The GoatyGav Column
One of the tenets of Taekwondo is an ‘Indomitable Spirit’. Listed in the principles of the honourable sport it is described as follows: -
“Indomitable spirit / Baek-jeol-bul-gul / ????
One may not always succeed on the first try at everything that one attempts in Tae Kwon Do, or in life. The indomitable spirit has the courage and confidence to try again and not be subdued or overcome in the face of fear or failure. The indomitable spirit perseveres. Sometimes this can be a challenge; training in Tae Kwon Do can help to develop it.” (Credit – Hans Taekwondo, www.hanstkd.com )
With this in mind I wonder how much Manuel Pellegrini will ‘stick to the plan’. It’s obvious to see that he’s attempting to do things his way and for that I admire him. Small wonder that he has the confidence in his convictions given his experience as well as the power that he’s been handed, in the running of first team affairs, by the club owners.
Listening to Gareth Southgate during a post match interview, following the defeat to Spain this weekend, I was reminded of the ‘Indomitable Spirit’ that Taekwondo competitors hold close. “What’s the point in going back to previous ways of doing things?” or words to that effect were uttered by the England manager. Essentially he’s part of a journey – a much bigger picture that is dragging English football out of the dark ages and in to the modern era of the game. Interestingly, listening to another Ex-player on the radio this week, I found myself, once again, in full agreement. Stewart Robson made a really interesting point about the development that has been made since the coaching methods at the elite level have moved towards making players more ‘comfortable in possession’. England now have players who are excellent dribblers with much improved touch and close control. What England don’t have, Robson pointed out, are any players who are capable of pulling the strings, like an Andrea Pirlo. Someone with great vision to play the ‘killer’ pass and not necessarily with the ability to take players on but with the footballing ‘intelligence’ to use the ball in the most effective way without needing, or being inclined to, take multiple touches.
Back to West Ham there have been a few of those highly influential midfielders who make us ‘tick’. The obvious one that comes to mind is Ronnie Boyce. Apart from the alternative name for the vital organ that West Ham do their best to give me an attack of, ‘Ticker’ is a term that has been used at West Ham for players who’ve had the ability to find the ball that hurts the opposition in the most effective manner as well as being linked to players with a high work-rate.
At present there are a few with the potential to become the modern day Tickers of the team. I believe that Jack Wilshire could become that player if he applies himself properly however Manu Lanzini is the one who I think will get there. Our Argentinian ‘Jewel’ has a great work-rate. I’ve seen him, in a number of games, carry out both the defensive and attacking midfield duties to great effect. He can be a tenacious tackler as well as a gifted attacking midfielder with the ball at his feet. His injury has been a huge blow to the team’s fortunes and the sooner we get him back from his ACL surgery the better. That said it’s very important that he’s not ‘rushed back’ for the long term full recovery of the injured knee.
Without question we need to see an ‘Indomitable Spirit’ from the players on the pitch however we, as fans, need to, as we always do, ‘Never Say Die’ as well. The away fans at Everton won’t need any encouragement. Those who give most of themselves in the club and travel all over the country shouting the boys on will always provide a vociferous support however we need more noise at home. ‘Sing your heart out for the lads’. Right now they need us more than ever.