Wednesday, 27 May 2009
The Way Forward - Teamwork and Organisation is Not Enough
Debate has raged over whether or not Scott Parker was the right choice for Hammer of the Year. Whether you are in the Parker camp or not, most would agree that there were a number of players with claims as good, almost as good, or slightly better. Green has his supporters as do Ilunga, Upson, Neill, Behrami and Cole. That is 7 of the first choice 11. Add in Collison as a nailed on cert for young Hammer and you have 8 of the first team who deserve a Player of the Year Award. Have there ever been so many worthy of the award?
What does this tell us? Well, basically, we were a team without superstars last season, but a star team despite this. Our success was not based on world class ability on the pitch but first class organisation of our playing resources. The genuine stars, Ashton and Dyer, barely made it onto the pitch.
Enormous credit is due here to Steve Clarke. He really has drilled the team superbly, getting them to play as a unit. However, the paucity of goals and the vulnerable under belly of a thin squad (exposed so cruelly by Liverpool and Everton) indicate the dangers of this policy. With confidence high, the team clicked as a unit, but should the fixture schedule give us, for example Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham as our first three games of next season, then just as with Pardew's team, our confidence could be holed beneath the waterline by a poor start and, without true match winning stars, we may then lack the inspiration to turn things around.
The truth is, we are a good team which, as a unit, is better than the sum of its parts. Di Michele, Tristan, Kovac and Boa-Morte in the same team? We will hopefully look back in years to come and shake our heads at the thought of it. That subs bench in recent weeks? It is frightening to think too long about it! Yes it is great to have the kids coming through but we are in danger of hurting their long term development by expecting too much of them too early.
Now Nani really does have to earn his corn. He has been praised for his signings but, in truth, only two of them - Behrami and Ilunga - have been proven successes so far. What about Lopez, Lastpickeva, Kovac, Di Michele, Tristan and the kids who seem to be developing at a slower rate than our own home grown talent? If 'Arry had signed that lot, the fans would not be terming it a brilliant transfer policy but an A1 cock up. And, of course, the jury is very much out on young Savio. He may be a wonderkid but did we need a wonderkid in January, or did we need a ready made replacement for Bellyache?
This is going to be a very interesting close season. What will be the strategy? Dare we cash in on either Parker or Upson? What will we do with Ashton? What about maintaining the English contingent in the side? Are we going to muddle through with loan signings of dubious quality again or are we going to invest in the future? This is a pivotal time for us. We finished in mid table again, just one place and two points better off than under Curbishley. We actually scored less goals under Zola than under Turds. Not many of the teams above us will do worse next season - Fulham perhaps - but a few beneath us will be looking to progress - Man City, Sunderland and Blackburn. We urgently need to strengthen to move forward; hoping that Dyer and Ashton will be rebuilt is not a sensible policy.
The teamwork and organisation were great this year but that can only take you so far. There may be no i in team, but there is in Winners and Champions. Now we need inspiration if we are to push to the next level. Who is going to provide it?
Posted by Hammersfan at 11:08