Go with a smile!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Erreneous notions about Football

1. I’ll admit this: at the end of one of the seasons of football, perhaps this was the same season that Portsmouth won the FA cup, I thought to myself, Portsmouth are a lucky team. They are comfortably mid table, they don’t have to worry about getting into Europe, they don’t have to worry about who wins the EPL, and they don’t have to worry about relegation. They have a few points buffer either way. They get the results they want at a canter. Maybe if they win the FA cup they’ll get into Europe. Portsmouth must be one of the most stress-free clubs in the premiership.

I was probably misled by the “middle class” status of Portsmouth. They didn’t seem to be over-spending (but we now know that’s not true).

2. There were 2 recent decisions by Capello that seemed to not make any sense at all. First, he allowed the “wife and girlfriends” to visit the England camp at the World Cup. This is an obvious echo of the Ericsson era where he did the same thing and then got severely criticized, because the media circus which resulted distracted England from their performances – so the conventional wisdom goes.

Then he mooted this idea where players could be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 and their ratings be made public.

At the time these 2 decisions were announced simultaneously, and they invited a lot of derision from the press. But I just realized – could it be that his hand was forced over the WAG issue? Could it be that it was the power of the players that forced Capello to compromise over his Spartan conditions? And could it be that Capello decided to have his scores of the players’ performances made public, as a condition for allowing them access to their WAGs? I don’t think this possibility was discussed, and instead Capello got a lot of blame for those 2 bizarre decisions.

Not long after that, Capello refused to confirm that he would be staying with England after 2010. That could be a sign that he got fed up that he was not able to control his players as tightly as he wanted to. Eriksson stayed a little too long, even though there was nothing particularly good or bad about his performance. What brought him down was his perceived greed and lechery. There was the feeling that he was there to collect a large salary, and make money on the side by collecting appearance fees and celebrity endorsements. (Could explain his extraordinary loyalty to Beckham, either he felt he was a kindred celebrity wannabe, or he wanted to associate the England team with the really glamorous brand Beckham).

At least we know that Capello’s a little less happy with this arrangement. But it is true that Capello never stays in the same place for very long. Football coaches – the successful ones, know that one of the main ingredients for sustained success is constant renewal, and constant change. So one possibility is that the coach wears out the players by leading them through a period of overachievement that is unsustainable in the long run, and then the coach leaves. (Capello model). Or the other possibility is that the coach stays in the club for a long time, but he is rather ruthless in getting rid of players that are no longer at the top level (Alex Ferguson model).

Capello briefly considered leaving England, until he was persuaded to stay on until 2012. Well good luck to Capello.

3. I saw a latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine and was amused to see these 5 players on the cover: Theo Walcott, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Frank Lampard. We now know that Theo Walcott is not going to play for England, and that Rio Ferdinand is ruled out of the World Cup for his injury.



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