The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 7 September 2009


There's no football.Time to take stock and indulge the missis, make of that whatever you like but it usually involves Morrison's these days. I was going to follow the cricket or the tennis but it seems we are being thrashed by the Australians in the first and there is not one English player in the top 100 in the second so perhaps I won't bother.

Of course there's the International matches but I think Morrison's has the edge there, especially when its a friendly. Glen Hoddle interviewed in the Daily Mail made some interesting points on why England are unlikely to win the World Cup. Basically because we don't play the game well enough technically and are outpassed and out-thought. In it Platini refers to an 'instinctive mistrust of technically gifted players' and comments that Hoddle would have doubled his International caps if he had been French.Our performance against Slovakia spoke eloquently to his theme.

You could throw Platini's accusation at both Tottenham fans in particular and England fans in general. Take our attitude to, say, Modric before he proved that not only was he up to the rigours of the Premiership but was a footballing genius as well although this was pretty apparent even before he arrived. So too with the adulation of Palacios, who undoubtedly filled a need that we have had for some time but needs to moderate his aggressiveness and improve his positive role and in my view has been vastly overpraised. Its been pointed out to me that he has not yet picked up a yellow card so perhaps Harry has had a word. Last season he picked up 12 and the resulting three reds.

The doubts about Huddlestone, another player capable of greatness, the failure to appreciate the contribution of Jenas especially now we have Palacios to measure him by and the idea that Crouch is the answer to all our striking problems gives support to Hoddle's misgivings about British football.

The idea that Lennon, Defoe, Keane, and Modric lack the power and strength necessary to form an attacking force is ridiculous to anyone who has seen them play. What they lack in physical stature they make up for in skill, pace and determination. Dos Santos suffers perhaps from the same misgivings though there are dark mutterings about off the field attitude and conduct. It doesn't stop him running riot for Mexico though and hopefully with Modric out for a couple of months he might at least get the chance.

Picking Heskey before Defoe might strike closer to home and encapsulates the whole argument. What a dire game until Lennon Defoe and Milner came on. A team and a game of mind numbing ordinariness with barely a spark of life. Even Rooney bored himself into incompetence and missed two sitters ,one from a Lennon cutback. A flash of genius from Defoe was needed to win it, again from a one, two with little Aaron.

Hoddle raises crucial questions about coaching and attitudes which in a sense can never be resolved even if they fill the void for the moment.Winning the World Cup in '66 probably set us back 50yrs in terms of facing up to the challenge of new skills, new Nations, and new techniques and tactics.

We are still suffering the consequences of becoming World champions employing our traditional values of strength and effort. Martin Peters was described as 20 yrs ahead of his time. Make that 40. The World moved on but we did not.The arrival of foreign players has undoubtedly raised our vision of the game amongst both players and supporters though in my view it has been overdone.

It seems strange that at a club with a tradition of playing good football,quick interpassing, ball mainly on the ground, not just winning but winning well and all that, we should decry our quick and clever players and demand 'midfield destroyers', more players like Palacios rather than more like Huddlestone and Jenas who are criticised because they are not him.

Meanwhile thankyou Glen for helping us to bridge the gap and lets hope that both Defoe and Lennon start on Wednesday, but I'm not holding my breath. If Heskey starts I might just offer to nip down to Morrison's for Mrs JimmyG2 to get some paint and we can watch it dry together. And they say romance is dead.


Anonymous said...

i do agree with everything you say.
the only way forward for england is to start at grassroots level.
i doubt anything will happen soon.

quality blog btw

GotThemNotStir said...

This was a most enjoyable read and much appreciated in the midst of another dreadful international break. I don't think I have come across this blog before but will definitely stop off again.


Anonymous said...

Palacios vastly overpraised?! toss. best thing we ever did getting must be blind if you cant recognise that mate.we been waitin years for that player ...

Anonymous said...

I disagree to be honest. The implicit assumption here is to devalue the ability to tackle, to play without the ball and to do the ugly parts that are characteristic of winning the game. Would Barca's set up work without Yaya Toure? What about the Arsenal side that went a season unbeaten, Patrick Vieira? All good sides have midfield destroyers, if you can't win the ball, you are finished and the failure to recognise this fact has been central to Spurs consistently crap league performance at least in my lifetime. Even the great double winning side of '61 had Dave Mackay. I don't think we mistrust technically gifted players at all it is just that we have less of them simply because we are not taught to be skillful as youngsters, we are taught to play for the team from a ypung age rather than nurture our own talents. Indeed, I don't recall Joe Cole struggling to make the England side, nor do I feel that Milner or Lennon are particularly more technically gifted than Gerrard and Wright-Phillips whom they replaced. Furthermore, having spent a short time living in Brazil, which is thought by all to be a hotbed of technical talent, and watching many domestic league games at the maracana, I can tell you that the standard in domestic Brazilian football is absolutely diabolical, not only are the majority of players technically poor, they also don't know how to play as a team. It's just a matter of what players you have at the time.

Anonymous said...

Well written but fundamentally wrong, also somewhat patronising (like most of your pieces).

'Take our attitude to, say, Modric'. I can't say what your attitude was at the time, but please don't tell me you knew mine.

The international game and the Premier League cannot be, as you have mistakenly done, compared. The piece is blurred.

You make a fair but trite point regarding our international team: 'We are not technically as good as a lot of other teams' - no shit sherlock.

To question Tottenham fans' attitide towards flair players is simply rubbish. I love flair players, but it's a question of balance. All the great Tottenham sides have had it; flair and steel.

The Premier League, especially nowdays, is the quickest and most demanding league in the world. Whether you like it or not, it's a fact. Sure, I'd love to put a team out of say Gio,Modric,Huddlstone,Lennon with Defoe and Keane up top, but you know as well as me it'll be steamrolled.

I don't think Huddlestone or Jenas are good enough in centre of midfield to allow us to play another flair player, they've proven it over the last 4 seasons. The reason Palacios has quickly won over the fans is because the fans have seen him do in a few months what Huddlestone and Jenas have failed to do in 4 years - dominate the midfield.

He's good, but as you say, he's not that good; he can't carry alone a whole midfield and attack made up of flair players.

JimmyG2 said...

Anon 22.45
I agree that he is a overdue addition to the squad and say so.But you are of the Messiah tendency and I think that he is not yet good enouh for such adulation.

Anon 22.48
I hate the phrase ' midfield destroyer' it is so negative and the best midfielders have more to their game.
Ya Ya Toure is a case in point, a strong and physical player certainly, but a skillful and technically gifted one too.Ballack and Essien are other examples who perhaps spoil their performances by an over emphasis on the physical at the expense of their creative abilities which they `certainly have.

JimmyG2 said...

Anon 9.23
Thankyou for you lengthy and well argued points. Some of your facts are opinions,like mine( the assertions about the Premier league for example)
Modric at the time was widely held to be too ´lightweight for the Premier league and if you did not hold this view, good for you.
I agree about ´balance´but I do not share your assertion that the flair team you describe would neccesarily be steamrollered.
We all say we like flair players but many, like you, want to hedge their bets and put a protector or two in there for little Luka and diminuative Aaron.
I like Palacios but don´t want to sacrifice any more flair for steel. Otherwise you end up as Stoke. My balance is different to yours.
Its all too simplistic anyway,flair players and steel players. Ya Ya Toure is both, Palacios could shape up to be both.
Patronising is a quality I don´t recognise.
A blog has to have a point of view and a degree of attitude. I also have a self deprecating and hopefully amusing take on life in general and football in particular which is not to everyone´s taste.
I disagree about Huddlestone and Jenas and there are a multitude of factors which caused our failure over the past couple of decades.Too many changes of squad and managers in the main Palacios has arrived at a good time.
The International squads problems stem from the faults that Hoddle notes in the British game in general made worse by the numbers of foreign players in the Premiership.
Trite,rubbish and patronising hmm, but keep reading anyway. Good to talk to you.

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