I HAVE read some of the comments about Cliftonville Football Club and especially manager Gerard Lyttle this week with shock, disbelief, anger and amusement.
I think a few things need to be pointed out. Can any tradesman do a proper job without the proper tools? Can a joiner build a fence without a hammer, nails and a saw? Can a bricklayer build a wall without sand and cement?
Some people are comparing our team now to the league winning squads. This is what we have lost : 60 plus goals from Joe Gormley and Liam Boyce. Leadership from Scannell, Johnston, Smyth and McMullan. The best keeper in our history in Conor Devlin.
How can these players be replaced? The simple answer is that they can't.
This brings me on to questions raised about recruitment. Like it or not, Cliftonville operate, like other clubs, within a budget. So like it or not, some players we simply cannot afford and so we cut our cloth accordingly. Like it or not, some players just do not want to play for Cliftonville.
Crusaders lost Coates and Owens together for two games. They lost both games. We've lost a complete midfield of Harkin, Catney and Knowles for most of the season. Add this to lengthy injuries and suspensions to Cosgrove, McGovern, McGuinness, Hughes, Seydak and Bonner and tell me that Alex Ferguson or Bob Paisley could have done better.
Darren Murray was a signing that EVERYONE wanted. It's nothing to do with the manager that it didn't work out. Marty Murray leaving the club had nothing to do with the manager. Davy McDaid (who took dogs abuse) left the club and it had nothing to do with the manager. Johnny McMurray left the club when he was nowhere near the starting 11. That, again, has nothing to do with the manager.
Has Gerard Lyttle made mistakes in team selection, tactics and substitutions? Of course he has, he's human. What manager hasn't? Has Gerard Lyttle been able to do his job with all the tools of his trade available to him? NO. Only when all the tools of his trade are available to him can he be judged.
I read some of the suggestions for replacements. Some people need to have a word with themselves. Some of the names being thrown about, either 1. Don't want the job. 2. Do not have the qualifications or 3. Haven't exactly set the world alight at other clubs.
I do hope that the management and board who have read some of the recent stuff actually know some of the people who are posting up.
An awful lot of decent fans have had their say but I also couldn't help noticing some of the comments from: People who buy a season ticket for the sole purpose of saving money which is their total contribution to the running and support of the club apart from spouting on social media. People who have never kicked a ball at ANY level in their lives. People who don't even go to games.