Thursday, 4 June 2009
Has the Little Sardine got it wrong? (Asks Marty)
Nothing very surprising about the mass clear out, just an end of season late spring clean, but it does give me cause for concern. 5 first team squad members have been released, although only Neill was a first choice. Zola has stated that he only wants to bring in 2 or 3 new faces, so 3 signings and perhaps 2 loans to replace the 5 who have been released.
That would give us a 21 man outfield squad that would include Dyer, Gabbidon, Ashton, Parker and Upson. It is not beyond the bounds of reason that none of those 5 will manage even half a season, such is their history and Collins for that matter does not have a good attendance record. That could see us with 15 or 16 available players with an average age of about 14!
Now don't get me wrong I am a fan of the little Sardine, but the boyish charm and wide eyed honesty could also be interpretted as naivety. We over-achieved this season and if the young lads who had to walk to the crease a bit early in the innings had not done so well we may have really struggled. Those boys will find it harder next season and my concerns are that unless we strengthen the squad with a bit more experience, we will struggle to finish in the top half.
I would like to see Gabbidon, Ashton and Dyer replaced, I don't think they will manage 50 games between them all season and that would imperil our premiership survival with such a small squad.
Finally can I register my delight at the parting of the ways with Lucas Neill. Too slow, can't turn and can't keep his hands to himself, he has been a liability for most of his time with us. Opposition teams have recognised him as our weak spot for the last two seasons and have attacked relentlessly down that flank. So much so that MacCartney looked like a £6Million player (well Sunderland thought so anyway). Truth of the matter was he didn't have to do much. Ilunga has been given the space to become one of our most attacking outlets and this again has been because he has not been called upon much defensively. Behrami has been restricted by having to do half of Neill's work for him, so perhaps we could see more from him next year, I think he could make a good job of the defensive midfield job if we don't go back in for Kovac.
I'll accept that Lucas may be a good captain, but that's not enough. With the possible exception of Mike Brearley captaining the England cricket team in the 70's no player has ever justified inclusion in a team on the grounds of their captaincy skills alone.
New captain; Upson to groom Tomkins for the job.
Posted by Hammersfan at 17:30