BWFC: The Rolling Stones
In a completely monotone voice, free of any enthusiasm… 'Yay, we won.`
The fact we are all celebrating a solitary win quantifies the deep slump our beloved club has found itself in lately. I say lately because at the back end of last season we were in anything but a slump. But we discovered almost instantaneously, when Craig Dawson emptied his locker, our problems resurfaced like a dose of psoriasis.
The fact of the matter is, Dawson didn`t cure our ills; even when he was here, he only alleviated the symptoms. Dawson was like an effective cream; the redness disappeared but the problems still lurked beneath the surface. When Dawson shore-up our defence and chipped in with goals, our performances didn`t perk up at all… Only the results improved.
If you examined last season`s line-graph in the way outlined above, this season`s disastrous start wouldn`t have come as a shock. As well as carrying last terms underachievers, the Bolton starting-11 had to incorporate a new sentimental striker, short on confidence and game-time. It was a ticking time-bomb and it didn`t take long to explode. Luckily, the damage caused can be reversed… Just.
So, what about Liam Feeney? Thanks again, Millwall. From the club that brought you Keith Branagan and John McGinlay has now sent up north another saviour. The speedy winger is just what the Whites needed, for a number of reasons.
First off: his attitude. Still only 26, Feeney has a point to prove. Not only is enthusiasm and confidence seeping out of every pour- which is rubbing off on the rest of the team- he`s performing like he`s hoping for a new home. The lad has one thing on his mind when he gets the ball and that terrifies defenders. We`ve not had someone bombing down the wings like that since Johanson in the late 90`s early 00`s. He`s also been compared to David Lee, which leads me to say: wingers are notorious for their performances blowing hot and cold. David Lee is fondly remembered by the Wanderers supporters for being part of the team that had phenomenal cup-runs and promotion charges. But the little winger`s form was up and down like the New York Stock Exchange. So if Feeney`s loan is extended, or he just has a couple of bad games while he`s here, go easy on the lad.
Secondly: his crossing. What do you make of Burnley`s start to the season? I know, it`s amazing, right? Not only for the points-tally they`ve racked up, but the fact they`ve got, not one, but two of the leagues top scorers on their books. How do Burnley keep producing prolific scorers year after year? First it was Steven Fletcher, who they sold for millions. Then it was Jay Rodriguez, who they sold for millions. Then it was Charlie Austin, who, yet again, they sold for millions. Now they have Ings and Vokes smashing them in. Is it the fact that Burnley produce quality strikers making the team better? Or is it the fact that Burnley play a style which allows the strikers to score lots of goals? I believe it`s the latter.
Burnley get crosses into the box… a lot of crosses into the box. The landscape of football has changed within the last 5 years, since the emergence of Barcelona and foreign managers bringing a new wave of style. They narrow the pitch and try to play through the defence rather than getting round the back. Burnley have remained retro-old-school, which benefits the strikers. I`m not saying Burnley`s strikers down the years haven`t been skilful, of course they have. But their goal-tallies and subsequent transfer fees have been inflated by this style of play. Crosses into the box reap rewards for the strikers, but it does have its negatives. The strikers gain is the rest of the team`s loss. If Feeney`s wing-play is the Wanderers` adopted style going forward, you are likely to see a drop-off in goals for the midfielders. But I can live with that. I`d rather have a winger and a striker stretching defenders through fear rather than hoping Eagles gets one of his dozen shots on target.
Plus, can you imagine if Dougie throws Hall into the mix? Feeney and Hall on the wings, crossing for Beckford with Eagles sniffing for scraps or rebounds? It doesn`t have to be a dream…
I know a lot of fans didn`t rejoice when Dougie recruited the three new loan signings- me included. But The Rolling Stones once said in a song that describes the situation perfectly… You can`t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.