Date: 8th February 2010 at 9:59pm
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Nearly three months have passed since Kevin Dillon took over as manager of Aldershot Town. The Shots currently sit in 9th place in League Two, yet the boss has come under criticism from sections of the Aldershot support.

From day one there have been people on the message boards and on the terrace who were unsure about the appointment of the former Reading assistant. This is thought to be the first issue, his ex-Reading connections. Any Shots fan over a certain age still considers the Championship side to be our main rivals and due to this he was never going to be made to feel welcome by sections of the crowd.

Secondly, the tactics that he largely employs, which are much different to the all out attacking style adopted by Gary Waddock. Dillon’s first match in charge finished 0-0 at home to Macclesfield on an afternoon of great frustration for us. The tactics that day were spot on for me, but Macc came down with a game plan and stuck to it and managed to grind out a draw.

There’s no doubting that the defence has tightened up since Waddock left in October. We hadn’t kept a clean sheet under Waddock all season and it wasn’t until a 0-0 draw at Rotherham, under Jason Dodd, that the opposition failed to break down the Aldershot defence. This improved defence allowed us to grind out draws when needed; Notts County and Tranmere Rovers away being two prime examples. Both games were widely considered games we would have lost under Waddock, however there were still a vocal minority who slammed the ‘negative tactics’ employed by Dillon.

I’ve always been of the opinion that a manager has to set his team up to play in a way that will get results. There’s no doubting that we had a lot of defending to do in the matches at County and Tranmere, but it got results that an attacking approach probably wouldn’t have.

Another thing that appears to have irritated some fans is Dillon’s, shall we say, out-spoken views. Following a 1-0 win over Chesterfield Dillon was doing an interview for BBC Radio Surrey where he publicly expressed his dismay at the lack of training facilities available throughout the week. For years fans have been bemoaning a lack of professionalism around the club, yet when the manager speaks out it’s deemed as dis-respectful to ‘our club’. The way I see it, we’re a professional football club that had nowhere to train in the build up to a big match and Kevin Dillon had every right to be unhappy about this. He personally set about looking for a permanent facility and as a result, the team have found somewhere suitable.

On the whole, results haven’t been too bad. In all competitions Aldershot have played 14, won 5, drawn 5, lost 4 under Dillon – including a fantastic 5-2 win away at Dagenham, but also a disappointing 6-1 drubbing at Burton.

Aldershot started the new year by picking up a point at home to table topping Rochdale, before beating 2nd placed Bournemouth in a thrilling local derby infront of over 4,300 fans at The Rec. This good feeling didn’t last long, however, after defeat at Accrington was followed by a lacklustre display against 23rd placed Grimsby, in a game that the Shots were lucky to get a point from after the Mariners missed a late penalty. Dillon’s 4-5-1 formation was criticised, on an afternoon where Dillon switched to 4-4-2, which saw an improved performance. There were calls for the Shots to go 4-4-2 at Barnet on the weekend and Dillon duely obliged.

In the run up to the Barnet match Dillon publicly dropped goalkeeper Mikael Jaimez-Ruiz and replacing him with loanee Stephen Henderson. This was a questionable decision to say the least, after Ruiz had impressed in goal after finally coming out of Nikki Bull’s shadow in the summer. My feelings were that Dillon had put himself under pressure with this move, as if the goalkeeper was at fault for any goals at Barnet then the responsibility would land squarley on the manager’s shoulders.

Two crosses weren’t dealt with and the keeper was out of position for their second as Barnet ran out 3-0 winners. By the end of the game, those Shots fans who hadn’t already headed for the exit were chanting for Ruiz with chants of ‘Aldershot’s number one’ reverberating around the away terrace. My view on Saturday is that Dillon got it wrong and I feel the tactics employed don’t work with the players he has at his disposal. A creative and skillful squad resorted to punting the ball up field for most of the match, not creating much and defending poorly at the back. It’s not pretty on the eye and the results haven’t been coming in recent games.

The fans got what they wanted as Dillon went with 4-4-2 and now most seem to be in favour of 4-5-1 returning for Friday’s trip to Northampton. Whatever Dillon goes with, he needs to find results soon. Like Megson at Bolton and Strachan at Celtic, I don’t think Mr Dillon will ever be completely accepted by the Aldershot faithful and patience will wear very thin, very fast.

Personally I’m happy to give Dillon time to build his own squad in the summer and see how he does, but unfortunatley I appear to be in the minority.