FanPost

I'm Not Saying.... But I'm Just Saying


Not trying to say that we shouldn't be happy with our start. But this article surprised me a lot.

But from time to time, I do ready Uli Hesse on ESPN and from time to time he does have something smart to say, as he did here.... http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story/_/id/1152626/uli-hesse:-start-me-up?cc=5901


Don't like or can't click zee links? I'll post it after zee jump.

Earlier this week, I came across a short think piece by the Israeli writer Ouriel Daskal on Soccerissue, in which he discussed the importance of a good start to a season for a team. His conclusion may come as a surprise. "How important is a good start for the season? Not too much," Ouriel says.

This seems to run counter to conventional wisdom, which maintains that getting off to a good start is crucial. Football folk will even automatically add an "obviously" when you ask them about this matter, as in the stock reply we all have heard a hundred times: "Obviously it's very important for us to get a good start."

But is it really that obvious or that important? Ouriel's got a few examples up his sleeve that suggest it isn't. "In France, Lille won the double two seasons ago despite not winning their first four games of the season," he writes. "Milan won the Scudetto in 2011-12 despite winning just once in their first four games." It also works the other way round. A few teams from various European leagues come to mind that didn't merely start well but were downright majestic in the early stages... and then couldn't go all the way. In 1985, Manchester United won the first ten games of the season but finished only fourth. Five years later, Liverpool won the first eight - and 12 of the first 13 plus one draw - yet were pipped to the title by Arsenal.

...

Or maybe it's not so incidental. When you talk to Klopp about the ups and downs of his managerial career - and there have been downs, don't forget that he got relegated with Mainz in 2007 - he often mentions that, unlike almost any other manager you care to name, he has so far never ever been in a position where he had to fear for his job. And it's true. On the day after that fifth defeat in the fifth league game of the 2005-06 season, Mainz's business manager Christian Heidel said: "This is a difficult time and we will brave it out together. We will keep absolutely calm, as we see no reason to panic. Every once in a while, you'll have bad runs like this one."

...

Because those two defeats didn't really come as a surprise, they merely served to confirm misgivings that had been simmering beneath the surface all along. Despite the club's reassurances - "This is going to be our year!", coach Thorsten Fink told his players before the cup debacle - supporters and journalists alike had been very sceptical about the team's chances.

That's why it was ("obviously") very important for Hamburg to have a good start to the season. Not getting it has proved to be costly in a very literal sense and could come back to haunt a club that had planned to get its finances in order by saving instead of spending. However, one of the panic signings Hamburg made was that of fan favourite Rafael van der Vaart, whose return had been rumoured many times before. If the Dutchman delivers what the fans expect, they will look back on that drubbing at the hands of a third-division team and say this awful start was the best thing that could happen. But that's another theory.

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