I’ve had this thought for a little while now that maybe our much loved Captain just isn’t cutting the mustard as our leader on the pitch.
I get why he’s got the job though as he’s an amazing role model and he’s adored by the Geordie faithful. He is one of our best performers and one of the first names on the teamsheet, of that there can be no doubt. I just have doubts about his leadership qualities.
The defeat to Arsenal on Monday evening turned my doubts into serious ones. Our squad has skill, there is no doubt about that but sometimes I’m left frustrated by our lack of concentration and application on the field.
Par examplé, Obertan gets a lot of stick for sloppy passes and not having that killer instinct with his final ball. Rightly so, but is he a bad footballer? I’d say he’s got the skill he just switches off or panics. Gutierrez, our work horse, was stood practically picking his nose when they kicked off after Hatem Ben Arfa’s superb strike had us putting champagne on ice. The result? Arsenal was left a bucket load of room to execute a swift attack resulting in Mike Williamson tying himself up in knots trying to keep up with Robin Van Porcie’s box manouvere’s. My reasoning for the goal? Lack of concentration.
At some point or another during the season every player has been guilty of this. Tiote’s passing, Ben Arfa trying to beat one person too many, Ba changing his mind on his run up to the penalty spot. Individually they all have a responsibility to switch themselves on but they’re not the supermen we make them out to be. They’re human and therefore error-prone.
So now we come to my point. Whose job is it to motivate the team into concentrating? Alan Pardew can only do so much from the touchline and so as the captain it’s fab Fab’s responsibility. So far I haven’t seen a lot of that motivating. He seems to be very diplomatic etc which is a very good trait to have when dealing with referee’s and getting your own players out of bother with the officials when it turns ugly, an example being Tim Krul showing his age and letting his fellow countryman get to him. He completely bit. Hopefully he learns.
I am lucky enough to own a season ticket, it’s my pride possession, even before my Toyota Celica and my fiancé. It lets me view all the players at the same time instead of whoever the camera is on. I like to watch Colocinni in particular as he’s a magnificent centre half, a professional and a model human being (I think I fancy him a bit too but don’t tell the mrs) but what I never see is strong leadership skills. I want to see him screaming at his players to get back in defence, or to shout ‘GET THE FUDGE OUT’ once Krul has swept the ball up into his arms. I want to see him shouting at Williamson to ‘TURN AND FACE’ if the opposition is on an attack. I want to see him have a go at a player when they mess up as well as give them their dues when they pull out a worldy. Unfortunately I don’t see this. Kevin Nolan had this down to a fine art and I’ll concede that you have to have a certain personality to be able to pull this off. I just don’t think Coloccini has that personality.
Please do not take this article the wrong the way. I love Colocinni so much. He’s brightened up our ground no-end and he has the best football chant in the world. I just think there could be a better Captain in that squad for us. Who knows? It could get us an extra 20 points in a season so it’s worth a debate.
Howay then. Let the grief commence.
Thanks for reading. Nobby.