Good morning all.
Late-ish post this morning. Wish I could even make it better by saying that good things come to those who wait. Well, yes they do, for the most part. Does the patient dog always get the heftiest bone? I’ve always wondered about that, to be honest. Imagine sitting patiently for an unspecified amount of time, only to be rewarded with bone!
In any case, we are not here to discuss the merits of canine cuisine (I cannot abide the creatures, personally). I’ve been penning these blogs for about a week now, and it’s been interesting to read some of the comments and prescriptions from the Enyimba faithful. Everyone seems to know what the problem is, and everyone seems to know what should be done to fix it.
Football is a funny old sport. We wiggle into our seats on matchday, and have a 90-minute window within which to evaluate an entire week’s work, often without the benefit of knowing what came before. Undeniably, we can and should have an opinion of what’s going on before our eyes, but I just wonder if it would not be easier to relate to what we’re seeing if we knew in what direction the club is pulling.
In these parts, there is an air of secrecy to the way institutions go about their business. While this is understandable to an extent, there should be a trade-off. After all, football is nothing without the fans.
I bring this up because, if we’re being honest, the mood around the club at the moment is downright glum. This season will not be remembered with any great fondness, no matter how much spin one tries to put on it.
Mathematically, we were in title contention up until the last three rounds of matches, and we got to the group stage of the CAF Champions League after a long absence. However, we all know this is a lot of window dressing. There was never a point when it looked like we were seriously in the title race, neither were we in any shape to pull off anything remarkable on the continent.
So, the club has to do some kind of damage control. This is not just a measure for this season, which is pretty much over, but going forward. It is perfectly fine having the club Media Team whip up something, but the fans and followers of the club can spot spin when they see it. That is why outside the shores of the country, European clubs have journalists who they bring close, but who are not on the payroll.
For Arsenal fans, as an example, transfers have been a sore point for long, so the club brought in David Ornstein, a BBC Sport journo. They give him the sort of information they need put out, and he offers fans the sort of behind-the-scenes access that they wouldn’t normally have. Fans trust what he says because they know he is not an Arsenal spin-doctor.
Some others have a select journalist or a group of journalists, who are allowed on the training ground like once or twice a week to observe what’s going on. Even when results aren’t going well, they report on what the general idea of the coaching crew is, what they are working towards, so that the fans have something to hold on to. There has been much vilification of coach Paul Aigbogun this season, but how many of us can honestly say we know what his vision of football is, or what he is trying to do?
I saw a story last week on how Pep Guardiola has curbed Raheem Sterling’s instinct to roam at Manchester City by painting a chalk spot on the training pitch where he wants the player to stand and stretch play. Now, if that had not come out, fans may be apt to complain and say he is being static in the team’s build-up; now, they know it is part of the plan. See?
Secrecy is all well and good, and no one is saying to hand opposing teams your entire playing blueprint, but there has to be more of a connection between the fans and the team than an hour and half of howling and complaints in the stands. Part the curtain a little, let us catch a glimpse of our beautiful Elephant. It cannot hurt none.