As we head in November and hurtling towards the end of year, this month more than any is probably are the most head scratching amongst football clubs during a season. The early season optimism of August for some is now a distant memory meaning there are some tough and unpopular decisions to be made. Others will be deciding whether or not to keep persevering at least for a month or two longer to see if a gamble should be entertained. The remainder will be looking at the books and deciding to pull the plug on project promotion with the last three months not going to plan.
So, lets take a look at the three scenarios. Those who’ve seen a strong start backed up by numbers off the pitch will sleep easy, fairly safe in the knowledge they have built a solid enough foundation to sustain their place at the top end of the table, enough to continue a promotion push or a title challenge. Some in that bracket might still be inclined to call it a slight gamble but with enough confidence to believe it can be achieved.
Those on the edge of play-off places, within touching distance from mid-table or a few points off top spot are those in gamble territory, you can’t dispute that. These are the clubs with most to lose and also most to gain. It takes a fine line to decide whether you take the risk or play it safe, throw some money into the pot to sign the player(s) to make the difference or keep it level and pray those already in the driving seat can continue the journey to the end.
If the last three months really haven’t worked out, then there will be clubs ready to slash the playing budget at some point between now and the end of the year, why would you continue to throw money at something at isn’t going to get you the desired results? Some will go for the very last throw of the dice and dispense with the manager’s services whilst keeping the budget and still believing that something can be salvaged from the mess the season has turned into so far.
So far this season I don’t think there has been anywhere near the turnover of managers of previous years at any level in non-league, does it mean we’re becoming more realistic in our aims or chairman less trigger-happy? For me it’s not the former, we all want our clubs to win and to win cups and titles, maybe there will be a dramatic shift over the next four weeks as there would still be time for some clubs to save their season, something to look out for while you’re searching for the hat, scarf and gloves…………….