It’s been a while since I wrote about my beloved and to those who took the time to read my articles and have their say in the past will know that I have never had much love for The Regime. When you don’t hear from me it’s because I begrudgingly accept that they’re getting things right – I just don’t want to admit it!
Some things cut too deep for me though and despite a great season last year, I haven’t ever waivered from my opinion that our club is not only failing to meet it’s true potential (or anything even close to it) but it’s close to imploding – again.
Many say that the season in The Championship helped us no end to get rid of deadwood, but I am afraid that won’t happen this time ladies and gents. Sorry to say but our true talent in the first team were brought in with the promise of glory and we are anything but honouring that commitment to them.
I commend our transfer policy in some aspects. Ben Arfa was a coup at that price as was Tiote and Cabaye. Despite Tiote’s form this season and suspensions, for that money it was great business. Debuchy is the latest coup and after watching him very briefly in the famous stripes he oozes class.
Let’s not forget about Gosling (that actor Ryan I hear you shout? Nah it’s some lad from Plymouth, he used to play for Everton), Marveux and Obertan who were either signed on a free or for very little meaning that the fact they haven’t worked out as planned isn’t such a kick in the proverbials.
I think the policy that we don’t just look for talented stars but look for personalities that fit the dressing room is excellent and how it should be. We just never seem to have a contingency plan though. If we miss out on our key target then we are either left to bring someone in which isn’t ideal (which we don’t do – rightly so in a lot of respects) or we don’t sign anyone.
Are we putting all our eggs in one basket and when they don’t hatch we go without to our detriment?
We have experienced long running transfer sagas and on the other hand have seen signings come out of nowhere to surprise us. Last season this worked. Unknown quantities came to the Premier League and the opposition managers couldn’t deal with them. This season is different though as managers and their technical teams study the opposition inside out. There is too much money and pressure at stake not too. That’s why every time Tiote does his habitual 270 degree turn when he gets the ball he is caught out.
Sometimes I think we focus too much on trying to negate the opposition and not focusing on what we do best. When your defence is threadbare and not up to the standard that the fast and furious Premier League demands you will ship goals by the bucket load, no matter how much preparation you put it.
We have had major injuries yes but last season we had players like Best, Guthrie and Lovenkrands who may not be the most talented footballers on the planet but they were hungry to displace the first team and have their say. This puts pressure on the first team as if they go on a bad run of form someone is chomping at the bit to take their place. Footballers are competitive at the end of the day, if they’re not they shouldn’t be getting paid what they are and shouldn’t be anywhere near the top flight.
At the moment we have Pardew’s proclaimed ‘development squad’ and in my view if you are telling a 20 year old player he is ‘developing’ that’s as good as giving him the mentality that’ you’re not ready yet son’ All players are still developing their game right up until they retire and having to adapt to the rigours of the ever changing modern game, so for me, this is a poor phrase and label to be giving your boys.
How old was Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen when they were becoming legends for their country? Do you think they were told they were in the development squad or were they told they were ready to be better than anyone else out there? I think the latter. It’s all about mentality and this is where our youngsters who have stepped in have severely lacked. They have the ability but the mentality isn’t there. Shown at Brighton in abundance.
Anyway, I am fannying about the point as I haven’t written for a while so apologies.
Fact is, once again we are gambling. If Colo goes how many defenders (and we would need at least 2) can come into the Premier League and dig a team out of a relegation scrap? Only tried and tested Premier League defenders could and they cost you. Plus, who would let one go who is of any quality? Bring a defender from the French, Dutch, Spanish or German league and they need to adapt to playing to a pace in which every time they get the ball someone is snapping at their heels. It takes time and despite what The Rolling Stones may have sang, time really isn’t on our side.
When every single point is precious you can’t afford to bed them in. They need to be 100% ready.
We needed to get this sorted before now and with 2 weeks left to go I can’t see it being resolved which is extremely worrying. Teams like QPR have realised how lucrative it is to stay in this league and how you need to speculate to accumulate. Their activity in the market says to me they’ll stay up. They were garbage at SJP, a long way from home, yet we were just as bad and relied on our journeyman Shola to come off the bench and bag the points. A 20/1 gamble which payed off. And they do, 1 time in 20 (or 2 times if you consider the Spurs game but that doesn’t suit my argument so forget that)
I appreciate we will have Ben Arfa back, a fully fit Cabaye and Stevie Taylor which will help but that’s taking into account that no other key players will get injured either and lets not forget we have European games whilst our fellow strugglers have only one focus. What a blessing we aren’t in the cup! Some ambition from a 50000+ attendance team to be glad we are out of the cup to concentrate on survival in the top flight.
This board are once again gambling on the clubs future and at the moment I see no evidence of that gamble coming good. Our transfer policy is to only sign the ‘right player’ which is great. I ask are we putting too much effort into finding ‘the right player’ and when it doesn’t come off what do we do? Maybe find a few who will do for keeping us in the league for now eh?
Blind luck only gets you so far, most of the time it’s down to probability and simple mathematics and by my maths we don’t have the squad to get through this.
I sense another ‘we tried but couldn’t get it over the line’ and with our star player on about going to PSG (let’s not rule out any outgoings from anyone) and our captain wanting to do one home, we need to get busy soon or else we close our eyes, cross our fingers and pray that lady luck shines down on us.