Some interesting comments across Social media regarding Keiron’s interview today within the ever excellent Saints coverage provided by Mike Critchley in the St Helens Star – you can read the full article here: http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/15144878.Cunningham_asks_for_patience_after_back_to_back_defeats/
Firstly, this isn’t a Cunningham witchhunt – you’ll see from Social Media this week that we’ve actually spent time defending the decision to commission the Cunningham statue for example, but quite astonished by some of the comments he’s made – we said ourselves following the Wakefield loss on Redvee TV that we didn’t want to see empty words and soundbites this week, yet we’ve had Walmsley dishing them out earlier in the week, and its been followed with this from the Coach. Worringly from the interview, it appears that Cunningham’s head is buried in the sand if he isn’t able to see the same problems that we as fans can. So without further ado, let’s dissect some of it:
“I have a good squad here – far better than last year but there is a tendency for the reaction to be a bit knee-jerk out there.”
If the squad is far better than last year, then it shouldn’t be seemingly crippled by the injury to Matty Smith – who’s sole contribution so far has been 38 mins of a Pre Season friendly. As for knee jerk – is he wearing blinkers to go alongside the headphones? Unfortunately this has been rumbling along for nigh on 18 months – the atmosphere in the loss at home to Warrington last season was toxic, and at the time led us to call for him to be sacked, before we rallied to win 11 out of the last 13. The atmosphere is once again heading that way, and judging by the comments on the terraces, on social media, around the town and in the workplaces, the vast, vast majority have reached the end of their tether. You will be very hard pressed to find a Saints fan out there willing to stick their heads above the parapet and defend the Coach at this moment in time.
The same issues that have plagued us for the last few years: poor ball retention, ‘the grind’, stupid penalties, the ability to drop ourselves in a huge hole in the first half of games – haven’t been addressed, regardless of personnel in the team, so who’s fault is that?
“We have just got to have faith, stick together and fight hard for each other.”
Generic Coach speak – but all of this should be a given for any top flight professional sports team?
“I am aware of what is being said (Cunningham out calls) – but who is going to come in?”
I don’t get this comment at all – have we as a club fell so far down the scale, that we would be that unattractive to potential coaches should the chance to manage the club become available? Comments such as this – basically saying there’s no point sacking him as no one else would want the job, is absolutely bizarre!
“And are they going to come in with a magic wand to make Matty’s leg better and improve Jonny’s knee?”
Wait – we’ve just been told the squad is far better than last year? We were awful against Leeds and Leigh with Jonny in the team as well!? Don’t all clubs have injuries? Whilst i’m sat writing this watching Wire and Wigan, Joe Burgess is injured and they’ve got a kid on the wing who’s just scored a hat trick in the first 48 mins….other teams cope, why can’t we?
“We have got a good group of players with a hard-working coaching team. We are united and we have been for a long while. We hit a tough patch in the middle of last year and came though it. This situation is nothing like that. We are not far off getting Matty back. I said all along that it would be tough with Matty out, but once we get him back it will be different. But we have got a few more games to go yet and so have to find a way in the next few weeks to battle hard and work for each other. We have lost a couple of games, but we are a really confident squad and we have just got to get ourselves firing again”
This just comes across as excuse after excuse, with everything seemingly pinned on the return of Matty Smith. If the players are such a good group, then questions need to be asked as to why they’re letting the coach down so much. It doesn’t explain why the tactics are poor and the skill level is so poor? Why the defence was so piss poor v Leigh? Why our players constantly receive the ball from standing starts? Why nobody in the team runs lines off the ball? Why we only seem capable of kicking penalties to touch and gaining under 5m in field position in doing so? Why we kick so often on the 3rd tackle? Why Jon Wilkin’s kicking repertoire consists of that terrible bomb?
“I did not plan on Matty getting his leg broken. We were flying in pre-season with him running around as the lead half. But at the minute we have two key men who are not featuring in Matty Smith and Jonny Lomax, and then two young halves who are learning and getting better. Everyone was constantly tapping me on the shoulder last year saying get Danny Richardson in the team because he was doing exceptionally well. “But now we have got him in the team people are going to have to be patient.”
Fans are being patient with Danny Richardson – seemingly the only person being impatient with Danny Richardson seems to be KC himself. KC talks of us ‘flying in pre season training’ with Smith, but one injury means this hasn’t translated to performances on the park. Have we no Plan B? The answer so far is a resounding No.
“In the short term we have to get the halves understanding a bit more but that is all part of learning and education. Sometimes you don’t understand what game management is until you go through certain situations. On Friday we got out to 12-10 and the good lead halves would bring that game home for you, but we looked a bit erratic, panicky with no composure and we did not kick the ball well and then we ended up losing.”
Maybe a bit of that is true, but it’s all if buts and maybes – but our halves certainly weren’t the main reason we lost that game, not by a long way!
“We have got a really big month ahead of us, Every game that Danny or Theo pull a Saints shirt on the better it will be for them, but we have to understand that we have got to win some games. As good as the learning is we are in the results based industry and we can’t just sit there waiting for people to come back.”
That’s quite correct – it is a results based industry, and we can’t sit waiting – but the majority of the comments in the article are from KC keep telling us all to be patient until Smith returns! Now I’m just completely confused??
“Theo is still only very young kid; it took Matty Smith until he was 26 -27 to find that lead half spot and to be as good as he is. Theo is still a young kid, he will make mistakes, get poor kicks away and wrong decisions – as will Danny. All that maturity does in narrow the margin and make the consistency a little bit better.”
Theo is nearly 23, he’s played nearly 90 Super League games, he should be experienced enough by now to at least help guide us round the park to a level that keeps us competitve? We haven’t got the luxury of waiting until he’s 26 or 27 to fulfil the role.
“We will get them there, but we just need the big men to work a little bit harder around them and I don’t think we got that on Friday, especially in the first half. Our starting big men were not as good as they should have been, but the support act was good.”
He’s right – the big men aren’t anywhere near good enough at present – they’re looking bullied by whatever opposition they face, the backs are doing all the dirty work carrying the ball early in sets, yet our forwards constantly look like they’re blowing out of their arses! But KC told us this is his best ever squad…so what exactly is going on?
The worrying aspect is if this is really what he believes and is being fed back to the squad, then nothing will change – the same problems will persist, and I can’t see where the next win Is coming from.34 points in 3 games against opposition of Leeds (Awful despite their stature), Leigh and Wakefield is nothing short of a disgrace. Can anyone tell me if we’ve ever scored less points in the opening 3 games of a league season?
Keiron has told us prior to the season that this is his team – so he needs to take full responsibility for the results and performances.
No more empty words, no more excuses.