are fired because expectations have been disappointed. Sometimes those expectations were reasonable, sometimes not. But always, for a short time, they were disappointed,” he wrote in his Racing Post column.
Carlisle fans may have to exercise patience at times as their new-look side takes time to bed in. There have been flashes of the way their manager wants them to play, but consistency is the key. Pressley says that what United are trying to build “does not happen overnight.”
He added: “We have brought in a lot of players and it may not happen overnight. We will keep working at it and eventually they will become a team our supporters can be proud of.”
However, talk of United pitching for the playoffs or even automatic promotion did not look too convincing after an early sequence of setbacks. You want to be positive, but at this stage it’s more relevant that Carlisle settle down, blend their mix of new players into a consistent groove and possibly sneak in under the radar later in what invariably turns out to be a long season of ups and downs.
Their manager says they are a very good team in the making. Now it’s time for the players to begin backing his confidence and proving it.