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Amo

98/99 Relegation?

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Yesterday marked 21 years since we were first relegated from the Premier League.

What exactly went wrong that season? Hodgson's a steady manager who's had a respectable career elsewhere, never flopping quite as catastrophically as he did with Rovers in 98/99.

We still had of players that got us to 7th the previous season. The likes of Flowers, Kenna, Sherwood, Flitcroft, McKinlay, Sutton, Gallacher etc. Not to mention the players Kidd brought in later on: McAteer, Gillespie and Carsley, who were all solid PL players. We had some young stars in Dunn, Duff, Johnson, and Jansen, who had a lot of untapped potential. There's no way on paper that squad should have been relegated. Sure, we signed our fair share of dollopers. Neither Darren Peacock or Christian Dailly were fit to lace Hendry's boots. Kevin Davies was an expensive flop who needed better man-management. Sebastian Perez looked an astute signing but failed to settle up norf. I never forget when he got sent-off against Chelsea for putting his face in the way of Le Saux's fist. 🙄 Stephane Henchoz tried to keep us up single-handedly but his efforts weren't enough. I think if we had signed a decent centre-back and a left-back, we would've avoided the drop that year. Marlon Broomes and Callum Davidson were far from PL quality.

However, in a way, relegation was a blessing in disguise. The club needed to learn it wasn't too good to go down, and that we couldn't keep throwing good money after bad. Without relegation, we probably wouldn't have had that renaissance under Souness and won the League Cup. It's a damn shame Uncle Jack never lived long enough to see us get back to the Premier League and lift silverware. 

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Posted (edited)

It's quite simple for me really Hodgson liked to over complicate things but didn't get the right people in to do the basics first. Ended up with a squad with cheap rubbish filling the gaps, big money wasted in areas that matter and inbetween still some good solid Prem players who struggled with his continental methods.

I think him not knowing the British market and expecting Prem players to be able to conform to his way in a short space of time was the main problem. It's a shame because there was periods it looked like we might be onto something with him but in the end he made a right dogs dinner of the squad.

Edited by tomphil

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Posted (edited)

Good thread. In my view Hodgson is really good at galvanising/motivating/organising average players but has often been found out when dealing with top class pros (or those that think they are).

He basically lost the dressing room after an initial honeymoon period and I felt that players like Sherwood (who I understand despised Hodgson) let us down really badly that season. Fast forward a number of years and Woy had a similar effect at Anfield. Ironic that even that ended for him at Ewood Park ultimately.

But even having said all that in terms of the final league position these things can still turn on pivotal moments and that Forest home game, had it gone the other way, would have made all the difference and could have seen us survive.

Edited by oldjamfan1

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Was it sacking Hodgson or Kidd that prompted Uncle Jack to bawl out the players? I'm sure I've read stories about both.

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2 hours ago, Amo said:

We still had of players that got us to 7th the previous season. 

Being pedantic, but pretty sure we finished 6th. We were in top 2 until January in his first season before fading badly, and I think it was a late Chris Sutton free-kick against Newcastle that got us into 6th.

As for the question, it's hard to say why we went so badly wrong. As mentioned, I think Sherwood was very anti-Hodgson and I imagine he was a big figure in the dressing room. I remember us playing alright in games in his 2nd season, but then losing. Kevin Davies struggles obviously didn't help, but we did have some poor players as well. I remember getting beaten 4-1 at home by Wednesday and thinking Broomes was way out of his depth. 

That would have been the same Wednesday side that we beat 7-1 at home the season before in one of Hodgson's first games. I remember him getting the best out of Ripley in particular early on. I think he pushed the full backs further forward, and this helped Ripley. 

 

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Just now, LeftWinger said:

Being pedantic, but pretty sure we finished 6th. We were in top 2 until January in his first season before fading badly, and I think it was a late Chris Sutton free-kick against Newcastle that got us into 6th. 

I knew it was 6th or 7th, just couldn't be assed to check 😂

I remember a lot of players going missing that season. Maybe it was Woy's training methods, maybe it was just bad luck, but I suspect there was more going on behind the scenes. Wouldn't be surprised if egotists like Sherwood and Sutton (rightly or wrongly) were undermining the manager.

Do you think we let go of Ripley too soon? I don't remember him tearing up many trees at Southampton. Perez was meant to be his replacement that summer.

In hindsight, we should've kept Beattie and spent that £7m for Davies on a defender or two. 

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2 minutes ago, Amo said:

I knew it was 6th or 7th, just couldn't be assed to check 😂

I remember a lot of players going missing that season. Maybe it was Woy's training methods, maybe it was just bad luck, but I suspect there was more going on behind the scenes. Wouldn't be surprised if egotists like Sherwood and Sutton (rightly or wrongly) were undermining the manager.

Do you think we let go of Ripley too soon? I don't remember him tearing up many trees at Southampton. Perez was meant to be his replacement that summer.

In hindsight, we should've kept Beattie and spent that £7m for Davies on a defender or two. 

In my mind Perez was a full back?

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Perez was a bit of both I think.

Actually looked ok in his first few games but like said couldn't settle.

I remember being surprised we let Ripley go that summer, he had a really good season in 97-98 and even got on the scoresheet for the first time since 1994!

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Aren’t you confusing him with the mighty Patrick Valery?

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We only won 7 games all season, and only one away. A brief recovery when Kidd took over, who was Manager of the Month in December. Two very disappointing away results towards the end of the season, 0-0 at Charlton when we had a stone wall penalty turned down when Ward was fouled in front of the Rovers fans, and after being 3-1 in front at Southampton, one of our relegation rivals, only drawing 3-3. This match was shown on the big screen at Ewood. Two wins would have taken it to the last game at Newcastle where we drew 1-1

Sutton only made 17 Premier League appearances, Gallacher  made 13,  both due to injury, scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. Sherwood was off to Spurs after making 19 appearances. These players had been a massive factor in our success in the previous season. Uncle Jack should never have had to see us relegated with that squad.      

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46 minutes ago, oldjamfan1 said:

In my mind Perez was a full back?

I think he was by trade but he mostly played right-wing for us.

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I think Perez could play either right back or right midfield. I thought he was pretty decent, but he didn't settle (maybe his wife had issues, or I may have dreamt that).

I remember him scoring away at Lyon in a game where we played Wilcox upfront as all out strikers were unavailable.

We also had Duff and Johnson coming through on the wings - the main reason for letting Wilcox and Ripley go I think. I remember someone at the time suggesting our struggles were due to Duff and Johnson not being as good defensively as Wilcox and Ripley were previously. Might have been something in that, as they were only kids, but Duff was obviously always going to be a much superior player to Wilcox.

 

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18 minutes ago, Rochdale Blue said:

Sutton only made 17 Premier League appearances, Gallacher  made 13,  both due to injury, scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. 

 

I did think they had missed quite a bit of the season. That, allied with the fact that Davies was a complete flop, were big contributing factors.

Having said that, as per my other post, we did draw away with Lyon without any strikers available. We did have a squad that should have been more than capable of staying up.

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37 minutes ago, LeftWinger said:

I think Perez could play either right back or right midfield. I thought he was pretty decent, but he didn't settle (maybe his wife had issues, or I may have dreamt that).

I remember him scoring away at Lyon in a game where we played Wilcox upfront as all out strikers were unavailable. 

Do you know if there's any footage of that game around? I could only find the home leg on Youtube:

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Amo said:

I think he was by trade but he mostly played right-wing for us.

I can't be arsed to look but I can't think that he played many games for us at all, ten or so? It was the notion that he was signed as some sort of Ripley replacement that didn't really ring true in my head.

Edited by oldjamfan1

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I’m sure that was the season twat sherwood went out of his way to get Perez sent off . I may be dreaming but twat le saux was involved . They went a long way in forcing Roy out 

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4 hours ago, tomphil said:

It's quite simple for me really Hodgson liked to over complicate things but didn't get the right people in to do the basics first. Ended up with a squad with cheap rubbish filling the gaps, big money wasted in areas that matter and inbetween still some good solid Prem players who struggled with his continental methods.

I think him not knowing the British market and expecting Prem players to be able to conform to his way in a short space of time was the main problem. It's a shame because there was periods it looked like we might be onto something with him but in the end he made a right dogs dinner of the squad.

Yes, I blame Tim Sherwood too.

Until Souness turned up Hodgson’s time was one of the most exciting times to be a Rovers fan. His start to the 1997 season was absolutely breathtaking.

This was the table after a 3-1 win at Highbury...

131B8E2D-BC0C-4A5D-BB07-C0510934908F.thumb.jpeg.ab6d616c1c5394d55d7338069829ef02.jpeg

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Like Rochdale Blue says, not having Gallagher or Sutton for a lot of the season dwas critical.

The replacements brought in for £9milliom (Ward and Blake) simply weren't good enough with no help from the manager. Jansen wasn't quite ready but interestingy he appeared to be have subbed in every game he started whilst Ashley Ward was left on the pitch.

Flitcroft was also injured almost all season and only made 8 appearances. He wasn't replaced properly until we signed Carsley in desperation at the end of March. (who was a shadow of the player he became at Everton)

Henchoz was being dragged down by having to play with either Peacock or Dailly.

A decent manager with that squad and that budget in the second half of the season would have kept us up

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If gossip was to be believed, we got relegated at home to Man United on a Wednesday night,  Our record signing Kevin Davies was up Tokyo Joe's till late on the Monday night before.

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I asked a few questions about this season in another thread. Maybe the change result one.

I did a bit of Wikipedia reading the other week to catch up as I don't remember much about it.

If I recall I think it went south halfway through his first season. his 1998 was horrific. He must have done something to lose the dressing room.

He was ahead of his time back then. My money is on players, more than likely the British ones, not taking a liking to a bloke who never played the game coming in and trying out new ideas learned from abroad.

Sutton and Gallacher being injured for most of the season didn't help either. Blake and Ward up front. Enough said.

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For me Everyone's looking back at Hodgson with way too rose tinted glasses. The problem imo was that he brought in a load of dross and split the dressing room down the middle between the remnants of the Premier League winning team who had always done the business and the new arrivals who didn't.

I was told at the time that Sherwood was particularly upset that he was on c 12k p.w. and a dolloper like Dahlin who was brought in for  £6m was suddenly on 20k. Fine if Dahlin is doing the business but not if he isn't, and especially more so when he's swinging the lead and never off the treatment table. Sherwood asked for a pay rise to bring him into something approaching parity. Uncle Jack said no as Sherwood had only signed a new contract 6-9 months previously. You can understand both their points of view but with the benefit of hindsight I think the most pragmatic decision would have been to give Sherwood a pay rise, avoid relegation and sell him the following summer.

The players were I understand also unhappy about extra training sessions introduced by Hosgson taking the view that the sessions did nothing to aid fitness as they were already fit,  but merely served to wear them out and exacerbate a bad injury crisis we had at the time.

I've always thought Hodgson performs well when there is no real expectation on him to perform at places like Fulham and WBA but if the pressure is on him to succeed he fails miserably ie at Jack Walker's Blackburn, Liverpool and England.

I felt sorry for Kidd after he came in. Lacked experience as a no 1 but the players let him down desperately badly and I think that led to Uncle Jack bawling the players out and accusing them of getting Kidd the sack as a poster alluded to above.

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5 minutes ago, speeeeeeedie said:

I asked a few questions about this season in another thread. Maybe the change result one.

I did a bit of Wikipedia reading the other week to catch up as I don't remember much about it.

If I recall I think it went south halfway through his first season. his 1998 was horrific. He must have done something to lose the dressing room.

He was ahead of his time back then. My money is on players, more than likely the British ones, not taking a liking to a bloke who never played the game coming in and trying out new ideas learned from abroad.

Sutton and Gallacher being injured for most of the season didn't help either. Blake and Ward up front. Enough said.

May be wrong but  I thought Kidd signed Ward and Blake.

Other dross like £7m Davies, £6m Dahlin, £5m Dailly and Darren Peacock were Hodgson's brainchilds unless my memory is failing me.

You're right we had an abysmal run for about nine months under Hodgson from Christmas up until the time he was sacked the following season which would have translated into relegation had it happened over a single season. 

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26 minutes ago, RevidgeBlue said:

I felt sorry for Kidd after he came in. Lacked experience as a no 1 but the players let him down desperately badly and I think that led to Uncle Jack bawling the players out and accusing them of getting Kidd the sack as a poster alluded to above.

Jack takes some blame for appointing Kidd.

Like Hartford wasn't Daglish, Kidd was never going to be Fergie.

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6 minutes ago, Hasta said:

Jack takes some blame for appointing Kidd.

Like Hartford wasn't Daglish, Kidd was never going to be Fergie.

Indeed, it was a gamble that backfired but at the time everyone was cockahoop thinking we'd put one over on Ferguson and Man Ure. 

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