I thought it was bad enough that I was losing the excitement and the physical want and will to watch Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
Over 540 minutes without a goal from a striker, 0 shots on goal today and a losing record including 4 straight losses that makes me cringe seems a bit worse.
Apparently though, I've gotten so used to this horrid level of playing that I've come to expect losses instead of being upset by them. But I guess, the thing is, I'm just tired of all this. We know what our problems are, we know what we need, but we don't have the money to fix it. A new manager was never going to come in and magically fix our problems overnight; maybe disguise them but not fix them. But here we are, weeks in, still letting the same mistakes be made. It's disheartening and it's exhausting and it's not what any of us expected from this team.
I never in my wildest dreams thought we'd be this bad. I don't even know where to start dissecting, because every single week it's the same problems. Our defense is lacking basically everything and our offense can't seize any opportunity. It's not like we're unfixable and some sort of lost cause, a decent cornerback and a striker would turn this team around in a couple of games. We just can't afford it and that is the worst part of it all. We're so close to being a better team, but we just can't get there.
But honestly, we can't afford to be playing the same players week in and week out when we know for a fact that they can't perform. Our manager tried to sell players off to get ones that would help us, and now we're stuck playing with them....BUT that doesn't mean that we have to play the same doomed team over and over. If this is what we're stuck with, we need to experiment as much as possible because something has to work.
Most days I can't help but wonder if Dougie Freedman even tries to make things better, because every game that he starts Zat Knight, especially as captain, makes me reconsider just how possible it is for us to improve this season. But then there he goes today, taking Knight off the field for Jermaine Beckford and subbing in the second half so that we can play with different formations since our go-to seems to be failing us. We need more of that kind of thinking on our feet and subbing players; a better mix of an offensive style of play because our offense is decent, it really is. They work together well, especially with Chris Eagles in the mix, but they can't finish. At least there's hope there, unlike our defense. I don't even want to poke at our defense with a very long stick, because it frightens and worries and confuses me that much. Where do we even start cleaning up that mess?
Tim Ream has continued playing well and improving, and I'm looking forward to where he'll be as a player at the end of the season. But for the last 30 minutes of the game today, with Rob Hall and David N'Gog and Marc Tierney and Beckford working together, that was the highlight for me. For that bit of time I got excited and hopeful and thought we could turn it around. That was the type of high-speed offense that we need. With a bit of consistency and more time playing together, this offense could become so in sync that it would scare even the best defenses in the league. Or so I can dream.
I'm not asking for a win or for a draw, I'm asking for improvement. If we're playing better than we have in weeks and we still lose, I'll be disheartened. And I want that. I want to feel for and with this team again. We're missing heart and passion first and foremost and until we get it back, I'm not sure who will fight for us.