The phrase ‘get out of our club’ or variations thereof have been bellowed at Karl Robinson more than once in the last week. It’s a phrase that makes me increasingly uncomfortable.
The use of ‘our’ insinuates mob rule which aims to isolate its target. It says ‘we’ are in agreement that ‘you’ are not part of this and therefore have no say. I’m no fan of bullying, and this is the dictionary definition of that.
The second is the implication that Robinson should do the honourable thing and fall on his sword. He should ‘get out’. This would be wholly to his detriment. Whatever you think about the club or Robinson, he has every right to try to fix the problems while the club are prepared to pay him to do that. He has a career to protect, and by extension, a family to support. People very rarely leave their job because of some unwritten moralistic standpoint; they keep working up until they find something better to do or someone tells them to leave.
Therefore, until he is told otherwise, he should be given the opportunity to fix the problems. Moreover, if he does fix them, then those successes should be recognised. A point at Southend does not solve the problems of the last few months, but it is a step in the right direction. For some, there was disappointment that it didn’t fit their preconceived narrative of Robinson’s failings.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot to do. We’ve got to claw back five points just to get out of the relegation zone, fourteen to bother the play-offs; which is where success should lie if we’re looking to make progress. In addition, there’s a lot of trust to be won back.
I think relegation is more than avoidable, but the play-offs are a distant hope, and it’s a longer stretch still to think that the fans will fully embrace Robinson. The implication for the club is that without that trust attendances are unlikely to grow. Even if we finish bottom this season, it will be our third highest finish in the last 20 years, but nobody is going to get excited by that.
I think the likelihood of getting near the play-offs are virtually zero. As a result, I think the club have to look at whether Robinson is the long term solution. I wouldn’t argue against it if they decided he wasn’t.
But, I don’t believe he is an incompetent charlatan, nor a dishonourable man. I don’t believe he doesn’t feel it when things go wrong. I don’t believe he shirks work. When people talk about him ‘taking responsibility’ for the issues, he frequently does, but when he tries to explain where he thinks those problems are, which inevitably talks about players not doing what they’re supposed to, it’s viewed as blaming others.
Some of the things he’s done and said recently have been confusing, no doubt. But I think that’s down to the stress of the situation. I don’t think giving Shandon Baptiste the captain’s armband is clever, or disowning the signing of Jamie Hanson. Perhaps in hindsight, he knows these things are wrong. He needs a clear head, and that is going to be increasingly difficult if this run of form continues.
Earlier in the season I said you’d have to take stock after twelve games. That’s where we are at the moment. If Robinson were to be given the sack, then it would be difficult to argue a case against that. If not, then the we have to focus on the next 10 or so, rather than wait for him to get the bullet so we can all salivate over his execution, there’s a lot of lost ground to make up. If Robinson does somehow muster the troops and start moving us forward, then he’ll have my backing. ‘Our’ club’s door should always be open to success.