Until a couple of years ago it was said that Bottom of the League at Christmas and down you go but then none other than Brian Robson proved everyone wrong when he saved West Brom from the drop. It didn't last long of course for they were relegated the following year but it proved that miracles can happen.
Over Christmas this year there was an article in the Mirror detailing the main points after an interview with Robson on how he managed to achieve the impossible and here are the key points.
1) Its All About Belief
Point number one according to Robson is obvious but it needs saying - "keep the players confidence high because the main issue is their belief. Have they got the attitude to keep going? Can you convince them that it's achievable? Thats the problem for a lot of them down there. You can't get too far adrift. Players have to have a bit of convincing that they are close enough to achieve it."
2) Rally Everyone Around The Cause
At West Brom they had the Great Escape Project dreamed up by their sponsors. It gave them a target, something to aim for, the idea that they could make history as nobody had done it before.
3) You Need Two or Three Big Characters in the Dressing Room
Robson explains "Its vital to have some leaders among the players. When results are going against you there have to be players who pick thing up, it can't only be the players and coaches. Nobody enjoys being beaten or drawing every week and you have to have a few that can rise above that and take the others with them."
4) Bring in the right players in the January Transfer Window
For Robson the key signing was Kieran Richardson from Manure - "If we got beaten on the Saturday he would come in on the Monday and all he wanted to talk about was how we would win the next game. Training was immediately twice as positive and that was the mentality that was needed. There's no point in dwelling on a bad result because you can't do anything about it, its gone. You have to just have the confidence you'll win the next one."
5) Keep the Fans on Your Side
Robson: "Our Great Escape idea helped that. It gave the supporters something to cling to, it got everyone being positive and pulling for each other. You can't believe how much easier it is for players to run and battle when they are hearing positive support instead of slow handclaps and booing."
6) Make sure You're Got a Good Physio
A settled fit side is vital. "You have to have a bit of fortune with injuries for a settled side is important and as you get a run a results they get stronger."
7) Be Convinced You Can make It
7) Be Convinced You Can make It
The players and coaches have to believe its's possible otherwise the players won't. They will smell any doubt. Look at the fixtures and work out what points you can make and be totally convinced that you can do it."
8) Be Lucky!
And then he saves the bummer until the end - "You need luck and you need everything to be right and the luck is the one thing you can't control."
Well, Pards has clearly read the same article and understands the basics and has explained recently that its leaders we need and people with the right attitude for a battle which probably explains the Traore out Thatcher in swap. And although we lost £1M on Traore we do seem to have got Thatcher for a good price. Now the Midfield!!