Talking Point

I’ve thought for a while on what sort of article I could construct. My inspiration this time around comes from the Lionesses World Cup performance, my six a side football games and an inspirational quote from one of the great basketball players.

Perhaps even if you do not have an interest in basketball, you may well have heard of a man called Kobe Bryant. The 5x NBA Champion once said ’If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail’. This quotation encapsulates the impressive tournament that Phil Neville’s team had: they played an attacking brand of football and did not compromise on that. In the same way that Mr Pellegrini demands the team play an attractive and offensive style of play, what comes with that is failure sometimes as you take risks. Bryant’s quote and the Lionesses’ performances in France really inspired me, and it’ll be exciting to see how women’s football in this country develops consequently.

I feel that given the news that has emerged in the last day or two, a certain Austrian attacker at the club should be referred to as Harry Potter’s nemesis, Voldemort. So, he who shall not be named is seemingly allowing his brother to force a move through probably to China. The Austrian has tarnished what could have been a good conclusion to his career, and instead it appears he will spend the rest of his time in football in half empty stadia in China. As fans of this great club, we demand a certain amount but if you work hard you’ll always be appreciated. He who shall not be named has done a lot of talking alongside his agent/brother, but ultimately disrupted the squad in the second half of the season. The former Stoke man has an arrogance not dissimilar to Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, the difference between he who shall not be named and the Swede is the fact one is a legitimate star attraction and has won titles, the other seems to throw a strop when a teammate gets a pay rise or is better than him. In my view, he got frustrated at Stoke as Shaqiri took more of the limelight, and he knows he’s becoming a less talismanic figure with the likes of Rice, Anderson and Fornals in East London.

Coincidentally, the overweight striker I marked on Monday at six a side was not unlike the Austrian. This big lad, to be fair to him, had hold up play that the likes of Carroll and Crouch would appreciate, but he lacked mobility! He was constantly stropping when he did not receive the ball, throwing his hands up in the air with negative body language, not unlike our No. 7. Whilst playing I thought of the Lionesses’ inspiring exploits and that you should never give up. Unfortunately our main striker has given up and, to conclude, he’s not as good as he thinks he is, so I hope he enjoys that Champions League football, I think he’ll struggle to find it in China…

Moving forward we must remain positive. Whilst writing this we continue to be linked with a whole host of attackers. Ideally Pellegrini will acquire his primary target but, if that target is hesitant to come, we should look at players who want to wear the shirt. Maxi Gomez is clearly a talented striker but, if he’s not convinced by us but does eventually arrive, who’s to say he won’t demand a move next summer? The idea that the narrative of this Gomez transfer saga has parallels with Anderson last summer is problematic. I think Felipe was always keen to come and play for us, it was negotiating with the stubborn Lazio President coupled with some stinginess from our board that prolonged proceedings. With the Celta Vigo man, while Husillos could yet work his magic, it appears publicly clear we are not his first choice. In previous articles I’ve managed to reference lyrics or song titles from Frank Sinatra somehow and now it’s only right I expand it to lyrics from his family. My message to Gomez from Nancy Sinatra ’I’m not gonna take second best’. However, given as football fans we can all be guilty of being fickle, I will be just that if the Uruguayan scores bags of goals!

In conclusion, the Lionesses’ World Cup campaign has inspired and motivated me while he who shall not be named has left me disappointed. I also hope this situation with attackers and the Austrain specifically galvanises the rest of the squad to illustrate that they can perform perfectly well without him. There are inevitably going to be some ups and downs but with a better manager, an experienced director of football and better players on the whole, I’m far more enthusiastic about the upcoming campaign than I have been before. We all should be.

Hope everyone is well, and has a good week.