Martin O'Neill attends a meeting with other managers to find out he needs more players

I know he is hoping to try to strengthen the squad a wee bit but it was a meeting last week where something suddenly hit home for Martin O'Neill and I have to tell you it surprised me a little.

You see, it was only when someone put up a graph showing the number of players we played with in the Premier League last season that Martin O'Neill figured out it was 2009 and not 1989.

It takes more than fight and determination in this league. Those two attributes will only get you so far. You need quality numbers too and while we have a few coming through the ranks and the manager is hoping to try and find some more, they have to be used also.

Martin O'Neill
At the end of last week, I went to a meeting for managers and they put up some interesting statistics. They showed that 17 of our lads had played in the Barclays Premier League last season. Other teams had used 23, 27 and others over 30.

I was a wee bit surprised. I knew how many we had used but I didn't realise it was less than anyone else. It is a team game. We are trying to get some extra players in if we can and in our own way, we're hoping to look after the players. There's a long way to go.

Yes, this is a direct criticism of our manager, because this is something we have all known about and has been often discussed in the forum and in the comments on this site, so why has it taken the manager so long?

Surely, he is looking at other teams, surely he is looking at statistics, surely you look to at the teams above you to try and identify why they are doing better. What I mean is, why go to a meeting to learn this, don't we as a club have people doing this for us, analysing data and presenting it to the manager?

I'm not saying he is wrong, at not looking around and only trying to do it his way, but every man and his dog chewing the football fat knows it is about a squad of players these days and playing a consistent game.

I don't know why this was published by the club site, as it only goes to suggest that our manager is a little out of the loop, but if it also acts as an incentive for the manager to go out and spend some money to strengthen the squad, then it can only be a good thing, but it still baffles me that he had to find this out at a meeting so many months after the season ended.

There is another meeting next week where they will be putting up a graph showing some statistics on the merits of playing five men in the middle when your opponents are playing five men in the middle and the talk is there is going to be a game of 'pass the ball' at the end, but they fear O'Neill might try to throw to the man furthest away, while quickly running to him to try and get it back as quickly as possible, so he might not be getting an invite.