Writer: Paul Thorp
Date:Friday February 17 2012
Paul Thorp takes a final look at the Bolton game asking the question: Should Ronnie Stam have started instead of Emmerson Boyce on Saturday?, well over to you Paul
I asked this question in the forums recently and nobody said yes, and that's exactly what I was expecting. I was actually examining whether people would evaluate the decision, as Roberto has to do before kick-off, or whether they would put it in the context of the result. I was subtly asking people to say the manager got it wrong, after a win. Not one person said he was wrong, and that was what I was really interested in examining. How much the result affects people opinions of the game plan.
It's a bit like poker, sometimes doing the wrong thing wins, and sometimes doing the right thing loses. I specifically picked this example as it is very much a 50:50 decision, both lads have had decent enough seasons when they have played. Some people said Stam has a case for not wanting to be on the bench - interestingly it was two of our most pro Martinez posters that said this. Others went into detail as to why Stam should start the 'next' game without actually answering about the game I asked about.
Vital member Centrelink commented that it 'was a difficult decision, but you have to pick a match up'. Thus admitting Roberto was right. This is coming from the same bloke that used expletives when asking why on earth is Martinez starting Boyce not Stam in the match thread - some turnaround of opinion.
Only one of the posters that are often critical of Roberto posted, and he basically said Roberto was right, and justified it because Boyce played well. I've not looked back through the threads, but I am sure I've seen people screaming for Stam to play recently, usually whilst calling Roberto incompetent for not playing him, here was your opportunity to restate the point, and to a man you passed it up ?
The point being that I haven't done this to show people up, I originally wrote most of this article actually predicting what people would have said, then decided I may as well ask, rather than put words into people's.
I actually came to the subject because I was thinking about two things that I think I'm seeing since the window closed (yeah sat at the Reebok). Given the overall form, the recent form and the alignment of Jupiter in Saturn or whatever crap them astronomers come out with, I was trying to work out whether what I think I'm seeing is Bob aiming us in the right direction, and the bad runs just cloud the progress, or is he generally getting it wrong, and I'm giving credit on the back of a couple of lucky results.
Here`s what I noticed, and bearing in mind the above about prejudicing views, see what you think. Am I getting giddy because we won, or are there really cause to actually be excited about the future? One of the things that was different on Saturday, was loan signings.
Last time we went to the Reebok we were significantly weakened on the day because Ali was ineligible and Cleverley went off early injured. Those were two huge holes to fill, both on the day and at the end of the season.
The replacement for 'Ali the loan keeper' doesn't seem too bad, and there are teams at both ends of the table missing the services of Tom Cleverley.
Cleverley, along with the departure of N'Zogbia were two huge outfield holes to fill at the end of the season. We're still filling them. Roberto has been castigated for not getting in any loan players to boost the squad, just as he was for not signing any 'names' this time last season. That takes some bottle on Roberto's part this time round, during the time the window was open we picked up a grand total of zero points, our third pointless month of the season. People were disappointed with just Beausejour, but it looks like he's added balance and quality to the side.
The positive side of no loanees being that we will not have those holes to fill at the end of the season, which could be called forward planning. We will probably have the holes left by Rodellega, Diame and maybe Gomez, but Gomez aside, the other two have featured less in the midfield since the window shut, and the younger lads are the ones doing the business.
So we are already filling those holes. We have a fully fit squad, and a rotated squad where nobody is complacent for their position, but everyone gets a chance. Whilst thus far we've seen a fair few performances, now we're starting to see results. It's almost as though there is a changing of the guard, and we are seeing a very quiet revolution. All we have to do is carry on to beat the drop. When you consider we are now only one win away, and have tossed away numerous points during the dark autumn run. This seems eminently achievable. If we do it with next year`s team, that gives them a huge confidence and belief going into next season.
Having tried to think it through from both sides, as some might expect I think we're aiming in the right direction, whether it works is another story, but I actually think we could look back on this period, and see it as where the Roberto reign really started to come good, but I can't yet shake that nagging feeling that it is a case of me letting a couple of positive results cloud my judgement. Five more wins should see my doubts erode.
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Date:Friday February 17 2012
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