Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Rant Roma Regarding - The Offence

I'm not even sure whether the hairstyles are supposed to be intentional, Vucinic for a change looks like he shaves in the dark, Borriello can never turn towards the camera without making me think of Wile E. Coyote and the way he looks when he's standing suspended after having just stepped off of a cliff (but he wore the Batman mask for a while, so I suppose he's justified, even though if Bruce Wayne had to go around like that he'd have so many people rolling on the floor laughing that the Joker would probably shoot himself). As for Totti, good luck trying to figure out what the fuck happened to his head last Thursday, he looked like one of those goofy Japanese animation characters you get in role-playing games, the ones where they have swords the size of a planet's dick and dialogue going something like [GUY:] "I'm so tough, I'm gonna make you eat your balls for breakfast!" [GIRL:] "I can see, you've got a sensitive side somewhere beneath you... stop being so insensitive and inhuman... liberate yourself from your hatred..." [OLD GUY:] "(some wise stuff)".

But the hairstyles aside, there's another problem. It may seem strange to speak of problems in a department which could probably inspire the sequel for Midget Spice's song 'It's raining men halleluja' (was her name Midget Spice? I'm sorry. Anyway she may have an even better time going to Milan, and I'm sure she'd find someone of her level in Robinho, no offence by the by).

So what's the problem? The exact same thing as in all other departments! The management decided to FOLLOW THE GLITZ, keeping in mind that OLD IS BETTER THAN NEW. And so they purchased Adriano. The guy's been deconstructed quite thoroughly, so I'll contain myself. I'm aware it's a gamble that could pay off, but as long as we're gambling, why not do so on someone young? In fact, why not simply nurture Okaka? As with Cerci, not everyone is a fan of the man. You may claim that in order for him to pay off, it would require lots of time and investment. Fine, but how much time and investment has Adriano cost us so far? Youth is a gamble by default. Buying a waning star is also a gamble, but the difference between the two things is that the former usually costs a tenth of the price of the latter. Even if we choose to forget priorities (which, again, should have gone to the midfield), we could have had a player just as fruitful for a fraction of the price.

I'm actually not even a huge fan of Borriello. I applaud management for having taken him only because he came practically for free. In truth, he underscores the managerial philosophy which I've been criticising all this time. He has been scoring very much, no doubt. But I think he's benefited from Roma's current game, not the other way round. In a team playing fresher, faster football, the type of football I'd expect from a team thinking towards the future, I don't think he'd have fared quite as well. He's a good addition to a flawed type of team - in other words, he's the right piece of jigsaw puzzle if you're building an ugly picture. He's not the kind of player I'd like to see in a team managed according to modern principles.

Incidentally, Menez is perhaps the most important player in the Roman team at the moment, and he's an example of just how much there is to gain from investment in youth. He is also the only player we can be certain will still be effective three years from now. Everybody else will be pushing age boundaries, or even crashed past them like suvs. Since we currently have five forwards in our roster (Menez, Totti, Adriano, Vucinic, Borriello), this means that in order to keep up our ranks, we'll have to buy four new forwards over the next three years. At what kind of price? Sure, Okaka and other youth products may have their comeback, but they're never going to mature and be useful until we start effing playing them. Suppose that instead of Adriano we'd purchased, say, Giovinco (I know, it's impossible with Ranieri as our coach, but then getting rid of Ranieri is part of the problem). Not only we'd have a player who would likely have been far more useful than, erm, the "Emperor" has been so far, but over the next three years, we'd have one less forward to buy, and we could have invested that money on the midfield or the defence. I mentioned Giovinco because he was the most important young star up for grabs this year, and it's unbelievable that he ended up at Parma. But he's not the only kid with potential. And as long as you're gambling, you gamble the right way - with patience and work and minimising expenses, not by FOLLOWING THE GLITZ.

Conclusions. The future.

I've outlined three paradigms which have been behind management's philosophy in the last few years. I'll state them again:


These are not minor issues which every team suffers from in a form or another. They are very serious strategic shortcomings, inaugurating problems which we shall drag along with ourselves for the next five years (if not longer). They are also all related and interdependent. You can't get rid of one without flushing out the others, because they're all rooted in the same fallacious vision of how a team should be managed, one which prizes the ephemeral over the concrete and holds immediacy to be a greater virtue than patience. Not that everything should be prospective, there's seasonal results which must be be prioritised over future investments. But neither should the present come at the expense of the future, and yes, that's what happening now, and the fact we've been doing this for the past few years is the reason we're taking damage today.

I've been one of the most vocal defenders of the Sensi oligarchy back when the ghost of Soros loomed over the eternal city, but now for the first time I find myself hoping for a change of management. In fact, I even hope to see a new Coach soon enough (not right now, obviously). I want guys above who build a team properly and a Coach below who implements their resources with modern thought and modern football. Ranieri is great at patching stuff, not at creating it. I fear the same may be true of the Sensi, ever since Franco passed away.

This team needs neither youth nor money, neither tactics nor players. It needs vision. And it's only by changing management that we're going to get that.

That's all I've got to say. Peace out.

Closing note. I've actually brought this blog back online because I'm on holiday. I don't know how long it's going to last, but while I'm here, I'm going to drop down my thoughts on the team as it develops (amid more regular posts). Should last until the end of February. Enjoy!

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