The wrap: Oxford United 2 Barnsley 2

There were some predicting that we could fail to pick up a point through most of January and February. Justifiably so, we’ve got a fierce run through to spring.

So, on the face of it, Tuesday’s draw with Barnsley was a pretty decent result; particularly coming off the back of a draw against Fleetwood and the win over Portsmouth.

These results, lifting us just out of the relegation zone, reinforce my belief that we are not a bad side, we just lack numbers. By extension, Karl Robinson is not a bad manager, he just lacks support.

Then he opens his mouth and ruins its all.

I’ve a lot of sympathy for League 1 managers with limited resources during the transfer window. Fans bibble on about the players we should sign, IMMEDIATELY, ignoring trivialities of availability, the will of all those involved or any budget.

But, to be successful you have to be both discrete and planned. Karl Robinson is neither, it seems. Put a microphone under his nose and he’ll tell you who he’s looking at and what state any deal is in. He raises expectations which can only result in disappointment. On Tuesday he implied that the club were ready to spend, only to do nothing of the sort.

Words poured out of his mouth – he talked about ‘women and females’ and how foreign coaches are treated differently. He claimed that the Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel said ‘S.H.I.T’ like a schoolboy dobbing on the big boys.

This is Robinson being open; cut through it all and there’s a lot of sense in there. It’s possible that Stendel swearing in German will be treated differently than if he swore in English. His gibbering about pride in the shirt and the commitment of the fans is what the fans want to hear.

Some of it is wrapped up in some cultural assumptions about scousers. We assume them to be passionate, heart of the sleeve types. Both chirpy and emotional. But if you’re from Oxfordshire, where things are, perhaps, more reserved, it can grate.

He shouldn’t be judged for where he’s from, but he talks himself into trouble. In a club with resources and momentum, his verbal avalanches are, perhaps more tolerable. We’re more likely to enjoy his casual, open nature when the consequences of getting it wrong have less impact. But in a club which needs discipline and focus, where margins of error are much smaller, and where resources don’t appear to be as plentiful as we’d like, he just comes across as panicky and full of excuses.

When this happened earlier in the season, there seemed to be a conscious decision to reign him in a bit. Derek Fazackerley was more visible on the touchline, Robinson stayed back on the bench. It seemed to work and results improved. We’re on an OK run but with difficult games coming up. The margins of error narrow as the season progresses. Maybe they need to try something similar now.

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