He recalled Sir Bobby Robosn saying that it was about bringing in ‘Good People’, not just ‘Good Players’.
Obviously the players you have to bring in must be decent as well, as I think even a forward line of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi would have struggled to cope with the demands of the modern game.
I don’t think players have to be all best mates off the pitch but it has to be essential that they work together on it and work for each other, plus of course respect and want to play for the manager.
The penalty fiasco yesterday against Norwich is a case in point, yes Papiss missed it but the players wanted him to take it and get off the mark, even the lieks of Bena Arfa and Ba who are in goalscoring form were prepared to sacrifice their own personal ambition.
I know Harper quotes Sir Bobby but it was Kevin Keegan who most definitely was the first one to focus on the character of players as well as their ability.
Just look at this list; Bracewell, Venison, Beresford, Ferdinand, Ginola, Barton, Batty, Sheedy, Sellars, Albert, Peacock, Beardsley; all players with excellent attitude who I can’t remember causing a hint of a problem under KK. Plus of course they did it where it mattered on the pitch.
Tino might have been a character but the other players loved him and knew he gave an extra dimension, while Cole might have came over as moody but did it on the pitch. Less said about Keith Gillespie the better…
Sir Bobby signed a mixed bag of players when you look at how they have turned out, especially off the pitch – but on it he undoubtedly got the best out of them alongside the likes of Speed, Lee, Shearer and Given. He added the genius of Robert and Bellamy, the class of Woodgate and…Titus Bramble. Players like Bellamy and Dyer might not have ended up as the best off the pitch role models but on it, their unselfish work fed the monster that was Alan Shearer.
On the hand you look at Graeme Souness bringing in Boumsong, Luque, Emre, Babayaro and Owen….or what about Fat Sam and Viduka, Geremi and Barton?
Like any workplace where teamwork is needed, the person in charge has to put the right mix together and In Alan Pardew I think we have somebody who undoubtedly has the players playing for him and respecting their team-mates.
I have my doubts about Marveaux and no surprise to see him getting frozen out and not even getting a start over in Madeira, on the other hand Demba Ba is unhappy about playing out on the left and getting dropped to the bench, his response?
Seventy minutes later he’s scored three goals, rescuing a point and getting the winner against Norwich. It smells like team spirit.
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