I’m going to start this by saying that I think Carl Fletcher is a great guy, a top bloke, and I believe that he genuinely cares about Plymouth Argyle. He showed great commitment to stick with us through the administration years as a player and did a marvellous job keeping us in League Two last season as manager.
Sadly though, I feel that Fletcher is no longer the man to take us forward, and barring a miracle run of results it is time we parted company with him.
Performances this season have been incredibly inconsistent and we have only really seen glimpses of the team at their best in the 4-1 dismantlings of Northampton and Barnet as well as the 3-1 victory over Rochdale.
Most fans ignored the wild claims coming from the boardroom in pre-season and accepted that this campaign would be one of mid-table ‘obscurity’, with little chance of promotion but more importantly an even smaller chance of being involved in yet another relegation battle.
One half of that realistic expectation has been achieved; it would took a godsend for Argyle to be involved in the end of season mix-up, but sitting in 19th place in the League Two standings, just four points above the drop zone, is far from the comfort many fans wanted this season.
A 3-0 loss at Fleetwood, the side’s fifth defeat in six games, means the Pilgrims have taken just one point from the last possible 15 whilst also bowing out of the FA Cup.
I wanted Carl Fletcher to be successful with us, I really did, but with the side slipping ever closer to the relegation zone something simply has to give. Fletcher might make a good manager in years to come, but at the moment he is far from the leader we all wanted him to be.
I struggle to see us getting anything from our next two fixtures against Bradford & Chesterfield and although many see the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as a joke competition, I want us to take it seriously – we have a genuine chance of progressing to the area semi-finals with a tie against fellow strugglers Oxford United – I don’t want Fletcher to mess up that chance for us.
Following those games we then have a home tie against York, who have only lost once on their travels before the all important West country Derby at Exeter. Our rivals have been chortling at us for the last few years, so this game will be the first chance we get to reclaim some of our local pride, yet in the form we are in we may as well hand the Grecians three points and not bother playing to save face.
Calling for Fletcher’s head was one of the last things I wanted to do this season but if we lose to Bradford then surely it is time for change. Due to our early exit from the FA Cup we have a two week break from league games after the Chesterfield match, I’m starting to see it as a window of opportunity to remove and possibly replace the manager.
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