GLF 74: Graham's thoughts on managers, summer football and the transfer window.
A VIEW FROM THE MAIN STAND
SUMMER FOOTBALL – I have been a traditionalist as far as football goes since I started attending games as far back as the 1960's, but as I watch crowds fall and fans treated poorly I think it is time to change to Summer football.
I attended Hamilton v Dundee Utd on 11th January and the crowd was only 2,033 on a bitter cold night. This got me thinking if a Dad was considering taking a youngish child to the game how would they enjoy sitting in a plastic seat and freezing? But if the game was played from March onwards and the temperature was ten degrees or so higher, would it be a more enjoyable experience?
Even in my time the way society has changed has been seismic in proportion, kids are used to their home comforts and probably spend more time indoors than we did 30-40 years ago. I now look at things and think if you were starting to play football in Scotland for the first time in 2010 would it be a winter sport?? I don’t think so….
Many argue the logistics are too difficult, well Ireland and Rugby League have managed to switch from winter to summer seasons, surely we could cope with this in Scotland. The Irish also seem to cope with the World Cup and European championships, therefore again I am sure we could adjust as well….
It will take the will of a brave man to be the first to propose this at the top level at Hampden.
TRANSFER WINDOW – How I love these four weeks of madness in January, when we hear all sorts of rumours and speculation followed by stupid money paid in desperation by some clubs. My English side Middlesbrough seem to have been one of these as Gordon Strachan turns the side into Celtic reserves, with Flood, Robson, Killen and McManus having moved to the Riverside. Someone told me if the Boro paid a £500k loan fee and McManus’ Celtic wage it would cost them £52,000/game – surely madness there.
Then WGS appeared to top it all when you read in the papers he was prepared to offer £500k to Aberdeen for Lee Miller. If that valuation is correct there is a chance I must be worth about £50k! If Boro had anyone at Pittodrie for our three nil win they would surely have ripped up the cheque paid out to Aberdeen and replaced it with one to Everton for Lukas Jutkiewicz who is already a far better player than Miller.
Every transfer window also has to have at least one Robbie Kean moving to Celtic story in it or it isn’t a transfer window! This might come true eventually but by that time Keane will be 38 and probably still end up SPL top scorer.
MANAGERS – don’t want to dwell too much on our last manager, but there did seem something wrong when you looked at the team sheet for the games with the Old Firm in December when he looked to have sent some young lambs out to the slaughter. This did appear to be taking his desire to play young players to the limit and was asking for a result like the one we picked up at Ibrox.
I am a great believer in encouraging our own youngsters, as we have done for the bulk of the close on fifty years I have been going to Fir Park. They do need to be surrounded with some players with experience to help them through a game. There is something wrong when the oldest player in the side is 28 and he is four years older than the next one! Following these games was the capitulation to St. Johnstone and the rant that followed that game as he slaughtered his players for not being able to pass or track back. Maybe they couldn’t do that as there was never any fitness work done in training and they had little energy left in the second half – check out our second half stats under Gannon – not pretty reading!
This speech, in hindsight, now reads like a suicide note from a man who no had given up the ghost and wanted to be somewhere else. Thankfully John Boyle was perceptive enough to see this and gave him his wish. This was an interesting experiment by Boyle to try to bring something fresh to the Scottish game but fortunately the experiment was backfiring and it was time to take action.
I must confess I was shocked that he moved quite so quickly to bring someone in and I was even more surprised when it was Craig Brown and Archie Knox who I had considered to be dinosaurs in the game! Initially I was delighted that they were a safe pair of hands and then after a couple of games I was beginning to think we had won a watch by getting two experienced guys in. I guess after four or five games we should not get carried away but in true Craig Brown tradition we will be hard to beat although at times it may not be pretty to watch. But after the first six months of the season I think I would settle for that at the moment! I also think that Brown has had the good sense to mix the experience with the youth, guys like Craigan and Lasley (and to a lesser extent Fitzpatrick) who had been marginalised under Gannon have come back in and made an impact and helped the younger players around them.
I guess we have to give Gannon credit for spotting the likes of Ruddy, Jutkiewicz, Coke and Hateley to complement the experienced guys. If only he had the good sense to put some experience beside them he may still have been in a job at Motherwell and appreciated by everyone at Fir Park!
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