Battle of the Planets

botp

Remember the old Manga cartoon, “Battle Of The Planets”? I always preferred the funny looking bloke on the left meself, even though he was a baddie. The good guys always looked too smug for my liking, and in a weird sort of way remind me of S Club 7 – probably because I want somebody to nuke them as well (except the nice looking bird who I could point out to you if somebody would send me a photo).

Anyway, I often go back to the childhood programmes I used to watch whenever we suffer a horrific defeat like (at the time of writing) we suffered against Sheffield Wednesday (that’s bottom club Sheffield Wednesday, just to rub it in even more), don’t know why. The worst thing about all this was, we didn’t even try to win. No fighting cause, no “teem spirrit” as Alan Hansen would drool. Just, well, nothing.

The Sheffield Wednesday debacle has intensified calls for Drillo to be sacked. True, it’s the muppets who are making the most noise, but even more worrying is that some of the old hands are making similar noises as well. Whether it’s post-stuffing trauma, a weakening of attitude or just sheer stupidity is anyones guess, but it’s finally been proven that the chasm between the management and the players is so wide it’s almost unclosable.

Confused? Let me explain. Does anyone remember how we played when DK and MH took the reins? Does anyone want to remember? OK, as you all should know by now, the players took liberties to such an extent that relegation was almost a formality. Rumours that certain players went on the piss, including the night before a game, have yet to be convincingly denied. The Wednesday game showed that many of the players still have that aloof attitude, and that’s the purpose of this article.

In effect, Drillo and the players seem to be on two totally different planets, battling away at each other until eventually everything is destroyed. On the one hand is Drillo. Now, we will never join in the calls to get him sacked, because this will create two major problems. One, it will rock the stability of the club, and turn us into one governed by mob-rule (one only has to examine Man Shitty to see how changing managers on a whim affects the club as a whole).

And secondly, and probably more important, it will set back the development of the team. Suppose that JK was to come back and replace Drillo? Horrifying thought, I agree, but supposing it did happen? Well, you would get the inevitable bullshit from the muppets, you would maybe see a baptism of fire from the team, and then you would see us slump as we did before, because all the old JK mistakes would be made. Then we really would have something to complain about. More realistically, Drillo will stay, because he hasn’t actually done much wrong. He’s taken a losing side, and is making efforts to making them better. Granted, it may not be working 100% yet, but whenever Trond and TP have played, the defence has looked pretty solid. Couple that with Badir, and Drillo hasn’t done a bad job so far transfer wise.

So why the poor results still? Well, this is where the players come in, the second planet in all this, if you will. With the exception of Badir, TP and Trond, the rest of the squad is from the JK era. They are mostly the same players who went into anarchy when JK had his ticker problem. It was thought that the reason they did this was because they were so pissed off with Kinnear yelling at them about everything (but they were fabulous man-management skills, eh wot?) that they wanted to have a bit of “fun”. And unfortunately, despite Drillo’s arrival, they still want to control the show. And here is where the problem lies.

When Drillo came in, one of the first voices of discontent was from Robbie Earle, who warned Drillo that they had a good thing here, and shouldn’t try and change things too much. Well, Drillo hasn’t really had a chance to, and he never was until the 10 game breaking-in period (now passed), but what REMBE was insinuating was that the players liked their “freedom” too much and any attempt at order was going to fall on deaf ears. In other words, the players just don’t want to know, and that is why wank like the Weds game happens.

True, there are some JK era players who escape criticism, namely JH, Sully and KC, all three are clearly working hard and deserve good fortune. The rest, however, should seriously consider whether they have the right mental capacity to be professional footballers. Witness the pathetic furore over the zonal defense system. OK, so it’s a bit different from man-marking, but as Drillo says, it’s not that much different, and besides, most teams in the Prem play it a bit zonal. It’s also good enough for Brazil and Norway, but obviously not good enough for Wimbledon.

This leads to the question, why are we so poor at it? Well, actually, we’re not poor at the zonal system, we’re just poor full stop. If the players cannot adapt to it because it’s too complicated, perhaps they shouldn’t be footballers at all? Remember, they are highly paid, in the Premiership and playing at a higher standard than maybe what their talent level suggests. Surely they are capable of changing – if not, then Drillo should get shot of them and get in his own players, which I think he badly wants to do.

Basically, the players’ attitude collectively stinks. It’s all very well turning it on vs Man Utd, but fucking up badly against Everton and Sheff Wed is lousy, and makes the players look like Big Time Charlies. Trouble is, most of them actually believe they are something. Except that they’re not. Witness the three JK era players who I singled out for praise – JH, KC and Sully. One has scored in a Euro Cup final. One has won his country’s Player Of The Year. One has been openly covetted by Alex Ferguson, no less. All three are near-certain regulars for their respective countries. They are also our best three players.

The rest? Well, they think they’ve achieved, but in truth they’ve done fuck all. Would Marcus Gayle ever score a Euro cup final goal for Arsenal or indeed anyone else? Bet Alan Kimble or Dean Blackwell will never win any Player Of The Year trophies. I feel that many of the current squad are merely going through the motions, before a big club or Tottenham Hospice snap them up for big fees. Frankly, I think that Leyton Orient would be more their level.

So what’s the answer? A clear-out, that’s what. There is too much deadwood at Wimbledon, and it’s not just the fringe players either. Very few turn it on other than when it suits them, not WFC. Talented they may be, but previous WFC teams, say from the Bassett or Gould eras, would have just laughed at them. If it means getting in mostly Scandos, so be it. The ones we have, and have had in the past, are certainly no worse than the current crop. Remember Mickey Belfield? Leo? I can’t find anyone who doesn’t rate Trond, and people were beginning to rave about TP before his op. Add Waehler and Andresen to the equasion, and when fully fit that doesn’t look a bad defence. Of course, the muppets will complain that they aren’t “Wimbledon players”. Actually, Wimbledon itself has quite a big Norwegian community, and how many of our current lot could say that?

What worries me even more is that some of the worst culprits have come through our youth system. So where’s the bad attitude instilled in them come from? Is our development system as good as we kid ourselves it is? Are “external influences” at work here? Or is it just me? (Jonesy, I need some BFH pronto….)

Make no mistake, we are at a critical time here. We have to change. We have to look forward, not back. If people are unwilling to change, then I’m unwilling to give any sympathy. After all, I doubt if the rest of the Premiership will be quite as accomodating to failure as certain people at WFC are.