Often Partisan

Flak for Fahey

I guess it’s probably the same at every other team, but it seems that Blues need one player to be the goat – one player to blame our woes and our strife on, the one who holds us back. Cameron Jerome, Damien Johnson, Liam Ridgewell – it seems every year there are players who are picked upon because they “don’t score enough goals”, or “are too limited” even though they may be a playing a team that doesn’t score enough or is limited. This year, it’s Keith Fahey.

I’m quite ambivalent when it comes to Keith Fahey – I don’t think he’s as crap as some people make out, but I don’t think he’s the next Lionel Messi either. I do have to admit that I don’t really understand some of the flak he gets from some sections of the fans – it’s as though there is nothing he can do that is right, yet Chris Hughton (who can do no wrong in many of the same fans’ eyes) continues to pick him. What does Chris see that we don’t?

I think the chief problem for Keith is that he doesn’t score enough goals. Well, it’s deeper than that – I like to see central midfielders pop up occasionally with a late run into the box to create chances, and I don’t think Fahey does that. In his first season with us in the Championship, he scored four goals – yes, one was flukey against Forest but I remember him scoring a good goal to help us get promoted at Reading from being in the right place at the right time. This season he has one (against Coventry; again, right place right time) but he hasn’t looked like scoring since – because he’s not been in the right place to make and take chances.

Admittedly, when we are playing with two attacking wide players it’s more imperative for the central midfielders to “sit” as it were, to be a bit more circumspect, but I don’t think that means that they have to be twenty to thirty yards behind the front two. At times this season it has looked like the middle two have been a little too deep – Barnsley for example we didn’t look like doing much until Wade Elliott came on and pushed the midfield fifteen yards further up the pitch. This division certainly isn’t a league of cloggers from what I’ve seen so it’s possible to play a nice game through the middle and I’d like to see Fahey (who I think can play as a box-to-box type) get forward more with the play, and make those bursts into the penalty area.

I think it’s a confidence issue too. Keith has said himself that he felt undervalued by McLeish in that Eck always played him out wide when Fahey considers himself a central midfielder. However, if he’s going to make one of those spots his own he’s got to be a central midfielder, and he’s got to show he’s worth it. With Jordon Mutch now coming back from injury Keith is going to be under much more pressure to retain his place, and he needs to believe in himself a bit more to play the kind of stuff that will keep him in the team.

I guess the problem is that when you’re an average player who knocks out average performances every week that nothing you do is stand-out and people will get on your back. It was the same with Damien Johnson – another player who I think took unnecessary flak for being a steady player who didn’t do special stuff that often. Unfortunately, I don’t think the situation will change that much – unless Fahey chips in with a few goals in the next few games I think people will continue to get on his back because of an impression he doesn’t do enough – it’s not right, but it’s the way football is.

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37 Responses to “Flak for Fahey”

  • Sheldon man says:

    I’m one of those many fans who thinks that Fahey has a lot more in his locker, but seems to lack the confidence to open it. Too many times the ball is like a hot potato and he takes the easy option of a simple return pass or back to a defender. Occasionally he will try something outrageous and make himself look a bit of afool but generally he is too anonymous. Damien Johnsson was a bit different in that he could actually tackle and win the ball, whereas Fahey just appears to jockey players rather than get his foot in.
    As for Liam Ridgewell, he does give the impression of not wanting to be there. He often gets given a runaround at left back and his crossing is mainly atrocious,
    What more does Murphy have to do. Although not the greatest defender, he does have pace and has more idea of what to do with the ball in attacking positions.

  • Paul says:

    The problem i have with Keith Fahey is simple he has the ability but comes across as Lazy . What i mean by that is he strolls round the pitch head down . We need a player in the mould of Mark Ward a player with a vision a eye for a pass someone who can split the defence and also break up play . in the nineties we had Ward and Shearer now i know it was 3rd tier but they were effective Shearer would pop at the edge of the area making those late runs and score goals if i remember rightly he scored 11 or 12 that season and Mark Ward would orchestrate the play we havent had that at Blues for years Keith Fahey just labours around the pitch in my opinion and frustrates the life out of me ., Because i genuinely believe he could be that Mark Ward type player we desperately need.
    Also i feel once Jordan Mutch is fit Fahey will not play that much , I would now start to play NDAW more i know he is not a popular choice with some sections of the crowd but he has a eye for a pass and once fully fit i do believe both Ndaw and Gomis (spelling shocking) will be a great midfield combo for us .

    KRO

  • DoctorD says:

    Yes all very well, but am I alone in wanting my “Often Partisan” view of the Reading game. I honestly think this is the best Blues site bar none. I know you’re busy almajir but it’s a sign of the wonders of your site that I’m waiting to find out what you and fellow bluenoses think. Naturally the amount of coverage on the BBC etc was painfully thin.

    • almajir says:

      I didn’t go so I can’t comment. I wouldn’t like to do it from a radio report (although I didn’t even get chance to listen to it on radio as I was out)

  • BowThai says:

    Fahey has skill and vision but its his running style-He doesnt!

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    Finding the right balance in central mid could be the main problem rather than being down to one man ie Fahey. I agree our two central midfield players seem to sit too deep and we rely heavily on two effective wide players. Who can CH get to gel together in central mid is a bit of a poser really! If Blues had one player to sit in front of the back four and the other central mid to then get the attacks going this might work better but in doing so I accept we could sometimes get overrun in midfield. I am not convinced Spector or Gomes have anything more to offer than Fahey in central midfield so unless we try something different we have to live with what we have. There must be a reason why N’Daw ain’t playing in Championshio games cos he is surely good enough to have figured and in both games against Bruges he played a part. CH obviously rates what Fahey brings to the team cos if fit he gets picked every game. The more I watch him I think he is trying to play a Barry Ferguson role but in doing so he is ineffective in that he can go sideways and backwards but not forwards. A couple of seasons ago he was effective at running with the ball and attacking the opposition defences but he doesn’t seem to have that in his locker anymore. There are two many good performances this season for us to dwell on the bad ones but with expectation rising it is inevitable that this is what we all do.

    • Boy from Oz says:

      Just wondering if you are the Denis Thwaites ex blues player. I agree with your anaiysis and you have a good handle and insight on where the team is at. All in all we are having a better season than even the most positive supporter could have imagined. I still think top half of the league will be a good result for this season and hopefully the financial side of the club will be sorted before the start of next season.

      • denis thwaites says:

        in answer to enquiry from “Boy from Oz” am i the ex Blues Denis Thwaites I confess I am not. He just happened to be the first blues player i witnessed scoring a goal for Blues and the name seemed a good pseudonym to use for here. I did actually play against him once albeit when he had dropped his standard a fair bit after he left Blues. My understanding is he retired from football in his late 20s as he was too nervous to play first team games but have no proof on that one. .On your comments on Blues this year there have been some tremendous improvements in some of the players since the start of the season Myhill and Caldwell particularly and whereas last few seasons there were numerous players who did not perform now they are the odd exception. I do fear for January though as I think we may get sold down the river again unless there is some light at the end of the tunnel on the finance side of the club.

  • Lichfield Blue says:

    I wonder whether CH really does rate Fahey or whether it is that he is the best option available. No doubt Fahey has the talent to play at this level and make a decent fist of it, but too often he flatters to deceive. I think we are still lacking in CM alternatives; for me, Spector is a “defender playing in midfield” when he is asked to slot in, but this is, I suspect, another issue arising out of the deficiencies in the squad size.

    To bring some perspective to this, we are doing far better than expected and so great credit to the Manager for what has been achieved so far.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    The reason why Fahey gets stick is because he isn’t consistent enough. We all know he can thread a superb pass, score a free kick or put in a great cross. However how often does he do this? Rarely. CH knows of this ability and plays him (it seems) more out of reputation than his performances. He hasn’t been in great form recently with poor distribution, weak in the tackle and flitting in and out of games. For a creative midfielder he doesn’t create enough and too often any setpieces he takes are disappointing. Along side an enforcer type CM like Gomis or N’Daw he should be okay but if he plays with Spector or Elliot we will be overrun.

    Fans are fickle though – ours included, if Fahey scores a few goals he’ll be the toast of St Andrews.

  • bluedan says:

    I must say i think Spector is poor this season. I would play elliot, gomis, ndaw every day of the week over him. Saying that yes he hasnt scored. but blues have score a lot more goals this season so something must be right

  • glyn rees says:

    The teams results and goal scoring seems to have dried up in the last four matches and Fahey and Spector have been paired in most games. Fahey can’t shoot, can’t tackle and his passing is sideway or back. Even his running has been questioned. Ndaw is a much better player so why does C.H not play him? I would like some idea’s please, one that was mentioned some where was if he plays any more league games we will have to pay extra money out mmmm we are in trouble are we not Kro4ever

  • Bluebird says:

    I appreciate that we all have opinions but we are ALL Supporters, NOT Managers, NOT Players, NOT taking responsibility for our decisions.
    We are doing far better under CH than anyone ever imagined….
    Maybe if we let the Manager focus on Team selection and tactics; the Players focus on delivering in accordance with the Manager’s instructions and we just actually do what we are supposed to do and focus on SUPPORTING the Team and the Manager, we could have a Season way beyond out original expectations!

    I know my suggestion may be completely off the planet; it may be an unusual approach, but within the Company I work for, if I started criticising people and telling them how to do their job, I think I may receive a reaction that I hadn’t anticipated.

    Let us as SUPPORTERS concentrate on SUPPORTING – those are the only credentials we have!
    If we were able to manage or play, then we’d be doing just that!

    • almajir says:

      Are you saying we shouldn’t criticise anybody within the team?

      • Bluebird says:

        No! I’m not saying that we shouldn’t criticise anybody within the Team.
        My opening comment is: “I appreciate that we all have opinions….”
        But you know Almajir that there are people who just continually moan, whether they can justify their criticism or not – they never see anything positive in anything – that’s what creates the debate on the Forums.
        However, in talkincriticising an individual we are looking and watching and commenting on a person who is carrying out their life’s work….
        What effect do you think that is going to have on that person?

        Let me give you an example –
        If every time you wrote an article everyone came on your Site and criticised your opinion, your grammar, your spelling – even when you make a little mistake, what you write, your style of writing, etc
        Would you be encouraged to improve?
        Would you stay in the ‘job’ and say: “I don’t care what people think!”?
        Would you deliver at the top of your game?
        How it affects individuals is based on their individual psyche….
        But if a guy is obviously struggling with confidence and wants to please everyone surely there comes a time when we should all do the job we are supposed to do at the Club and support him in his endeavours.
        Last Thursday night when we all stood applauding as the clock hit 23mins the hair stood up on the back of my neck because of the genuine positivity and camaraderie between the Bluenoses and the fans of Club Brugge.
        Just look at the relationship that has been forged between us and that will never be forgotten….
        there is even talk of Pre Season Friendlies….
        Now – just imagine the effect on a player – any player – if we as supporters decided at one moment in the game to stand for one minute and applaud him and chant his name at the same time….
        How do you think that would affect Keith Fahey compared to hearing the “St Andrews’ Sigh”?
        Do you think he would be encouraged to play to the absolute top of his ability or do you think that he couldn’t wait to get off the pitch?

        The title we have is that of SUPPORTERS – therefore in my opinion we should support those players who are attempting to do their best for everyone at the Club.
        If we chose that ‘one minute’ support for each and everyone of our players at every match, it would only take 14mins and that would include the substitutes….
        But just imagine how that would make those players feel!

        • almajir says:

          I do get criticism – of my spelling and my grammar, of facts I get wrong and things like that. It’s the way things are – yes, it can be disconcerting but often it’s correct and it’s stuff I need to take care of. The thing is I don’t let it get to me, and if it’s constructive I take it on board and try to improve – life is about continuously improving what you can do.

          Keith Fahey is a professional footballer – he gets paid to play football. I can accept as a human it’s hard to take flak – although I don’t think he gets as much as someone like Jerome did from the terraces – but as a professional you have to expect it and you have to deal with it. I’m not saying that they should take abuse, but if Keith reads this on a website then I wouldn’t expect him to cry about criticism.

    • blue says:

      i definitely feel the same,and as supporter’s i think it’s easy to forget that it’s a TEAM game,and as such,needs al sorts of players. it’s not always easy to see what else someone offers a team,or adds to other players performance. fahey also gets picked by his national coach,so people who make there living from football,appreciate what he brings to a team. opinions are fine but we’d be mad to we were right or better than the managers who’s decision is based on knowing and see them train and interact with other players.

      for me,it’s not that fans criticise the fahey’s,Jeromes,Johnsons,,it’s the fans who bang on,and insist that they know more than the manager,especially when it comes to team building and team spirit. they’ve never considered they get picked because they do what their asked to do,and that that, is more important than what they don’t bring to a team..

  • Poppa999 says:

    I have deliberately watched Keith Fahey over the past couple of games. He has a slow loping style which looks as though he slows the game up. It is called ‘some player who can put his foot on the ball and spray it about’. Ferguson was that sort of player, but Keith isn’t. Against Bruges he ambled about watching rather than playing, and then in the second half he did a couple of neat balls, one that came off and one that didn’t (unfortunately).
    I don’t profess to know enough about the game to know what his role is, but if successive manager and International manager see fit to pick him, I bow to their knowledge. I know that when DJ played for us he got stuck in and Blues played better with him in the team.
    KFreminds me of Jonathan Hunt and Bryan Hughes. Keith will always remain one of those Marmite players I suppose.

  • Mark says:

    I agree with bluebird comments that if CH is left to manage, players have bad games but as a unit they are working together, sometimes it not about individuals it about the team. We as supporters believe we have devine right to criticise as we pay our money, but some of us don’t we just support our team through hardtime and when there is joy we keep right on to the end of the road……..kro

  • JC says:

    I’d agree about Keith Fahey. I don’t know if he has been selected for the upcoming International games but if he hasn’t been selected, then he can use the next two weeks to up his game and win the fans over.
    If CH manages to find any replacements in January, I can see him leaving us.

  • Bluehobba says:

    I agree with everyone on this site however this is a forum site. We all know Keith Fahey can play better and has played better. whoever doesn’t play very well will always get a bit of stick and whoever plays well will be lauded. Thats what fans do because they have opinions. I am sure that he is professional enough to rise above whats said or written and you would like to think he would want to prove his doubters wrong. CH,s opinion is important not mine but I still think Fahey can play better than he has been showing lately.

  • viperblue says:

    I do not get to many games nowadays as I am involved with non league football and
    don’t live in Brum anymore but One game i was at was last year at home against W.Ham
    Helb & Fahey were passagers in 1st half ,whole of team seemed uplifted when they went off.
    Now the games I have caught on tv & internet Fahey is playing exactly the same way and
    as such will attract critism from fans as all we expect very player however limited to put in
    a “shift” for the team
    Fahey seems to fail in this basic requirement but he is regulary picked by CH and by
    his international manager so as said before I perhaps am missing something.
    The other mantra maybe holds “never knock aboy in blue” KRO

  • john says:

    Give the boy a break, there are other players in the team worse but don’t get the pelters. Zidic & Doyle come to mind for starters.

  • Bluenosejohn says:

    I think it is summed up at the start; we have an element of fans who need someone to knock and this applies across all clubs not just ours ( Martin Grainger was a target at the start of his Blues career; doubtless those who criticised him at the start claimed they were his greatest supporters at the end ). Fahey is a decent enough player and certainly our manager thinks so ( he does have alternatives but Fahey does seem to be number 1 in the centre of midfield ). I would rather back Chris Hughton’s opinion than the element who see no good in him. If he was as polished a performer as some think he should be then he would not be playing for us for a start as a Premiership club would have moved in.

  • Bluenosejohn says:

    In the last two seasons we have been in the Championship Fahey has by my calculation started in 23 matches we have won 13 drew 5 and lost 5 which would tend to suggest that he must be making a positive contribution to the team.

    • bluenoseneil says:

      The stats speak for themselves.

      Give the lad a break and maybe encourage him as fans and we could see even more coming out of him, the team, and the squad…which – and I have said it before – for a bunch of Bosmans, loanees, kids and relegation players is performing very, very well.

      It’s good to expect more but we aren’t Southampton right now and need to be realistic.

      What IS realistic is winning our 3 games in hand and climbing the table, and giving Maribor and Braga 2 damn good games in the Europa to get us into the knockout stages.

      I think far too much time has been wasted on here whining about Fahey. He isn’t, hasn’t and never will be either the root of our problems or the Messiah we are looking for, but he doesn’t deserve the roastings he has been getting, just our support as fans and people who believe CH knows what he is doing!!

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Fahey can play, but that’s the problem – too often he doesn’t. If our players were like dogs, Stephen Carr would be a terrier, but Keith Fahey a spaniel – lot’s of running, but never properly getting stuck in. In the Bruges home match it was N’Daw who’d put the tackle in, Fahey who’d lurk nearby. Yes, Doyle is atrocious, but you get the impression he’s trying his best, even if he’s wrong. Fahey is capable of a lot, but he is inconsistent, cannot be relied upon, and comes across as a Poor Man’s Barry Ferguson. Maybe he wants out too, but nobody wants to buy him?

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    Dogs hmm…if Carr is a Terrier and Fahey a Spaniel what’s Zigic?

  • Wythall bluenose says:

    Fahey is very frustrating to watch.
    He is what I would call a very poor man’s Ray Wilkins. He will collect the ball from deep but then do nothing with it but pass it backwards or sidewards, never forwards.
    When attacking our 2 central midfielders are too deep or too far behind the play and when the balls are being cleared from the opponents box the midfielders are no where near to winning the second ball to keep the attack going.
    N’daw needs to be given more opportunity in the Championship rather than just in the Europa league.
    As for Ridgewell, don’t understand how he gets the shirt at left back over Murphy.
    Murphy has far more to offer in that role, both defensively and going forward, and is having his best season since arriving at the club.

  • jeff says:

    i struggle to understand the fahey knocking.he,s a talented boy gets pelted for either keeping possesion by going short or sometimes gives it away by trying a incisive pass.the more a player has the ball its pretty obvious he has more chances to give it away.if the centre two are too deep why isn,t c.h hollering at them all the time?perhaps he wants them deep?fahey and elliot by far the most talented in this squad.i remember blues fans slating betender because he was lazy…the lad was class.fahey isn,t lazy,i doubt c.h will drop him when mutch is back.infact he could then play more advanced has we,d have someone in front of the centre backs who could have the ball instead of fahey.i think he,s done more than enough of late.seems c.h agrees as he keeps playing him.

  • DoctorD says:

    Whether or not Fahey is any good, the fact is he is one of our players and CH will use him as he sees fit. The fact that he’s picked so often is probably more a sign of CH’s limited resources than anything else. I’m sure CH would like a world-beater in that slot, but he hasn’t got one and sadly KF will have to do. It’s not perfect but then that’s life. You never know, there may be other sides to him we don’t know about — maybe KF’s a great motivator in the dressing room or something or helps to get the most out of others in training. OK I’m struggling for reasons but in CH we trust, don’t we?


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