On Tuesday I published an article saying that the League Cup tie against Lincoln City was the biggest game of Jan Siewert’s managerial career so far. If he lost the tie I opined, he would go some way to losing the fans and the confidence of the owner.
From the outpouring of emotion on social media after the game, the boos that rung around the stadium at full-time and Phil Hodgkinson’s bizarre touchline conversation, it appears that I was right.
So if the Lincoln game was the biggest match of Jan Siewert’s career, what does that make this evening’s clash against Fulham? Well, it makes it an acid test of the player’s loyalty to their manager.
Siewert was late to meet the press following the cup exit to the Imps as he seemingly held a prolonged dressing room inquest. It’s unsure what was said behind closed doors but judging by the manager’s comments and demeanour, it can’t have been anything too positive.
These ‘inquests’ or moments of internal reflection are often heralded at the end of a successful season as the ‘turning point’. The moment when the players and manager as one, decided that enough was enough and it was time to improve.
What always seems to follow these inquests is a reaction on the pitch, a performance full of passion, desire and energy. However when the manager doesn’t hold the respect of his players, things can often go awry.
Disgruntled playing staff are quick to pick up on the precarious position of their manager and so, play the joker in the pack – a piss poor performance. One that convinces the fans and the chairman that there is only one option left and that the manager must go.
Tonight’s game against Fulham could go either way. Obviously the former option would be preferable for the fans, we all want to see the team performing better on the pitch and playing with some semblance of desire.
But I’m not too sure that will happen. In fact, I’m pretty confident that a handful of players will choose to take out their frustrations with their manager on the pitch. Siewert has proved to be a divisive character in his time at the club so far, falling out with a number of key players.
So, what do I think is the most likely outcome of this evening’s game?
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 0 Fulham 3
I hate to be pessimistic, although I’m naturally inclined to be so in all aspects of life, it hurts when I feel nothing but pessimism for my football team. I cannot see past a Fulham win tonight as I do not believe that the players support the manager.
Further to that, I don’t have any real trust in Siewert’s 4-3-3 and his ‘style of play’, and I have seen nothing so far this season to give me confidence in this team. I expect plenty of opening bluster in this game, which will turn to dust after 10 minutes when Fulham open the scoring on the break.
Then the wheels will fall off, players will drop their heads and Jan will lose his cool. The crowd will get on the back of Siewert and Fulham will begin slowly picking us off, with the game ultimately resembling many of our Premier League matches last season.
I hope I'm wrong. I desperately want Town to do well and I even want to see Jan Siewert do well. On a human level it's terrible to see a manager's reputation slowly ebbing away week after week, loss after loss.
Unfortunately I just don't have faith in Siewert to turn things around at this point, and for the good of the club and his own career, a parting of ways should come sooner rather than later.