First of all, what I am about to say is by no means based entirely on Saturday’s game, I am not someone who will scream crisis, just because we lost 2-0 to a Chelsea team full of world class players. It is based on the last three years, in which time we have lost all of the cherished values which Roy Hodgson instilled into our team.
Football teams usually fall into one of two categories. Either they are a workman’s team, full of players who will fight for 90 minutes for the badge and leave everything on the pitch, or they are a team full of players full of flair who will pass teams off the pitch. Perhaps in Hodgson’s stint as manager we were spoilt, because for a team of our quality, we had both.
Now we have neither.
For sure, we have players who fall under each category, your Scott Parkers and Steve Sidwells typify hard working players, and players like Adel Taarabt, Bryan Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov are very silky, but we have no identity anymore. None.
I’ve always held the opinion that you shouldn’t sack a manager unless you have someone better to replace him, and I still do, but I can’t wait to see the back of Jol. He will say that the resources he’s had available have been very limited, and to keep the team in the premier league each year is a success, and to be fair I would agree with him, but for too long he’s just given the impression that he doesn’t care about the club and can’t wait to leave, which is why the relationship between him and the fans has reached breaking point.
On Thursday night, I watched a team full of very humble players not only beat Valencia 3-0 in the Mestalla, but completely control the game. It wasn’t the big European nights that I was jealous of, it was the way they played. Under excellent stewardship, and without spending more than they should have, they’ve created an excellent team, and one which their fans can be proud of. Am I proud of the performances our team has been churning out over the last three years? No, not really, perhaps a result of getting to the Europa League final as Jol says.
I don’t expect Jol to be sacked before the end of the season, but I’m looking forward to the end of his tenure. In the last three years we certainly have lacked a bit of ambition, but that does not mean we’re not an ambitious club, many fans will be happy with staying in the Premier League, which is fair enough considering where we were 15 years ago, but I’d like us to at least have an identity.