The wrap – Plymouth Argyle 3 Oxford United 0

How was your Christmas? How does losing three, scoring none, conceding six, dropping into the relegation zone as the your shop gets broken into and the chairman of your supporters’ trust resigns due to disagreements with his committee sound? Might one call it a Navitatis Horribilis?

Should Karl Robinson go? His team selection in the defeat to Plymouth wasn’t as ‘ridiculous’ as some claim. John Mousinho steadies our ship defensively, but it’s asking a lot to expect him to keep plugging away week after week without a break. We don’t have another Mousinho to bring in so giving him a break is always going to require a destabilising shuffle. Other than Mousinho, the starting eleven was the same as the one that has just put a decent run together.

There was apoplexy at the news Ivo Pekalski had taken Christmas off, but how many of us have pined for the Swede when we’ve been on a bad run? He’s just a signing that hasn’t worked out. Curtis Nelson’s post-match evasiveness about his future drew the ire of many, but you would have to be pretty blinkered to think that he’s not been on his way out for several months now. That said, if you can’t trust him with the captain’s armband, should you trust him to be the team’s media spokesperson?

Robinson doesn’t help himself though. Honesty and openness are both virtues, but it seems to get him into endless trouble. When he’s under pressure he gets verbal diarrhoea. Did Pekalski take Christmas off? Ask to take Christmas off? Was that even a criticism when Robinson thinks he’s a ‘good guy’. Or, should he have avoided the whole topic in the first place?

He talked about Cameron Brannagan, Gavin Whyte and Marcus Browne never being in this position before. All true, but was there a need to expose the players, squad and club when it solves nothing and creates panic?

Ultimately, I think Robinson is the product of a bigger problem, not the cause of it. If he was working in a well run machine, he’d have players available or coming in, and advisors that would help him avoid putting his foot in it. What I think we’re seeing is a man drowning in the chaos that surrounds him.

We could get in a good crisis manager who can get performances despite the flaws in the organisation he operates in. Alternatively, we could go straight to source and sort the organisation out – the cashflow, the scouting, the communications.

If you change the manager and replace him with a pragmatist everyone will feel better for a while. But, even the best crisis managers don’t last long before the job engulfs them. Plus, it’s rarely nice to watch; think Ian Atkins working with Firoz Kassam.

For the long term benefit of the club, sooner or later the organisation needs to get organised, so rather than mucking about changing managers, you might as well go straight to the source of the problem – the sooner you start fixing the root cause, the sooner it’s fixed.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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