The Changing Of The Game
'I have a great belief that the young lads can do it. I have no trepidation that they won`t do it, none whatsoever. I had exactly the same question last year and the Norwich lads surpassed everything. I don`t have any fears about them. I'm trying to give them the confidence to go and play and do as well as they can.'
Paul Lambert - August 2012
Is it just me or is something happening?? A shift in the game. More specifically, in the way that teams play and the players the teams buy. After watching the first 3 months of the season, a pattern seems to be emerging, something new and different that could have big repercussions.
I think that SOME teams and mangers have evolved into a new way of thinking. One where little known players are beginning to be plucked from European and the lower leagues of English football, not for their name, history or athletic size, but for their potential. Now you could argue that this is forced upon some teams for financial reasons, and this is partly true in some cases. However, teams of substantial wealth and history appear to be doing the same.
I think Newcastle, Villa, Norwich, Swansea and of course Latics have all taken the steps towards this new approach. Take Villa for example. A team which was in massive need of a transition, rather than going for players who have played in the premier league and bring with them massive amounts of baggage (namely wages and signing on fees), have gone from players from the likes of League 1 (Westwood) and Irish league (Stevens). Now I realise that as we speak, Villa are in a relegation battle, however I think that as Villa fans, it must be refreshing to take this approach, coupled with style of play, than to go down the route that QPR and Sunderland have and still be in the same boat.
It's brave, new and daring. A few years ago buying a Louis Saha or Djibril Cisse would be lauded as 'Marquee' signings. I think fans want more and that clubs are realising this. These sorts of players have become a luxury that can be ill afforded. Players who live off past performances and only fleetingly show their best. The premier league is tighter and more robust than ever. Consistency is key, a long term plan is key. The revolving doors at QPR and Sunderland over the past 2 years have left fans in despair. They are left in the same league position as clubs like Villa, Norwich and Wigan, playing far less attractive football and their pockets considerably lighter.
It smacks of old skool football management to buy the player who once scored 15 goals in a decent team 5 years ago, than to scout and try to discover young hidden gems around Europe and particular England. Yes there's pressure to win, to stay up and it probably is the safe bet to go for the bigger name, but surely managers should strive to do their best to potentially find the next BIG thing. To coach players into world class rather than try to ready-buy it! I thought that was in the job description? Not everyone might agree, but if Latics continue to unearth gems, considerably improve players, and try to play attractive 'proper' football...............................and still go down............I will be happy. However something tells me that going down doesn't follow these traits.
I think it won't be long before more begin to adopt this approach, and in the process flush out any deadwood in the English game, which coincidentally can only be a good thing for the English National side! Fans are seeing it already and demand more from their clubs. Good luck to any team that tries this approach I believe it is the way forward.
Since Martinez's arrival, Latics have long headed the front of the queue for players with potential, and a new style of play. We have a long term plan and can see a future. We should all be proud of this.
This weeks podcast was recorded at the DW Stadium prior to the Man City game
We had Barry, Dan, Rob, Paul and Gareth on location, we are chatting about the win over Reading last Saturday, plus we look ahead to the City game and try for a bit of analysis at the end.
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