Second installation from bowton_wanderer. Enjoy.
Could this be luck? Or Pure Brilliance?
“I`m a great believer in luck, I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson.
Carrying on from my last article, Dougie`s time in charge was a slow one, but is that truly unexpected with the quality in the squad? Especially at the back. A few weeks in, the difference in confidence and work rate was incomparable compared to the squad he took over and you could see glimpses of this change whilst matches were in motion.
Dougie has managed to turn some of our weak points into our main strengths. We have now, on a number of occasions, held off a win when at the time you could be damn sure the opposition was going to sneak a goal. Our defence is completely different; Dawson has been a huge lift, but I think on a personnel level the rest of our defence hasn’t individually improved, but as a unit they are working for each other, and with the support from Spearing and Pratley, we are winning the games from the back. It is a shame that we now are not likely going to be scoring three goals a match but it`s a sacrifice that is paying dividends. I think it`s safe to assume, we will be more readily to open up games once the manager can make some solid changes to the team in the transfer window.
As I said I think individually the majority of the team hasn’t changed or improved, but as a unit the defence is putting in a cracking shift. They are finally working for each other, and with the support of both Spearing and Pratley, we have become solid at the back. Spearing has been able to dominate the midfield and show his class, I really hope we can keep hold of him, although Medo is looking more than an able replacement. The transition of Pratley, is truly outstanding. He isn’t suddenly able to score from forty yards, or pick players out with great passes, his abilities are exactly the same, but he now has a manager who can utilize his talents and brilliant work ethic. As I write this he has just scored!
Edit: He was unbelievable against Middlesbrough, I really thought he should have got man of the match. Some of his runs into the box were brilliant and his tackling was cracking. Unlucky really.
One of the main implements Dougie has brought in is the work behind the scenes and the effort the team is putting into training. The one thing you don`t want to hear from players when your club has been relegated the year before, is that they are now finally training harder, they have structure and an effective regimen. One of the players who really infuriated me was Mavies, I think it`s really unfortunate he got his injury when he did, as I presume he would of benefited the most from Dougie`s arrival. Mark was continuously out of games and would only ever have a good 15 minutes per match. His main issue is consistency but he has pretty much everything in his locker that an attacking midfielder needs. I am a firm believer in hard work changing his consistency levels. Then it hit me?Mark was purely unfit enough to work at the rate we expected of him, because his time was spent mainly playing table tennis and having a kick around with the lads.
Which leads me on to another issue that as a club we have faced time after time: Injuries. No wonder we have been littered with none-impact injuries or training injuries in the past. The majority of players would have not conditioned their cruciate knee ligaments and muscles. I`m hoping we start to see the last of these constant traumas that have infected our club. I just hope Dougie has come up with the antidote.
I`m finally happy we have a manager who seems to know what he`s talking about in press statements or in after match comments. I really enjoy his enthusiasm and his self belief; that his know-how and his tactical nous are changing matches for the better. When he talks about some of our youngest players it really fills me with hope that we have a leader who will guide these youngsters on the brim of success to the first team and provide the squad with a buzz that it truly needs. On a few occasions he has said he was wrong, which must take a lot of guts. I don`t know many managers to take the blame when a match hasn’t gone the team’s way. I can`t wait to hear Ian Holloway`s press statement when they fail to get into the play-offs!
Edit: Did anyone see Coyle on ‘Soccer A.M`? Truly outstanding to see how a man can put the blame on everything else other than himself, quite disturbing really.
We are now truly seeing the fruits of Dougie’s labour. Compared to where the squad was, he is now achieving the results only kept for the epics alike. Like the catholic version of Jesus, but without the cracking set of abs, great facial hair, and the brilliant use of a tunic and pointed hat, Dougie has now taken this fellowship to the lofty heights of Mordor. Do we fail at the last hurdle, at Mount Doom, or do we have a Smeagol somewhere within the ranks, to bite off the finger, bitterness or torment and propel us into the lofty heights of the Barclays Premier League? Where we can reside comfortably in Bag End? Hopefully without the pie-eaters! I just realised, I`m getting Jesus mixed up with Gandalf?
So is this remarkable change around anything to do with luck? Is Lennie Lawrence just an oversized leprechaun constantly finding four leafed clovers? Probably. Or is it the hard work from the players and the great leadership from Dougie? I know what I think it is.
I started with a quote, I think it`s only fitting we end with one.
“Do ya` feel lucky punk.” – Dirty Harry