Saints & Sinners!-by TMP
I wont dwell too long on the debacle of the Wayne Thomas red card this Saturday. Everything has probably been said. Even the normally supportive Steve Cotterill seems to have listened to some of the fans calling for disciplinary action against Wayne Thomas.
Will he retain the Captaincy? Will he even remain a Claret after single-handedly ensuring the Clarets would not get any points from this match?
My own view is that he needs the strongest warning possible that this is his last chance. Anymore of these sending offs and he will automatically be stripped of the captaincy and may even be transfer listed if he cant control his temper and set an example.
Of course, although you cant condone Thomas's actions this Saturday you could also question whether the Opposition are totally blameless in the whole affair. How many managers I wonder say to their players 'Keep having a dig and pot at Wayne Thomas, wind him up! With a bit of luck that famous temper of his will lead to him being sent-off!'?
I did not actually see the incident on Saturday, at the time I was enjoying the thrill of the team being 1-0 up and pressing hard, hoping they were going to score from the free kick that had just been awarded before the Thomas elbowing affair. I was watching the free kick situation and completely missed the red card incident but everybody who did tells me it was a stupid elbowing that led to the farce. Fair play to the lads though, it's probably the best performance from 10 men I have seen in many a year, despite the almost immediate equaliser from the Saints, somehow we had the resolve and skill to take the lead again. We can debate some of the substitutions that were made in the second half, but it was always going to be an uphill battle to keep the lead and so it proved as two goals from Southampton broke our hearts. A draw would have been a fairer result and I am sure the Saints in their hearts know they would have been defeated by the eleven men that started this match without being gifted the Thomas red-card.
Talking of 'Gifted', it looks like one of our former sinners is also rapidly becoming a Saint, and not the Southampton kind. I continue to be impressed by the hard work and attitude of Gifton Noel-Williams. He looks a much lither and fitter machine this season. Again he impressed in this match and seems to be teaming up well with Andy Gray. He certainly deserves his removal from the transfer list based on his performances this season to date. Now all he needs to do is keep it up! I am sure a number of you also read Gifton's article in the Saints Match Proggy in which he discusses his supposed injury and arthritic condition. It would appear that he no longer has any arthritic condition and is in remission. He also explains away his plodding gait which is down to the fact that he has a dropped arch in his foot.
I personally dont care what the injury situation is providing he continues to play consistently well like he has in the last few matches. If he does he deserves all our support and in many ways I hope he does succeed and put to shame all those 'booboys' who were disgaceful when he came onto the pitch against Colchester! I have never had any patience with fans who boo our own players. It does nothing for their confidence and therefore of no help to the team either!
Well next up is Norwich away, in a Sky- televised match next Sunday. It looks like the Canaries have their own sinner at the moment in their manager, Nigel Worthington. According to the Norwich Vital site 'As the season starts to rapidly fall back to the way it was before May, The Worthington Out website is preparing to reveal details of a pre-match protest next Sunday'
They have gone 4 games without a win and are worried about our away form. Many folk will also remember the televised match between these two clubs at the Turf last season. We scuppered their lingering hopes of reaching the play-offs and in the process set off our own revival to put to rest any danger of relegation in a convincing 2:0 win. I must admit though I am always nervous when we play teams that havent won in sometime and their fans are protesting in front of the camaras. The Clarets normally oblige by losing, but lets hope we dont this time and can quickly recover from the disappointment of Southampton