Archie’s Alternative Outlook

Not good enough!
Living where we do we are regularly exposed to what can be most politely described as the nether region, or arse – end of the Customer Satisfaction scale.

House maintenance for example. A plumber (or Paloom – Bear, as it is pronounced here) is someone who may know the difference between wet and dry, but can’t necessarily do anything about it. Air Conditioning experts can sometimes spell AC, while a good electrician is one that is breathing by virtue of the fact that he hasn’t electrocuted himself – yet.

Car salesmen? The one who sold us a white car that had mysteriously turned red when we went to pick it up must be down there somewhere.

As if to prove a point, as I sit writing this my wife has just called to tell me that the tap in the garden, which was replaced 2 days ago by the Paloom – Bear because it was leaking, has just fallen off the wall, leaving just the pipe sticking out.

Apart from the obvious humour – at 7:30 in the morning she was drenched head to foot in cold water – how does a tap just fall off?

Twenty years ago a mate took his car to a garage to have the oil and brake pads changed and asked them to look at a problem with the automatic gearbox.

He picked up the car and they told him everything had been done and charged him around 80 quid. A bargain.

Further discussion revealed that everything had been done but they didn’t have a filter so couldn’t change the oil, didn’t have the pads so couldn’t do the brakes, and couldn’t find anything wrong with the gearbox.

Suddenly not such a great bargain.

Cars are a good source of comedy here. A colleague put his car in to have some burnt cabling replaced and when it came back the stereo was in upside down. They had also replaced the burnt cable and ran it over the top of the battery, so he couldn’t change the battery.

I put a car into a small workshop once to have a rattly speaker repaired but they didn’t have the parts. They called back a few days later telling me that if I could bring the car in immediately they could do the work. Turned out they had another car in, the same as mine, and that bloke was old and never listened to the radio.

The secret to not just exploding on the spot is what my company refers to as Expectation Management. The sad thing is that they use that phrase a lot, which ultimately suggests that we know we are offering poor quality.

If you aim high with the expectations you are likely to be disappointed. If you aim low it’s amazing how many times you come away with a smile on your face, pleasantly surprised.

You may call it pessimism (or miserablebuggeritis) – I call it experience. And of course, Expectation Management.

When it comes to my football team, however, my expectations are a little higher.

We can, and do, spend hours trying to persuade each other that our particular favourite is the best player on the park but I pretty much think that when the mouse is put to bed at the end of the day our opinions pretty much remain unchanged from when he was first roused and started the day earier that morning with his usual bowl of Cheesy Balls!

I might think that Shola The Mackem Slayer is the best striker we’ve got, but you might disagree. Again and again.

And Again.

So what defines “good”?

Is it the stats, the write ups, the ratings?

Personally I’d tie it to who comes a knocking during the transfer window.

Are their suitors above us or below us in the league? Are they even in our league?

If you are being looked at by the likes of Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal, and Spurs, then surely that would suggest quality?

If you are being looked at by Championship or lower teams then that can’t be a good sign.

Oddly enough if you are being looked at by no-one I think that would put you somewhere in the middle.

Shola once had a medical for Norwich.

Time to wind Toonsy up now , because I know he’ll disagree with me here, but the Champions League Teams are hardly knocking the door down trying to get to Willo, Perch and Simpson.

OK. Nitty gritty time.

Who is good?

Well in my opinion Colo, Tiote, Ba, Krul, Ben Arfa, Guthrie and Cabaye though Cabaye seems to have lost interest lately.

Who is just OK?

Jonas, Ryan Taylor, Best, Santon. Admittedly Santon is showing improvement, but I’m rating them on what they are now, not what they might be in the future (or were in the distant past).

Who are not good enough for a team in 6th place?

Williamson, Perch, Simpson, Obertan, Lovenkrands and of course our old mate Shola.

The rest, including Cisse, just haven’t had enough games to really sway me one way or the other.

I personally think that referring to someone as a “squad player” is just another way of saying they are not good enough for a regular place and are happy to play reserve football and carry on taking the money.

So called “squad players”, by definition should not be getting regular games. We have too many squad players in our first team.

Here’s a challenge for Toonsy.

How about a poll where everyone gets to rate the players above in order, 12 points for their best player down to 1 point. Find out who the fans think is good, who is just OK and who is destined for lesser things.

Really – I suppose we could just do a statistical analysis based on their salary and how quick Ashley was to sign them to long term contracts.

Bugger – the wife has just called to say that wor dog Titus has just bitten the Paloom – Bear. Suppose we better do the decent thing and take him for a jab.

God knows what diseases a plumber can give your dog these days.

52 thoughts on “Archie’s Alternative Outlook

  1. In order from the top the players I want to see next year

    Then Simpson / Guthrie / Santon / Raylor / Perch all useful to have around but not key.


  2. great article very thought provoking santon williamson guthrie simpson lovenkrands would be shifted out the door first with shola and perch close behind imo next season with 5 or 6 better signings tan them i would let go the next level is a possibility 😎


  3. Don’t agree at all i’m afraid, there are obviously a couple of places in the first team not to the standard we desire, and you are right that because of injuries this season we have seen more than we should of our squad players.

    But you fail in lack of comparisons to teams around us. Most teams have a starting XI that matches their ambition and then varying degrees of squad strength.

    EVERY team above us would have fans that look at players in their squad and think “they are title chasing/champions league quality”.

    People on here focus too much on the likes of Shola and Perch, it doesn’t matter atm, it will be a long, long time before we have an all round good squad.

    Summer aims:
    Either a new RB or new LB
    A young decent, cover for Saylor and Colo
    The ability to play a formation that suits HBA/Ba/Cisse
    Xisco/Smith/Harper/Loven off the wage bill

    I don’t expect us to see much other than that and tbh I don’t think anything else is in grave need of overhaul, those small steps would make me happy for next season.
    I know our wings aren’t the strongest but we aren’t even sure whether we can use a formation that requires out and out wingers to utilise HBA.

    Archie I just don’t know what you are expecting of squad players. We just won’t be able to sign players of your expected quality that are happy to sit on the bench, especially as we aren’t throwing money around.


  4. I mean look at Jonny Evans and some of Man U’s team, lots of players that you clearly aren’t at the level of European champion aspirations.

    Your squad players will always be of less quality than your ambitions. Fact.


  5. Solanostrumpet

    agree that the most important thing in the summer is to find a formation that accommodates our best & most creative players.

    Also a bit of strengthening at the back would help.

    The other area I want is to be able to look at the bench and identify game changers, who can come on and either close up the shop or find the goal we need.


  6. Yeah…squad players are just a necessary part of football, even the top top teams “carry” players. Take Barca as well-Look at Pedro, in the past couple of seasons he was essentially a first teamer for the best team in the world, but he’s really nothing special. Now he’s a squad player, maybe he was a squad player then, but he still played in the majority of their matches, scored in the champions league final etc etc….

    We just need to ship out the really poor players, or perhaps the ones we can get a decent profit on if its going to be spent elsewhere….the poll idea sounds good though.


  7. Premandup-We already have that game changer. Shola Ameobi? Stealing points off Spurs and the Mackems? 😆 :mrgreen:


  8. Got about 4 possibly 5 real quality players 3/4 good players and then alot of filler. Since we came back up we are seeing a gradual improvement but it’ll probably take another two/three years before we have a real quality squad that can really challange the big boys consistently.


  9. Colo, Saylor, Krul, Cabaye, HBA, Ba, Cisse – all top players.
    Jonas, Santon – very good.
    Guthrie, Shola, Perch – good enough for place sometimes.
    Vuckic, Abeid, Fergie, Tavernier – good for gradual inclusion.

    The rest are rubbish and should be dumped!


  10. Aha – missed Tiote from top line! So with only 17 decent to good players we need a full back, 2 centre backs and a back up goalie minimum.


  11. Solano Strumpet @ 3
    I think the point here is that the starting 11 of the teams above us would be wanted by other teams. And the same goes for a number of the teams below us.

    We are in a fairly well earned 6th place and we dont have that.

    So how are we there? Buggered if I know is the answer. But we’re definitely carrying baggage.


  12. Newkie
    Shola’s just not consistent enough. Gotta love him for what he’s done to Sunderland, but its a bit optimistic calling him a game changer.
    Goals to games tell us that.


  13. I think we have a good team and a decent squad , there is room for improvement on both acocunts. There is a few players I would have no problem in leaving , such as Williamson Perch Best to name but 3. But if they were all to stay next season Im sure they will and can contribute to next season. and again I would have no problem with them staying.

    We are slowly building up here which is the for continued success in my eyes. Yeah we will lose one or two of our better players along they way but I would argue we will replace them with better players. And we will bring in enough players for our squad to grow.

    The next thing we need to do is get a few of our younger players to develop and push for starting places and grow our squad that way. They have some great potential , Vuckic Fergie Sammi etc etc but the club need to get the potential out of them for us to bring proper success to this club , ie competing and winning trophies.


  14. But most the starting XI of our team ARE linked to other teams, only a couple aren’t really.

    It’s like you’re comparing our squad players to other teams first teams. Even players that have been genuine first teamers for Man Utd like Evans or Carrick aren’t exactly top of Europe’s transfer most wanted.

    I just don’t understand the message behind the article, you claim to be envious of many teams below us, I would quite like you to name the class squad players that are making you feel so, Bramble and Bendtner? Hibbert and Anichibe? Christ even Arsenal have bloody awful players like Chamakh in their squad.

    We’re dangerously close to becoming labelled delusional geordies again, and i think it would be justified.
    So many of you want rid of Williamson and Simpson.
    Do you not realise that would leave us with no proven Rbs or Lbs and only two CB’s that can even play just at championship level.
    Utter madness.

    Please just actually look before you leap, would you actually take Hibbert/Bardsley etc over Simmo? And yet you wouldn’t even accept him as part of the squad.

    Just blows my mind, this season has shown we have a quality first team, our squad just needs minor tweaks over the next couple of seasons without losing anyone, squad players like Best are crucially important to getting to the next level, WE AREN’T GOING TO ATTRACT 25 TOP 6 PLAYERS.


  15. Well first of all, mate, we wouldn’t get rid of anyone without replacing them with some one better.

    Secondly – aye we have been phenomenal this season – basically defying the odds.

    Lets maybe look at this from a different angle.

    If you could replace 3 players , who would they be?


  16. sadly i think our squad isnt up to much,we should of bought a centre back in jan [only hope we dont lose too many points because of it] or it will cost us dearly.still think we want a right back,right winger and two strikers after best and lovenkrands go in the summer. lets try and get sturridge and adam johnson in early then sort out the defence,lets face it were going to lose someone to raise decent cash so cmon big man dig deep


  17. Archie another excellent read mate 😆 and I agree with a lot of what you say, and I agree 100% with who you say arn’t good enough, but I can’t see us bringing many good new faces in, maybe 1 or 2.

    ST apart from Krul, Tiote, Ba and maybe Cabaye who else are being linked with moves to who ??


  18. I think clearly it would be Xisco/Smith/perhaps Lovenkrands.

    I’m not claiming our squad is perfect, but our defence is very thin, I would be happy to keep Williamson and sign someone to be 3rd choice in front of him, and sign a right back/left back to push Simmo further down. But i think we are dreaming if we believe the Ashley will sell those two and buy two full backs and two new centre backs.

    I guess it all depends on your aims, next year I would be hoping to consolidate 7th to well and truly cement ourselves as the best of the rest before pushing and aiming for champions league. And I believe our squad with minor changes is capable of that.

    Which squads around us are you envious of?

    @Dave, well i didn’t take the “being linked to other clubs” literally, don’t think Archie meant it like that as it’s not like we see Roon or Hernandez etc constantly linked to clubs. I took it as “if they were available who would be interested”


  19. Our early season form has shown that we have the bones of a top top defence, the signings of Cisse and hopefull accomodation of HBA will see us step it up attacking next year.

    Evolution not revolution.

    Again: Xisco/Smith/Loven/Harper out
    Fullback/3rd choice centre back in

    Probably all we should do this summer, HBA and Cisse are nowhere near integrated to the team yet so we don’t want too much change all at once.


  20. OK, STrumpet
    If you could replace 3 REGULAR team players, who would they be?
    Xisco? Smith? Lovenkrantz? Surprised you didnt manage to include Beardsley in there somewhere.

    Howay man, play the game here.

    Aye – when I say Linked To Other clubs I mean only rumours that we are actually concerned about. Something with a bit of substance.


  21. STrumpet
    As much as I think he’s over rated, our early season form seems to have deserted us following Steven Taylors injury.

    I agree with you that HBA stepping up to the plate is our future.

    Or should that be be Pardew stepping up to the plate?


  22. Great read mate, agree with what you said apart from guthrie think he can be a great player although he is a little slow- would prefer mark davies tho.

    i do think we will see 5 or 6 players coming in over the summer but ive got a ba feeling we will lose tiote for about 20 mil, hope not like, but we all know to pay for players we need to sell a big name until we have the revenue to afford it.


  23. Sorry ST it’s just that you said that most of our players ARE linked so I took it that you meant what you were saying 😕 I didn’t realise that you were just making up your own points to back you up 😆


  24. BigDave
    I actually think that we are a Gnats from a bloody good team.

    Just watched an old interview with Sir Les where he said that in the old days , when he had the likes of Gillespie, Beardsley and Ginola providing the service, scoring goals was a doddle.

    Service – sound familiar?

    HBA? a start.

    Who else have we got?

    Cabaye? When he’s on form.

    Jonas? Love him to bits but he’s doesnt get enough balls into the middle.

    Obertan? Same as Jonas

    We’re at least one short midfield.

    But, damn, we’re doing good.


  25. i think STaylor’s return next year will be huge. Need another CB maybe a RM but not a whole lot else. The key will be hanging on to Tiote since I don’t realy see any of our other top plaeers leaving. But if chelsea’s going to offer 25M, I wouldn’t turn it down.


  26. Archie..I’m hoping Marveux could be the one to provide some much needed ammo for the forwards…..if we can get him, then keep him fit. 😕


  27. Alex, I think with Ashley’s business plans these days we have to get used to the fact that we can lose good players when the offers come in, and they will be replaced.

    I think Guthie covered for Tiote well but just didn’t have the edge.

    But he’s certainly what every one else is happy to call a “squad” player.

    Trouble is – he doesnt agree. I think next season we”ll see him playing regular football for one of the teams in the bottom half.

    He may even make the England team.


  28. MDS – Tiote is pivotal to our success…now and in the future. He is one of the top DM in the country at the moment and no amount of money will replace him in my eyes.


  29. Richietoon
    I think Marveaux has serious potential.

    But I like t o differentiate between potential and current ability.

    I think Ferguson has potential and Sammeobe too , if he pushes himself.

    What about Abeid too?

    Ashleys a clever bloke – he’s bought into some serious potential.


  30. Archie-I’m half serious with Shola, but I *do* think he’s good enough to keep around, and I do think he can change a game. He may not be able to do it in every match-who can?-but providing he’s fully fit he can come on and use the energy he actually has in the last 20 odd minutes to cause problems and possibly score a goal.

    He can also be brought on to see a game out…its not really what we want from our forwards, but as big Al showed it can save some vital points.


  31. Archie….aye that’s the trick, getting them to realise the potential although I’d argue that Marveux has alot more experience than the others you’ve named, so it’s been his fitness that is stopping him realise his potential as opposed to age and lack of first team opportunities for the rest.


  32. I think Marv could be a good player and maybe give us something that we badly need, As for Sammi I just don’t think he will make it, he reminds me of a headless chicken but he could change with age.


  33. Aye archie hes a great passer of the ball, but like you said doesnt have that speed trouble is if he leaves which he probably will and we sell tiote which is very possible unless of course tiote refuses to move, but then again when chelsea offer 120 k a week he wont turn that down.

    who de we bring in as a replacement. it will have to be some one like marvin martin to ease that blow like.


  34. MDS
    Sad fact of life – some teams actually keep their transfer business secret.

    We’ve got half a dozen players that could be tempted to the dark side if the deal was right

    Krul, Tiote, Ba, Colo, Santon and even Cisse are all vulnerable


  35. Newkie

    You could be right mate.

    There’s times when I think defences look at players and say WTF?

    But in all seriousness – I’ve compiled my own Shola stats and he is actually more likely to fall over than successfully complete a pass.

    How does that fall in with our plans for global domination?


  36. Alex
    You make a great point mate.
    At the end of the day they are doing it for money and no matter how well you are paid, enough money to buy a new Range Rover every week will turn the heed of the most loyal geordie warrior


  37. RichieToon
    I think we are focussed more on what may be rather than what is.

    When I do my Alternative Assessments I try to rate on what a player has actually done on the day rather than history or potential.

    Personally I think Jonas is a star because he tries. I thought the same about Peter Ramage. There was a bloke who would fall over because his feet couldn’t keep up with his enthusiasm.

    Bit like Scholes. Tries and tries but is slightly lacking in the actual skill department.

    But I try to look at what they have actually done on the field

    A lot of fans are hooked on personality


  38. @23
    Why are they your rules?

    To me it makes more sense to get rid of players that at some point have nothing to offer the squad than those that could still serve a purpose.

    Do you genuinely think it would be a good idea to sell Willo? He showed he is competent in the division last year without excelling, if he was 4th choice and we had an up and coming youngster pushing him I would be fine with him in the squad. Why you are more concerned with getting rid of the likes of Shola than Xisco I don’t know.

    The amount of time people spend on here complaining about our 4th choice striker is fcking ridiculous.


  39. EvilFranky says:
    March 23, 2012 at 17:31
    MDS – Tiote is pivotal to our success…now and in the future. He is one of the top DM in the country at the moment and no amount of money will replace him in my eyes.
    Very good player. But no one is irreplaceble.


  40. Success is based on stability, getting rid of top draw players that form the spine of our team will only end in tears.


  41. We sold arguably 4 pretty good players last year and that worked out pretty darn well.

    I personally hope we don’t lose anybody but that would be ignoring the reality of football


  42. ST the amount of time you spend on here trying to tell people that their opinion is wrong and that yours is right is fuking ridiculous.

    why make this statment > But most the starting XI of our team ARE linked to other teams, only a couple aren’t really.

    Then when challenged to name names you reply with > well i didn’t take the “being linked to other clubs” literally, don’t think Archie meant it like that

    So what were you trying to say or what point were you making ?


  43. Jesus Dave, chill man.

    I was responding to this of Archie:
    “I think the point here is that the starting 11 of the teams above us would be wanted by other teams. And the same goes for a number of the teams below us.”

    Okay I bad choice of a word, if you are going to be pedantic i won’t entertain this conversation. I meant all of our players would* be linked to good teams barring a couple.

    I believe this is a direct answer to Archie’s point, if you can’t see that I can’t help you i’m afraid man.
    You say only Tiote/Ba/Krul/etc are linked, but how many of Man Utd’s players are “linked” to clubs all the time? It’s only ever a few players, I think, and Archie can correct me if i’m wrong, it was saying which clubs *would* be interested in certain players.

    Bit more clarity for you there?


  44. ST I wouldn’t know how many Manure players are linked with other teams because I don’t follow them and have no interest in them.
    and yeah bad choice of words considering you highlighted the ARE to make a point.
    I don’t have a problem with other bloggers opinions and never had even when they were real crazy ones, because everyone is entitiled to their own opinion even if it’s to complain about our 4th choice striker with out being abused or rediculed, but it seems to me and I may be wrong that you seem to go out of your way to tell others that they’re wrong, and that we should just all be happy with what we’ve got and be content with a few tweaks here and there,.


  45. I’m passionate about what I believe in. You might be able to just ignore posts you don’t agree with, I struggle to, at times there can be absolute bile posted about our players that I can’t help but respond to. If you believe that everyone is entitled to abuse, praise, ridicule whoever at the club then you should believe in my right to respond to that/

    And yes. I believe we should be happy with what we have. And we should be content with a few tweaks here and there. That doesn’t mean you have to, it’s my opinion, but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it more than picking flaws in everything you can.


  46. ST at times I have seen some shit wrote on here about players etc and sometimes I challenge the person saying it, but I always try to talk to the person the way I would like to be spoke to.
    But again maybe im wrong but you can come across as rather condescending and patronising to ones that don’t share your views.

    As for “but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it more than picking flaws in everything you can.” how can you guarantee that when you don’t even know who I am except a name on a blog ❓

    To me that is saying that we should be happy to feed off what ever scraps Jabba decides to throw us and never question him or point out clear flaws in our team 😯


  47. Fair I should probably work on the way in which I talk to those whose views i disagree with.

    At times if I see a post by a name i don’t recognise I genuinely think it’s a smb trolling though, i mean our team have weaknesses but there is always such a disproportionate feeling of discontent on here, we’re on course for our best season for 9 years 😯

    Perhaps in future i’ll just avoid get embroiled in a negative-positive debate on here. I know we should constantly be looking to improve but I don’t want to be a fan that never just enjoys the ride. I mean come on Dave we have had some fans on here calling for Pards head or saying he’s clueless, I shouldn’t react but it’s hard to restrain myself!


  48. ” The amount of time people spend on here complaining about our 4th choice striker is fcking ridiculous.”

    Presumably the amount of time people spend defending a fourth choice striker is just as ridiculous?


  49. ST – was going to disagree with you on a few points there but the time difference here meant I was in my pit, and by the time I logged back on – well, hardly seems worth it now.

    I’m just very surprised that you seem perfectly happy with our entire team.


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