Friday, August 17, 2007

The Dusty Foot Philosopher

The Guardian gets on my nerves when it comes to its coverage of the Blues; I don't mind them being dismissive of us, it's the tired and inaccurate way that they do it which grates. I am afraid that I have become a bit of a one man rapid rebuttal unit, firing off e mails to point out the laziness of the jokes and inaccuracy of the statements, but I have come to forgive them, I have become magnanimous, because the best article of the season has already been written.

To offer a clue as to what it is about, the very long comment thread which accompanies the article contains this gem: It's a good job that so few Villa fans read The Guardian or you'd have the local historical society bombarding you with their views on the latest Messiah.

Mind you, I'm no apologist for the Blues and I don't share the evident joy that some are showing at our collecting of 1 point from a possible 6. We bleat about the unfairness of Sunderlands last minute winner the other night, but once again, we hardly played with gay abandon. The fact is, we invited Sunderland to attack us and they snatched a point. Whisper it, but Sunderland aren't actually very good and we have to view this as two points dropped. If we play in similar fashion against more talented teams we are asking for trouble.

We did play some fantastic stuff at times though and it is endlessly frustrating that our first instinct is always to defend, because if we really went for it we could do some damage. I'm not holding my breath though, because on a very loquacious day for Steve Bruce he commented along the lines that we need to concentrate on not giving anything away.

According to Bruce, football academies aren't working. The nation produces no more footballers now than it did 20 years ago. He has said that over the last 6 years Blues have spent over a million quid each year on the academy, yet no one has come through. So 6 million quid and we haven't produced anyone fit to lace the boots of Steve Bryant. Bruce should be ashamed of himself and resign now, as this is the saddest of all indictments of his reign.

If he has seen that our youth coaches are so useless, why has he not done something about it. With whom does the buck stop? I can think of three Brummies in the premier league outside the Villa. Carsley, Richards and someone else whose name escapes me. What a great scouting and coaching system we must have in a city of about a million people and a conurbation of about 3 million.

I don't get what Bruce is saying. Does he mean we just don't have the talent in the country? That the coaching is shit? or that the coaching is pointless? My guess is that he doesn't believe that theorising about the game has any value; you either have it you don't and the cream will always rise to the top. I might be wrong and I hope I am, because if I am right I might just have to open a vein.

Ajax don't seem to have done too badly with their numerous and varied academies, nor with the barmy idea that, up to to the age of twelve, results don't matter, learning new skills does. Barcelona don't seem to have too much trouble unearthing gems, I believe Fabregas went to Arsenal when he was nipper because he was some way down the pecking order at Barcelona. And on it goes, even in the
Côte d'Ivoire, where the academy in Abidjan has noticeably more success at turning out players than Blues, with all our millions. Nearer home, Southampton seem to have a conveyor belt of talent.

Sometimes, old Bruce just makes me feel sad.

Did I mention that tomorrows game is a vital six pointer. Two games in and we are in a relegation dogfight! Win tomorrow and the future is rosy................. lose, and it is going to be a long, hard, dark, and depressing winter.
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