Can Tim Krul Save The Penguins Every Week?
Attending Junior School in the wilds of Northumberland was never going to be the springboard to launch an international career but it got me interested in football, by the age of 8 I had already been identified as that sad and lonely individual who spends most of his time standing shivering between the posts while everyone else was off chasing the ball keeping warm.
Yes – I was a goalkeeper. I use the past tense not so much to suggest that being a keeper is something you can recover from, like being a gambler, or a drug addict, but more to indicate that like many physical activities there comes a time when the body’s capabilities are no longer a match for the mind’s expectations, and you have to consider something a little more leisurely, such as golf, drinking, fishing, or drinking. Oh – did I mention drinking?
My last attempt at beach football ten years ago resulted in a painful 5 hour drive, a 2,000 pound medical bill and back muscles that to this day have a mind of their own, and are not averse to marooning me at the drop of a hat in a multitude of exotic locations ranging from the cupboard under that stairs, through to the bathroom in a top class restaurant. You haven’t lived until a complete stranger has helped you pull your trousers up in a fancy cubicle, then carried you to your car, while the Maître D’ follows you into the car park muttering something about an unpaid bill.
The other end of the scale is being pulled out of the stair cupboard backwards, by the legs, like a screaming wheelbarrow.
This particular rant was originally heading towards the fact that as a youngster I was considered quite a capable keeper and had quite a collection of Man Of The Match Awards, Footballer of The Year Trophies and all those other bits of plastic junk that were usually distributed at the end of season functions.
That may sound a tad big headed but the whole point is that it wasn’t so much my ability to stop the ball that got me noticed as the sheer incompetence of the mob in front of me.
It’s easy to look good when you seem to be involved all the time. I collected one of my MOTM awards in an 11-0 drubbing at the hands of a neighbouring school who turned up 2 players light and even then the nine they had included 2 girls.
“If you hadn’t been in goal it could easily have been 20 or more..” opined our headmaster. I think that’s what they call a backhanded comment.
What I’m getting at is that in our rush to congratulate our keeper, we are maybe being distracted by the performance, but as a result can’t see the cause.
Yes, little Timmy was supreme. He blocked shots with every part of his body and while the commentators made facetious comments about him not wearing a cap despite the low sun, because it was not ‘trendy’, he went on to pull off a string of magnificent saves, showing exactly where the dazzle was actually coming from on the day. It was noted that those responsible for the previous comments (hope you read this Clive Allen) made no effort to retract their quips at half time.
But nobody seems to have asked the question, “why did Tim Krul have to make so many saves and why were so many of them from inside the box?”
“Because our defence was crap”, I hear you say! No? But that’s what you should be saying!
2 Seasons ago with an unheard of number of clean sheets, man of the match performances, and one man shows, Tim singlehandedly took us to Europe. OK , he may have used 2 hands at times, but I’m sure you get the point.
At that time he was heroic week in and week out, and our defence was then, as today, reminiscent of a box full of wind up penguins waddling around the box, at best just getting in the way of people.
Don’t get me wrong – Krul was superb and we can’t take anything away from his contribution, but we have to ask why he had to work so hard, and why the defence did so little?
After all – you only get to save 14 shots if the opposition are allowed to take 14 shots, or, as was the case on Sunday, many more.
We cannot depend on Super Tim keeping us in the next twenty odd games all by himself, in much the same way we cannot expect the opposition to carry on shooting near enough to our keeper that he can reach.
So what do we do?
I don’t think we have a solution just yet. While Debuchy and Santon are brilliant going forward I’ve always been a bit of a ‘let’s sort the defenders out when they’re defending first’ kind of person and worry about them heading North later.
And while we may have secured results with Williamson and Wa**yYoungBeaver in front of Krul, the last few minutes of the games recently have wreaked havoc on the Chivas bottle, with Spurs camping out in the 6 yard box virtually unchecked.
I’d like to say that Taylor and Colo are the answer but I don’t think they are. I used to consider Colo the brains of the gang, and thought we were just short of a bit of muscle backing him up, but Tayls has shown himself to be a liability on so many occasions, and unless Williamson can remember when Dancing With The Stars finishes and the game starts, I think he will too. This wrestling in the box lark has become the new ‘diving’. One day the refs will clamp down and the penalties will flow. Sorry. Maybe that should be ‘pelunties’ for our illiterate neighbours.
Hopefully Ashley will have another dip into the profits after new year and bring in a couple more players. Possibly one defender and one attacker. I think he’s figured out that you can get some decent bargains in the New Year Sales and has just moved his personal transfer window a bit nearer to the end of the players’ contracts.
If we can find someone who is possibly the result of an illicit relationship between a whippet and a brick shi*house we could maybe shore up our dubious backline. Until then, you get the Chivas and I’ll wind up the penguins.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]