The case against – by Stuart Sidebottom
Is Paul Dickov the worst Doncaster Rovers manager since Kerry Dixon?
The answer is clear. Yes fans may say we have a very small budget, but look at the ratio for Ian Snodin with a non-existent budget! The team are letting the manager down; but it’s the manager’s’ responsibility to motivate. I’ve never seen the team looking so de-motivated. We can sit and provide excuses all day but the facts don’t lie. Since Dickov’s reign we’ve the lowest win ratio since Dixon; only picking up a point every two and a half games. The average spell in charge is currently 108 games; personally, wouldn’t let Dickov’s spell go beyond this.
Anyone that can disagree with statistics is clearly lacking ambition for the club.
The case for – by Lee Croft
4 games into the season 0 wins and 1 goal, Rovers fans are already knee-jerking and calling for Dickov’s head which comes as no great shock given how his head was called for on many occasions in the last 14 or so months.
I plan to put forward the case of why Dickov should be given the benefit of the doubt and the first point of defence is one of patience. We are only 4 games into the season and have only lost once. The nature of it was quite painful with 3 games where we couldn’t score for love nor money (apart from Forrester’s ‘accidental’ goal) yet managed a draw and a heavy loss at the hands of Port Vale.
But, yesterday’s game aside and the 3 previous games we actually showed quality, the football was much better and on a different day we would have won. The only thing stopped us taking 3 points in each of those first 3 games was poor finishing, but we were creating chances and you have to ask why Dickov should take the blame for that. He has brought in a natural finisher in Andy Williams who looks to have hit the ground running and has put in some solid performances but just hasn’t had that rub of the green to see his efforts hit the back of the net.
Furthermore is 4 games enough to write a season off? Of course it isn’t, promotion or relegation isn’t sealed by then and there is still 126 points left to play for. It is guaranteed that in every season you have a bad run, and it’s probably best to get it out of your system in the first few games and have your better run in during the business end of the season.
My next point would be to ask Rovers fans to judge Dickov on the job he has been given to do. Naturally fans want results and promotion and that is the bottom line, but it is no secret that Dickov has been asked to do this with a new philosophy of using a mixture of experienced players along with giving younger players a chance to flourish. This seems to be the right balance in our squad this season and Dickov has been very good in recruitment with experience brought in with Williams, Chaplow, Stuckmann, N’Guessan and MacKenzie to join Butler, Jones, Coppinger, Wellens and Tyson. Then you have the younger players coming through the ranks with Middleton not looking out of place so far this season, Lund and Whitehouse providing back up, Evina and McCollough also looking set to build on their careers and the addition of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who looks to be a rising star.
Based on the performances alone and Dickov seems to have found the right mix and when we have played to our strengths we looked nothing short of fantastic, until we put the ball in the box. Considering we aren’t even out of August yet it would seem strange and stupid to upset this balance by bringing in a new manager who will undoubtedly look to bring in his own players. I fail to see how despite the poor start to the season, Dickov is being judged as not good enough when most of these players haven’t had much chance to play together and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
My final and probably most convincing point would be that of timing. Considering the transfer window closes in just over a week, it leaves little time to bring a replacement in who has enough time to sign (or sell) some players. Hardly the best advert to attract potential managers. What’s more is that of the cost of sacking Dickov will mean compensation and then having to find more money to pay his replacement. Considering how we now need to be looking at the market for replacements with Tyson and Forrester already sidelined, wasting any money left on replacing a manager given how there is only 4 games gone could be more catastrophic than any scenario when Paul Dickov stays.
In conclusion I think Dickov still has room for improvement, and I would agree that he must simply improve. I feel this season will probably be his last season to show us what he can do, but I feel 42 games gives us more than enough time. These debates are often pointless and has little impact on what ultimately happens, however what we can do is join forces together in the stands and show our support to the club, bother players and managers. If they have enough passion to wear the badge, then they will have my support.
Have your say, should Dickov Stay or go?