I got to thinking about players and managers of NUFC over time and I’ve noticed how a player or a manager can become a hero and then become a zero quite quickly.
Also the opposite can happen in that a player can start off as a zero, only to become a hero.
It’s strange how it all pans out isn’t it?
For instance, for all those that remember Kenny Dalglish coming to the club, he basically came with a high profile and we were excited that he was going to be the one to come and put the finishing touches to the team and take us into the dizzy heights of a Premier League title or some other silverware.
We didn’t fare too bad when he first came and in a way he was a sort of hero. Things soon turned sour though with the signings he made and as we all knew at the time, decent players in their prime but way past their best. He soon went from hero to zero!
On the opposite side of the coin, look at Chris Hughton. He basically took over the reins on a few occasions as caretaker and didn’t really do much and was basically way off anyones radar to become manager.
As we all know, he took us from the Championship into the Premier League as champions. He guided us to some cracking results in those opening games of our return to the Premier League, but in the clubs eyes (not the fans) he soon became a zero.
Fabricio Coloccini. We all know about his start to life in a Black and White shirt and I suppose very few, if any, of us gave him the lickings of a dog because he actually looked way out of his depth and looked like an accident waiting to happen, which it did on a few occasions.
What we didn’t really bank on though was him and Jose Enrique actually turning it all round and proving to possess the quality that someone obviously saw in them and they established themselves as NUFC hero’s.
I’ve mentioned the above as a basic insight into what I’m getting at.
Looking at it all though and thinking back, do you think we are too quick to sweep some managers/players under the carpet far too quickly because we expect them to produce at the drop of a hat without allowing them the time to integrate into a new culture and a new way of playing? Especially when you consider that the Premier League can be far more physical and frenetic than a lot of leagues they’ve been used to.
On managers, do you think we are far to quick to judge and make our feelings known when they don’t produce the results that we require or the football that we require?
I just happen to think that we, as fans of the club are too quick to judge.
When Enrique came, he was known as ‘The Bull’ but from what we saw, it was more his bulk than his pace and strength which proved correct in the early part of his time with us. I think he was classed as a big zero but luckily we seemed to afford him the opportunity to prove his worth.
Colo had a rougher ride because I think he could sense the fans discontent and his confidence and game suffered badly but he was strong enough to come through it and look what we have now. Sheer class.
It’s not just at our club obviously, it goes on at most, but it seems that we as fans have harboured a mentality of “we should be up there” instead of looking back and realising that we have no divine right based on a few flirtations with the top.
Don’t get me wrong…at the time we were up at the top, we did have a divine right to think and expect to have another go at it because we were in that position of strength but as we know, that seems to be a million miles away yet we all still hold onto it like a child with a teddy don’t we?
Over the years we have chopped and changed our team because players seem to be haphazard performance wise, meaning you get a brilliant one one week and the total opposite the next (Titus Bramble). Because of this , we have never really had a settled side , especially at the back and we all saw that the results we were getting at the time reflected that, especially when we got a few good hammerings or looked clueless in terms of being anywhere near a well drilled side.
We brought in players who we regarded as hero’s to try and change things, like Michael Owen, who as we all know was brought in to our amazement but he was a classic hero to zero based on attitude rather than his football nous.
I just think at times that we bring in certain players who start of nervously and we as fans, plus the club do not allow them the time to adjust, and what can look like a player who can excite, soon turns to one that flatters to deceive and vice versa.
Do you think, in your own mind, that we allow players and managers the time, whether it’s fans or the club, to actually show what they are really capable of, good, bad or indifferent?
Also, as we have seen this season we have had a settled side especially at the back and actually kept it like that , only altering it slightly due to injury/suspension and as we can see, it’s paid off even though at one time or another this season, all except Colo were in question, but at least this time, we gave the players the benefit of our doubt and so did the manager, basically giving them time to adjust and get into a pattern which as we can see, made us a well drilled unit due to that.
Now Ryan Taylor has been a classic hero to zero to zero to hero, like a bloody see saw, this season hasn’t he?
Obviously I can hear some of you saying,”oh yea Wolfie, I’ve made my mind up, he’s crap” but think about it. One minute he’s crap, the next he’s a saviour and the next, he’s getting used to it and the next, he’s out of his depth.
We just can’t make our minds up on this one can we, the same with Simpson but years ago, these players would have been let known in no uncertain terms that “you are not what we want, hop it, you are a zero”. Yet “now” we are more patient and seem to understand that sometimes we do actually have potential hero’s as long as they are given the opportunity to prove it, like Colo did.
How many players from past to present can you fit into the category of zero to hero and hero to zero?
Do you agree we have been far too rash with many players in the past in either putting them on a pedestal, only for them to fall, or having them fall, only for them to rise up to the heights again?