Old Boy Update
We’re all aware of the rule of the returning player: an old boy will always score against you, particularly if their departure was in some way upsetting to one or other of the parties. So I’m delighted to report that Kevin Nolan has left West Ham with us playing them today. He supposedly left as he was not guaranteed a place in the side by new manager Slaven Bilic. Is anybody really ever guaranteed their place though? Least of all a 33-yr-old who looked 40 when he was 25. He’s training with Orient while looking for a new club. That surprises me. If ever there was someone I assumed wouldn’t keep dragging his bones round a pitch into footballing old age it was Nolan. He was of course an important player who had many good days for us, which deserves its own respect. In addition to that, well done to him for finding the motivation to keep playing when the only real reason for doing so is the enjoyment of it.
There’s a growing trend for football clubs to try to improve their fortunes through the use of computer analysis of players, Moneyball in common parlance. Forest Green are the latest to be reported as trying it out. Their chairman this week stated they’d signed 2 players using these techniques, one of whom had been a success and the other had not so hardly an all-encompassing commitment to new technology. Brentford last season had great success using these kind of ideas under manager Mark Warburton, now at Glasgow Rangers. Warburton’s an ex-City trader which is always mentioned to give the story some crazy numeric obsessional qualities. He’s also an ex-pro like 99% of all league managers which doesn’t produce the same atmosphere. The basic point of Moneyball methods is to identify value in players, those who can be acquired more cheaply than their talent should allow. That sounds like our own recruitment policy to me, for better or for worse.
After a spell at Wigan, our ex-reserve right back James Tavernier has popped up at Rangers in the Scots championship. At the time of writing he was their 2nd top scorer for the season with 7 goals. Good luck to him obviously but this is someone loaned to Bristol City by Wigan last season. Despite his recent success I don’t think we should lose much sleep about letting him go.