After the rich vein of topics from which I have chosen my subject the last few weeks, I found myself unable to find something, a scrap of football-related news to write about this week. After much deliberation and Internet searching I decided to talk about 'player power`. This idea came to my having discussed the Watford-Ipswich game with somebody, who, like me had observed Marlon King`s body language and overall contribution to the game-zilch.
King is undoubtedly a talented player, a player who has had troubles in the past, something he is almost constantly reminded of and tarnished with but equally has probably earnt the right to forget his troubles after his successes at the club. Ah, the club, Watford. Where does Watford Football Club come in the hierarchy of Marlon King I wonder? Not very near the top is my personnel opinion. How do I surmise this? His performance on Saturday reeked of someone who wanted to be bigger than the football club. Sadly, for Marlon and other prima donnas, no player is bigger than any football club and hopefully never will be.
This is a dig at Marlon`s attitude first and foremost, but also, in turn, and I suppose as a consequence, a dig at his performance on Saturday. Our play this season, I have observed, when not down the middle, has been wide. Of course, now I think that sentence through, duh-if you don`t play centrally, you have to play wide! But anyway. Despite having two very able, in fact, more than able wingers in Tommy Smith (in team of the week, again) and Jobi McAnuff, Marlon goes searching for the ball in the wide areas. Consequently when he gets into a crossing position, having passed up the opportunity to pass, he can`t find himself in the area. Chances and opportunities therefore go missing because of one players ambition to do it all himself.
Although it may not sound like it, I most defiantly think Marlon is a fantastic player, he was pivotal to us winning promotion in 2006 and will be again this season, if, he can be more of a team player. This season will be Aidy`s biggest test as a manager, most defiantly bigger than our Premiership season. After having little or no expectation put on us for two seasons, Boothroyd did well, now though, as one of the promotion favourites he has to deliver. Keeping King on Boothroyd`s side will be crucial in this promotion push.
If we, and indeed I, are to speculate on rumours, then King is the highest earner at the club. (I don`t think that to be much of a rumour, more a fact), but one rumour is that Marlon must be the highest earner at the club. A second example of one man, trying to outsize the club in terms of importance. It shouldn`t be like that but unfortunately with the money in the game, wages increase and so player like Marlon can demand more or as he has done, clauses like these which mean the clubs will be too scared to disagree and risk losing the players.
That was example number one, of player power. Example number two revolves around another of our strikers, and once again, money. Guessed who yet?
For those of you who participated in my overly patronising introduction to the next part of this article and guessed Darius Henderson, correct! For those that didn`t, shame on you, enter into the spirit of these things!
Yes, Darius Henderson is the other man at the club who is a great example of today`s 'player power`. Before I begin my tirade I have to say Doris was very badly treated by the club and that probably is a fair enough reason to act as he did. I however am still not satisfied.
After being allowed to leave for Preston, Henderson decided to stay and try and fight for his place. After having bids for other strikers fall through, Aidy effectively says to Hendo: "I didn`t want you, but I can`t get anyone better so you`ll do". Henderson then states he wants to leave, which is probably fair when you`ve effectively been told you don`t have the gaffers faith. However, in my eyes, what isn`t right is to turn around and (effectively) say: "I`ll only stay and be a good little boy if you give me more money a week than I`m actually worth". Aidy, bowing down to player power, again, hands Hendo a new deal with lucrative terms-player power is the winner again.
As you can deduce from my entirely unrealistic snippets of conversation between parties Henderson and Boothroyd, this whole affair has been entirely brought on by Boothroyd`s failures in the transfer market, but that`s a whole new moaning session.
I feel sorry for Darius. He is a good player who often gets flack for not being the quickest or most frequent goalscorer, he has managed 19 goals in a Watford shirt however, not a bad return for a target man I feel. As sure I am that Darius is a nice man really, it gets me a bit that Hendo is so shallow and doesn`t stick to his 'principles`, feeble though they, in exchange for extra cash.
I would like to think that although I haven`t presented a solution to the problems I`ve posed that something will eventually be done to ensure that the employees, the players, don`t run our clubs. However, something inside my head tells me it won`t and that the rich men inside football are just going to keep on getting richer. Is this really the beautiful game?
Keep the faith,