Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

Trouble in Toon.

without comments

Dear Son,

Things are not good with the Toon right now.

The current manager, Graeme Souness, appears to have lost the confidence of the Chairman, the fans and possibly the players.

Souness has had 50 million pounds to spend; he has captured Michael Owen from Real Madrid and has assembled a talented squad. But Newcastle languish 14th in the Premier League only a few points above the relegation fight. How did this happen?

In his first season Souness had to sort out the dressing room and bring the unruly elements to heal. The biggest culprit of this unruliness was reported to be Craig Bellamy. Despite being a highly talented footballer he had a tendency to mouth-off when not necessary; he would win a free kick but would end up being booked as he kept haranguing the referee. Bobby Robson famously said: He could start an argument with himself.

Bellamy feigned an injury when Souness asked him to play in midfield and was soon shipped out to Celtic on loan and then sold to Blackburn at the end of the season.

Souness is in the middle of an injury crisis at the moment with eight players out injured – players who would be considered to be part of a starting line up. Some say that the manager should not be blamed for this because he didn’t set out to injure the players. But you have to ask the question: why spend 17 million on Owen when you can buy 3 very good players for the same money and have a bigger squad?

If you accept this argument then the blame has to come down to the Chairman because he signs the cheques. Instead of buying expensive he could have insisted on buying in bulk and shipping out those who languish in the reserves but will never make the grade. If a young player is not knocking on the first team door by the time they are 19, I don’t see future for them at a big club.

The arguments against Souness say that he should be able to motivate what he has to produce their very best, that is what a manager is paid to do. A good manager with ropey players will always be more successful over a season than a team of good players but a bad manager. Managers who can inspire middling players to play out of their skins week-in week-out, a good example would be Martin O’Neil. A good few years ago now when he was manager of Leicester they managed to go 2-nil down at home to Chelsea. Chelsea weren’t the power house then as they are now but they were a very good team, much better than Leicester. A couple of substitutions, lots of shouting from the side lines and Leicester scored twice and earned a draw. O’Neil could change his tactics and motivate his players to keep battling. And this is what Newcastle appear to be lacking, a person who can inspire them.

If the manager is to go then so should the Chairman, the person at the top of an organisation is responsible for everything that happens underneath. It was the Chairman who appointed Souness in the first place.

Written by Administrator

January 24th, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Football

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