Clacton white wrote:I saw the charity shield though at Wembley and the defence ( esp right side & central ) looked distinctly dodgy - if memory serves Snodin was played at right back as I think Sterland was retired or injured by then . You could see problems but Wilko never corrected or rectified them , the pass back law didn't help a slow/ageing defence and Lukic like Gary Sprake was always prone to loony moments ....but for that one season they were bloody superb .
Think it was Jon Newsome at right-back in the Charity Shield. Been looking at this period lately and I think the biggest mistake Wilko made was thinking Strachan wouldn't recover from his back trouble, so spending £2m on Rocastle, and thinking Sterland would recover from his ankle injury, so not buying a new right-back. Sterland was vital to Wilko's system since the early 80s at Wednesday and without him bombing up and down the right side we just weren't the same team.
In the match away to Rangers we started with Newsome at right-back but he couldn't cope so swapped after 20mins with Fairclough. In the 4-0 defeat at Man City the week after Dorigo was injured too, so the back four was Fairclough - Wetherall - Whyte - Newsome; Batty was also injured, and as Wilko had been using him almost Kalvin Phillips style to protect the centre-backs we were absolutely fucked. Day was in goal too. Just a mess. That was the also the game Wilko gave Cantona his last chance: he dropped Chapman (7 goals in 14 games) and gave in to Cantona's demands to start with Wallace. He was shite.
We were being linked with every right-back going — Gary Charles, Ian Brightwell, a couple of Swedish defenders — Wilko was still hoping for Sterland, but he tried to make a comeback in the reserves and didn't make the kick-off. Of course that was the whole reason for calling Old Trafford to ask about Denis Irwin. (And from what I've read, once Cantona faxed in his transfer request, both the club and Cantona's agent were offering him around Europe first, but couldn't find any mugs willing to give Leeds the million he'd cost...)
If we'd only switched Gary Kelly to right-back a year earlier... I've also wondered whether 3-5-2 with wing-backs might have worked; Dorigo on the left and... Rod Wallace at RWB? Speed? Dylan Kerr? Dunno.