Get Into ‘Em!

Posted on September 29, 2006 
Filed Under Articles By Cliff

A thought-provoking article by Cliff this week. A pleasure to read and one that asks a few questions.

In a week which for Blues has been dominated by the captain row I was thinking about how many times you hear the thing about having 11 leaders on the pitch. In a week for the anniversary of Shankly’s demise the quote below came from one of his ex-players..

“Shanks always preached that we had eleven captains. He wanted to see players think things out and rectify things if they were going wrong. You never got shouted at for trying to change something out on the pitch. You were always taught to work things out for yourself. Mind you if you tried something stupid and it didn’t come off we had a saying that we would ‘hit you on the head with a big stick from the touchline’

Now the obvious thing would be within our team, who are the natural leaders? Do we have players who would try and change things on the pitch? Would Bruce stand for that anyway?

Someone once said (apologies cannot find the exact quote) that when you get on the bus for the away game if you have several captains or lions staring at you then you will be ok. That’s not the exact wording but the jist was that if you had people up for the battle generally you would be fine. Now that does not mean a team of battlers will always beat a team of highly skilled players but the mix needs to be there. An example are Arsenal, they do not seem to like teams who try and get at them physically but they are a very skilful team.

This week Liverpool beat Galatasaray, their coach Eric Gerets was afterwards quoted as saying:

“I think that we missed the third goal because we don’t speak to each other. We could solve so many problems if we had better lines of communication on the pitch, I don’t have enough leaders in my team. But, the second half showed that Galatasaray can play very good football.”

Do the Blues have any leaders at all, let alone more than 3. Upson seems to be a popular choice but is he an ideal captain figure? He does not strike me as someone who would motivate people really and is not really very vocal. Captain is defined as “One who commands, leads, or guides others”.

We have now lost a couple of games and the worry is that on the field when things are not going well who will turn it around? As fans most of us love to see committed players like Savage etc who give their all. The other thing it gives you of course is a will to not lose. Look at when we played Chelsea a couple of seasons ago. Moaniniho whinged afterwards they came to play football but Savage turned it into a battle. Are we a little comfortable for teams?

Is this how things have gone wrong at the club? First season Premiership we had Savage and Cisse in the middle, neither of them would give an inch. Surely if you played in that team you could not help to be inspired by their actions? If Keane or Viera were playing they inspire confidence and motivate by their actions and will to win.

Is there some heart missing at the club? Who should be the next captain is one I am not sure about as there is no great candidate, and that concerns me. Maybe football has changed since the days of Shankly but I still think his comments are valid.

I do sometimes wonder if the captain of a team should be slightly scary as well to be honest. I do not think I would be inspired to work harder for a captain like Beckham for example, but then if someone like Liam Daish or John Terry were bawling at me I may be tempted to pull my finger out.

Maybe I simply yearn for a time when the Blues were a tough physical team who scared their opponents a little before meeting them. I know in one poll within a football magazine a few years ago one of our teams were voted the hardest ever! I am of course not suggesting we should revert back to that fully, lets face it we never had much success at it. I do think though some of the issues with the quiet crowd and lack of interest are the fact we have become a nothing team. There are no characters or true battlers in there, in some ways we mirror the team as a crowd now, quiet.

I am starting to think we may be lacking something, yes we have a good squad, yes we have some skilful players. Is that enough to get automatic promotion? I am getting worried about the balance of the team, lets hope I am totally wrong and playing football is the way out of this division. Teams have played football to get out but I think the majority are physically strong as well.

Saying that I think at home we should be ok, the away games may require some more metal to be shown. I would go for a comfortable 2-0 win against Leicester.


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