The GoatyGav Column
On a day when England could qualify for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia I was thinking back to the great understanding that Sir Trev and Kevin Keegan cultivated in their time together for the National side. On so many occasions the pair of them came up with important goals made for and scored by each other. I’ve searched for footage but not been able to find the TV interview where they tested the ‘telepathic understanding’ claims using shapes on cards. Sir Trev and Kevin got remarkable scores in the experiment however Keegan later admitted that he had cheated as he could see the shapes on the cards being held up in the reflection in the TV Camera’s lense in the studio.
Keegan later admitted that he had cheated as he could see the shapes on the cards
Some examples of the pairing working so well can be viewed on Youtube at the following links. The first of which was a lovely 1-2 to set up the second goal against Scotland at Wembley.
& Keegan for Brooking before Keegan for Brooking’s lovely strike, that got wedged in the top corner of the net, when hugely up against it away in Hungary in a vital World Cup qualifier in 1981.
The 2-0 win against Italy was another great example.
It’s a beautiful thing when two players with great footballing intelligence combine in this way. For me Brooking and Keegan typified this ‘chemistry’ and became a terrific partnership. So often either would put the ball exactly where the other wanted it. In the overwhelming majority of occasions this would have been in front of the other player, maintaining the momentum of an attack, which I don’t think we see often enough nowadays. Passes played behind players make me groan at times. Yes there’s a time and a place for it however it generally gives the opposition time to re-shape and start to press which puts pressure on the team in possession. Not that I suspect it will make much difference to our national team but I will always encourage kids I coach to play passes in front of the player on the other end of the ball.
Sir Trev and Keegan were brought on too late in the day against Spain, in the 0-0 draw that prevented our progress, in the last game of the World Cup in ’82 IMO. A shame that injuries prevented them spending much time together on the pitch in that particular tournament. For me one of those games that you remember exactly where you were.
I wish the pair’s partnership could have been for club and country but I’m not too sure that Mr Len would have forked out the amount it would have taken to bring Kevin Keegan to West Ham back in those days. Perhaps those teams in the early ’80’s would have achieved so much more if he had’ve come.
In terms of partnerships that did flourish at West Ham those old enough to remember the famous ‘Boys of ‘86’ will fondly recall the lethal Cottee/McAvennie strike partnership that was so effective and took us to the brink of the League Title. There were other great partnerships in that side between those like Alan Dickens and Alan Devonshire, Dickens also combined beautifully with Mark Ward too. I remember Geoff Pike linking up well with almost any player – extremely underrated IMHO. At the back you had our great captain, and all round top bloke, Alvin Martin alongside the charismatic Tony Gale who was solid as a rock – the pair of them combining to form a formidable partnership for the season. I could go on – there were so many that ‘Cliked’ in that best ever league campaign.
It’s, potentially, a lethal combination that could yield a great number of goals
Of course it doesn’t always work. Players that you think would be great together just don’t seem to be able to gain an understanding. By now I think you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this in relation the current season. Although it’s too early to call, and they’ve not had sufficient time to gel, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all expected much more of an Andy Carroll/Javiez Hernandez partnership. The long ball tactic that has been employed so many times this term, with the flick on or lay off coming from AC, just hasn’t been read by Chicha and/or Chicha hasn’t got it where he’s wanted it. It’s something that I would expect the pair of them to have been working on as it’s, potentially, a lethal combination that could yield a great number of goals. Instead of that the two of them look like strangers up there. If this partnership doesn’t come to fruition it will be a crying shame. I’m still hopeful, though, as there’s time for it to ‘Click’. Like Cottee and McAvennie I get the feeling that there’s a hint of ‘this town’s not big enough for the two of us’ sentiment knocking around. Looking back those two got over the gunslinger ‘style cramping’. Perhaps the international break might give the pair enough space, and Slaven enough time to find a better formation, for them to flourish by feeding off each other. Playing in correct positions to get the best out of your key players is important and it’s clear that Slaven is, very much, still finding out about the current squad with it’s quality additions this Summer. Food for thought for him ahead of the Burnley game.
Could this be the start of something good between the pair of them?
I’m not a big fan of the ‘5 reasons why’ type internet posts. Whilst they bring up some interesting stats they very rarely give the whole picture on a specific subject. To a degree that was the case on the official club site this week in their “5 Reasons Why West Ham United’s Defensive Record Has Improved” “click here” :https://tinyurl.com/y9els4fk . That said it was an interesting piece that suggested that Reid and Fonte are developing a good combination at Centre Back. If you’ve read it I’d like to hear your thoughts on it and if you haven’t then please give it a look if you have time. I did think there was an element of blue sky optimism about the stats quoted. For one thing it doesn’t really consider the teams that we’ve been playing in September compared with August but the specific part about Reid and Fonte still stood out. There’s no denying that Fonte has looked better lately. Could this be the start of something good between the pair of them? Hope so – especially with Ginge out for a while.
Back to England Luthuania shouldn’t pose to difficult a question. A genuine ‘good luck’ to Scotland from me. Would be great to see a Scottish team at a World Cup finals again. Same goes for Northern Ireland who I’ve enjoyed watching. Between the ROI and Wales it’s only going to be one of the two who qualify, by the looks of things, so it’s down to a straight shootout between them in the final game to decide who goes through or gains a place in the play offs.
COYI – West Ham 4 The Cup!