In 1965 my late father in law, an engineer by trade and a mechanic by inclination, was the owner of an immaculate, black Rover 100. He spent the weekends 'tinkering' with the engine. That was in the days when cars lasted for ever and scrappage schemes for a mere 10yr.old vehicles would have been met with derision. He adjusted, tweaked, modified and fine tuned until an already smoothly running engine was at peak performance.
You could of course actually access the engine then and not just plug it into a computer once a year for a diagnostic analysis.The football equivalent is the six monthly transfer window.Not so much Quick Fit as quick fix
Harry has done a wonderful job and continues to do so. But he is not perfect and not making the most of his assets and the team partly as a consequence is not playing well. But Harry is loyal, or stubborn, as some might have it, and can use the 'If it ain't broke' defence. Harry's attitude seems to be 'Well its got us half way there, why bother to open the bonnet and see what that irritating rattle is.
What does our last game teach us? That there ain't no justice. We outplayed Stoke and lost. We were outplayed by Sunderland and won. The three points puts an end to the losing run, papers over the cracks and puts us back in the top four. That is mainly because other results continue to go our way particularly those of Man.City who got their fifth consecutive draw and are two points behind us with a game in hand. Aston Villa are closing in. That's two six pointers before Xmas.
'What cracks?' Well we can't rely on Gomes to dig us out every time for a start.
You can't continue to start your captain in every game and then substitute him in every game because he isn't doing the job. You can't assemble a squad of decent footballers and then lump the ball towards Crouch and hope for the best. I know its not supposed to work like this but it seems to.
Meanwhile a successful International striker is ignored. You buy a quality player like Kranjcar as cover for Modric and then sit him on the bench, leaving the side unbalanced and without width. As soon as we went to 442 and Kranjcar came on the quality of the football improved and we made a few chances of our own.
Harry wonders why we don't play in a match like we do in training. Probably because training consists of short games on restricted pitches with the emphasis on limited touch and plenty of movement and passing. I would guess that they don't practice hoofing the ball half the length of the pitch onto Crouch's head very much. Even Dawson has cut out the 40yd heat seeking missile stuff.
Of course the return of Modric and Lennon promises both width and creativity and with luck we might just maintain our position until then. But in the meantime as we approach the lead up to the period, prior to the pre- mid season transfer window, fans and possibly Harry and certainly journalists start to link us with young hopefuls and old has- beens who might just fit in somewhere. For anyone decent we will have to wait until Chelsea, Man.Utd, Man.City, or any other team here or abroad who have money to burn have inspected its teeth.
At Portsmouth and Sunderland we came up against players we have discarded who might give us pause for thought; Reid, Malbranque, Boateng, and perhaps O'hara whose future looks uncertain before we plunge our hands into the Lucky Dip again. Bent, who we used poorly was replaced by Pavlyuchenko who we have treated in exactly the same way and who it seems is to be replaced in his turn.
Now Harry resisted the temptations of the summer sales and bought frugally and well. I argued the merits of stability before and after Harry's appointment and continue to do so. What we need is a tune up, Harry not a major overhaul. A little tinkering would probably do the job. My father in law would certainly approve. You might find that you already have a classic machine in your hands,check the spares. Recycling is the new shopping