I realised today that I had almost forgotten that we have a game this weekend. I suddenly felt a bit of sadness when I remembered that we do.
In what feels like the preface to the most United thing ever we travel to Falkirk tomorrow to face Ray McKinnon. They have zero points and have seriously struggled all season. Time to put your money on the Bairns?
Seriously though the game tomorrow does have a strange feeling about it. I get the impression that United fans are waiting for the inevitable but it could also be the game gives Laszlo yet another ‘1UP’ and an extra life to have another go. It feels like we are in limbo a little bit. Fans are still waiting for the axe to fall but there is also a sense of trepidation that a positive result gives Laszlo additional time. However, with the performance last Saturday almost costing him his job (if paper talk is to be believed) then you would assume that a defeat to Falkirk would end Laszlo’s tenure at Tannadice. If we were to lose then the 18 points per quarter total that the board aimed for would be unachievable and, according to Mike Martin in June, “we won’t reward failure”.
One positive for Laszlo is the return of Fraser Fyvie. He could be the glue that the team needs and he seems like a strong enough character that even just his presence on the pitch will lift those around him. Hopefully he also has the ability to decipher the manager’s instructions given the nature of the system we used against Greenock Morton. It felt like an overly complicated set of instructions involving inverted wing-backs and strikers dropping into midfield. The United team under Laszlo always plays slowly and predictably but last Saturday the players also looked lost. We are not getting much better and although we still, in my opinion, have a strong squad we don’t seem to be making improvements. I am desperate, we are all desperate, for United to do well and get back to the Premiership but Laszlo has given us no evidence that he is the man to achieve that. His style is labourious and easy to play against. Your football team being poor is something that you expect from time to time. But boring AND rubbish? No wonder fans are beginning to turn their back on the club.
Talking of fans, another worry going into the game tomorrow must be the atmosphere amongst the travelling supporters. I would assume that many will choose not to go to Falkirk and we may see one of the lowest away crowds in recent times. Those who do go will not afford the side much time before possibly making their feelings known towards the United bench. Last Saturday we had the first anti-Laszlo chants and you would expect to hear more of the same if things don’t go well.
The Falkirk Stadium was the stage for Laszlo’s biggest embarrassment as United manager. Could it be the venue for his final appearance?
Possible Starting Lineup vs Falkirk –
GK – Matej Rakovan
RWB – Fraser Aird
CB – Paul Watson
CB – Rachid Bouhenna
CB – Frederic Frans
LWB – Callum Booth
CM – Fraser Fyvie
CM – Christoph Rabitsch
CAM – Yannick Loemba
ST – Pavol Šafranko
ST – Craig Curran
Others – It looks like Nicky Clark and Sam Stanton still need more time to recover from their injuries which is a real blow. Based on last week you would hope that Adam Barton will be dropped but I have a funny feeling that Laszlo prefers someone physically a bit bigger and he may opt to leave out Rabitsch instead. Both players aren’t particularly strong but I would prefer the Austrian simply because of his work-rate. Ideally you would also be looking at Paul McMullan or Billy King ahead of Leomba to freshen things up but I still think Laszlo is wary of McMullan and King is still short of fitness.
Key Player(s) – Who else but Fraser Fyvie? I think we are all pinning our hopes on Fyvie being fit for the rest of the season and being the man who pulls everyone up around him. United fans are desperate for him to do well and that extends to the manager who probably knows that Fyvie could be the man to, yet again, save his job.
View From The Opposition – A complete shambles of a season so far. Winless, pointless and with a squad full of players that are simply not good enough. A disastrous summer of recruitment and a period of terrible man-management led to Paul Hartley getting the sack a few weeks ago and rightly so. The appointment of Ray McKinnon was a surprise to most and although there are still matters to be dealt with between Morton and Falkirk it does feel like the club have finally made a decent move to try and steady the ship.
The big concern for Falkirk fans is everything that has been happening at board level. The club have been badly led and the decisions made by those in charge have left them in serious trouble. On Wednesday Margaret Lang issued a statement that was also partly a Q&A as the club try to explain what is going on and how they plan to turn things around. Between closing the club’s Academy and signing such a large volume of players in the summer (many of whom might not last the season) you can understand the fan’s disillusionment at the board. The match against United feels like the meeting of two clubs with very similar issues.
Current Form (Last Four League Games) –
United – 2-1 Win vs Queen of the South (A), 3-1 Win vs Partick Thistle (H), 1-1 Draw with Alloa (H), 1-1 Draw vs Greenock Morton (H)
Falkirk – 2-1 Loss vs Partick Thistle (A), 3-0 Loss vs Queen of the South (H), 2-0 Loss vs Ross County (A), 3-2 Loss vs Ayr United (A)
The Weekend’s Full Championship Fixture Card –