domingo, 8 de julio de 2018

The tasty charm of the gamble

This post is dedicated to all those who know of my unconditional love for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Clarification. This post is an outline of the conditions of possibility that Rangers has after the first pre-season friendly against Bury. It is not a definitive version but the beginning of the road. Enjoy.

It is not surprising that the mainstream of Scottish journos write to shock or put themselves above the game, without ever developing a strong idea about the world they want and/or try to describe. Not accidentally, this happens because they point to the instantaneous reaction of social networks, they no longer write for an eager reader of opinion. It is time to admit it; there is a certain "utility of hatred" for which the Spiers, the Suttons and the whole heap with similar biases sentenced Gerrard as "gamble". It is the easy place of opinion. Fast profit, that´s what they get, being the hashtag for a few days, and they succeed. Egoism sells, hate spread sells! In the times that run the journalism applies the logic of the suicide motorists: better to arrive before to arrive well.

In the universe of counterfactual thinking, Gerrard is comparable to examples of players who failed when they hung up their boots and become managers, one of the most notable Diego Maradona, closest Ally McCoist, and on the other side, full of virtuosity, or the side that wins theses silly discussions, Pep Guardiola (nobody never places theses examples in spaces of exceptionality where the triumph or failure is more determine by other variables). I have read hours of interactions on Twitter of fans postulating all sorts of contradictory, dystopian thoughts, product of future concern, and expressions of desires without nuances.

The years of accumulated frustrations, from the repetitive porosity that there was no plan B, to the pitch geography wasn´t quite right of the marketing specialist and phlegmatic demagoguery, excess of the Latino passion of Pedro that showed an absolute lack of imagination (and a supine ignorance about Scottish football) to reach the plump face of the smiley Murty, which cost us historical defeats. Clear demonstrations that improvisation does not work, as an Argentinean I have also see it in this World Cup.

Pedro did not come to understand that the game models are not exported from one country to another but it is the idiosyncrasy that determines the establishment and the process. When he wanted to impose something different, he had already lost the dressing-room. But that is already ancient history.

After the first trial, Stevie G has a genuine football mold, orderly, able to combine the best features of Klopp´s vertiginosity, something of Brenda, with a little touch of Guardiola and the circulation we see in any other ambitious team. No one is original, even the most reformist took the previous examples, giving them their own subjectivity. Gamble? There are always aspirants to repeat that wee word before the first storm. Have the brolly on hand, the seasons are long.

Stevie G was populated by the best possible people, another thing, very different, is to be accompanied by the results and know how to manage the weight of the backpack, a stage that was marked by the victory of our eternal and obsessed rival. The unpredictability of this sport forces one to be more observant than the owner of the hammer with which to strike in favor of the wind of an already known result.

Against Bury, a clear game was seen, a block to enhance the invidualities. Gerrard made his request elliptically. "Play fast", in the jargon coded from day one of the strenuous preseason in Spain, involves doing it with players who know how to profile naturally, accommodate the body when they receive the ball without losing time, control in an instant and, if possible, pass with a touch to the next teammate. Strategy and associated football, the cadence of pass and orientation changes to a flatter attack. When Rangers does not have the ball, everyone press forward, in the first half, one of the gains was that Candeias stole the ball and led an attack although the play then deflated. The Portuguese seems to have won a place in the line-up also for his sacrifice in midfield management. A first criticism is that have to work in that the speed of the pressure does not transform into a foul and in not losing the ball and the positions by pressing.

We have ceased to be that team that was a constant producer of centers to the area for the exclusive merit of Candeias or Tavernier (deserved new skipper) to couple it as a resource to which to turn as an alternative.

Conceptually, Rangers football can start in the own area (Goldson and Katic, two wall but also skillful to pass the ball) and go through the midfield (Ross McCrorie standing in front of the defenders, helping in the transition when necessary) before finishing in the opposite area with Murphy, Morelos (his voracity and ambition to kick the goal from the narrowest angle has no limits, even at the risk of receiving complaints from the crowd or his teammates).

Awakening from Russell Martin´s nightmare. The backbone is focused on consolidating a defensive strength, like that of almost every team that aspires to a certain degree of soundness requires a keeper to give security and a couple of strong central defenders. This was the first sign of what I understand as intelligent planning. If anything Goldson and Katic showed in this game it was patience, perseverance and mentality. In Ibrox, the defenders had the ball, which was, over any added value, the best way to defend against the opponent. Katic, Goldson, Tavernier, Flanaghan were ahead of that in the pitch.

In the second half of last season, Alfredo Morelos mentally suffered the disconnection of players who have spent weeks without any expectation of competing. Some low yields, not many interlocutors who speak Spanish, a time hibernating in the bench, his awkwardness to retweet the possibility of signing for Besiktas, the bad intention of some in the social networks (filming his little attitude in the half-time) conspired to create an ecosystem of malaise. Difficult to play with a confused head. Gerrard understood everything immediately, his phrases are not accidental: “We love the player. The fans love the player”. There are players that you can give them half a meter, and others who can´t be given a millimeter because they dance to you, like Morelos who dances Colombian cumbia.  We need someone like him to dance defenses.

Ross McCrorie, a real headache for those who fix the Ibrox lawn. He pressed well forward, cut the game or the possibility of a pass. Apparently, Gerrard encourages Ross to move forward and press, and that resulted in the first half in recovering the ball. Ross has to work a little more on the final pass. Many teams that press forward are not well organized. And it is true that when the first line of pressure is broken, real highways open because players who do not perform the pressure are not well placed to prevent counter-attacks by closing those highways. It is important that players feel comfortable when they press in the opposite field and Gerrard creates the containment dam.

Initially, because I can´t describe a system with only one game, we have not reduced our game form to the sides, but we are looking for more alternatives, rotations and players appearing in different places, there are no necessarily rigid positions. With the passing of weeks and works, this will be a "design team". Murphy, Arfield or Windass do not have the weight of tactical chains, which often immobilize players in a repetitive role. Arfield will give the team the surprise of joining from the middle (in his repertoire is the old resource of dribbling the rival, so rare in today´s football. The ideology of competitiveness has limited the plays of risk and fantasy in which you can lose the ball), help in the game kitchen and get in front of the goal to have more goal option. Scott´s first goal starts with his pressure in the middle, in what is a multi-player pressure, sometimes hasty but coordinated.

Many of the goals have shown the patience to move the ball from one side to the other, until finding Arfield, Alfredo, Zak Rudden, among others. There is material to make triangulations that culminate in the small area. Glen Middleton arrived at Ibrox in silence. I heard a lot of his name and Rudden´s from some lads that faithfully follow the games of youngsters on Twitter. In a few minutes, Glenn provided some waist, precision passes, burst doses and raids into the area to break bolts. It takes more work, more weeks and more competition and the new faces will add more quality and alternatives, unfortunately there is no more time before the Europa League legs, it is a risk that has to be taken.

Before saying goodbye. After having to read months of aggressions on my nationality, in what I have been treated as a prisoner of war, collaborationist, among other things, I have reduced to the minimum expression my interactions on Twitter, nobody wants to be in a place that does not enjoy. That does not mean giving in, but starting to prioritize the energies in more important things. So from now on, the post of the games will be the form of interaction. I´m sorry because I´ve met many valuable, very important people, so I decided not to deactivate the account.

sábado, 23 de junio de 2018

Living the dream!

Life tends to make us take different paths, physically distance us from what we want, but fortunately there are feelings and memory to give validity to what we love, our passions. For decades I have read the most fabulous stories of the Bears across the globe with a common denominator, the repeated desire to return one day to Ibrox to see a game and share a pint. At the end of the day, celebrate the reunion with the identity.

I do not remember how many years have passed since I met Stuart (@RangersLoyalSA) and his passion for Rangers. With Stuart, we created Rangers Loyal South America to expand the voice of Rangers in the region. From a remote place in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital, where he is living for seven years, Stuart encouraged his love for The Mighty to each of his children, which always meant something valuable to someone like me who was not born in the United Kingdom. The longing, the desire to return is never abandoned.

Now, I want to help him, and if someone can help me help him, I will be eternally grateful. Stuart has three children: Henry, Ally (I don´t must explain why he has that name lol) and Harry. They were never in Ibrox to see a game -only Henry was around Ibrox when he was only a month old- this would be the first time, we all know that these events remain for life in our personal stories, a matter of proud to tell to our descendants. Although Henry was born in England, he speaks English and Spanish impressively (I was always surprised by the spontaneity to move from one language to the other in a matter of seconds), the rest are Argentinians, but not so much, if you know Stuart´s house is full of British flags!!!

Next July 12, three generation of the Sinclair family will be in Ibrox for the Europa League first qualifying round against Shkupi. The mere fact of writing it make me goosebumps. And I want to give them a gift, help them to be in the pitch by seeing their heroes in the first person. It would be unforgettable that the children will enter on the pitch with the players. You know that being a Bear flag was one of the best things I´m going to take away from this life. Seeing the atmosphere of Ibrox from that center of the world is something that everything Bearette and Bear should do sometime in life. I would have liked Jim Hannah to be at the front of all this, I think he was a specialist and he knew how to empathize with these stories, although he is serious and that was very good for that position, for something was the boss!!

From now on I will hit all the doors necessary to make these young people fulfill their dream, if someone can help me, we will be shoulder to shoulder so that The Rangers Family added more stories to their inexhaustible tradition. Seeing those wee Bears smile is worth it!  WATP

If you can share this publication so that someone from the club takes note of this event, I say Thank you!

viernes, 3 de marzo de 2017

Bats in the belfry at 150 Edmiston Drive!

Aye, Pedro Caixinha, for moments, was made of sterner stuff in his Aztec stage. “It is true that I am explosive, something impulsive, but I always say what I think,” Caixinha said in an interview with a sports channel. On YouTube there is a bunch of videos about their verbal fights with rival coaches. Anyone who takes the Ibrox reins will have to have the character and the temperament to make many changes (The players who brought MW, a game system full of fissures among other things). The question that underlies all this is whether the form of professionalism of Rangers players and Scottish football is prepared for someone like Caixinha? 

Among the first alarmists is Charlie Nicholas. The former celtic striker made the mistake of asserting: “Don’t forget Caixinha will know very little about the game here.” I do not agree, Caixinha was three years linked and studying with the coaches of the current Scottish football and knowing the surrounding culture, I do not think anything is alien to him. Caixinha partner in the studio coach, Alan Stubbs, in another interview, reinforces the idea: “His English was absolutely fantastic – like a lot of foreign coaches, he put the rest of us to shame a bit with the way he could speak our language. He communicated his ideas really well”.

They are bored when they try to think our club under the parameter of the failure of Paul Le Guen. “Players turned on him and it is still the same mentality within the Scottish game”, said Nicholas. Although this must be borne in mind, the times are not the same, the demands are not the same, other people involved. It is no longer divas time and the moods of the crowds in Ibrox do not want a season like this. From Warburton's discursive incantations on the "ethics" of work, I thought we had more rigorous forms of training. The succession of games where the errors were not modified and Senderos' public statement (once MW was out) that they did not watch videos or study rivals. It seemed that Warburton was the big change and in the end it was a marketing campaign to sell bread in thin slices but with a sour taste by expiration date.

Pedro Caixinha is a perfectionist in his work, studious, meticulous, and an obsessive in planning. Worker like few in the strategy, same that is born as an idea but that develops in each training of very detailed way. When Caixinha was young, he tame bulls in his native Beja, a paternal inheritance. The first time he had a close relationship with the bullfighting world represented a traditional streak of value for Caixinha that he will never forget and occupy his life. “It was five years old when in a meeting, my father put me in front of a bull to fight”.

A Mexican journalist told me last night that he has a special way of seeing football. It has led the Santos Laguna in an evolutionary stage, making debut a great number of young people and exerting an aggressive style and playful to the Mexican fitbaw.

Caixinha learned from two managers, he is often said in the interviews, one is Carlos Queiroz (former manager of Real Madrid and Manchester United among others) his academic bases of the game, the work of training. And the other is Mourinho: "I do not try to be a copy of José Mourinho, I have my own style and identity although there are always points of reference and clear that Mourinho is one of my referents just like Guardiola," he said a few years ago to the Spaniard sports daily Marca. Pedro is an advanced disciple.

Caixinha attended in Scotland in his coaching career, where he was companion of Davie Weir and Stubbs. He obtained the UEFA license after completing his studies in 2010. He spent three years studying there. In his perception, Scotland has the best schools to prepare and certify technical directors. It was there that celtic incorporated him as a scout in Portugal and Spain.

Within his concepts focused on the mentality of the player, the Portuguese, with an incorporated Mexican accent, considerer that the word "defeat" within the dressing room should be eradicated, even from the youngster of every club. He is convinced that inculcating the word "victory" to children, the boys would grow up with better convictions.

Standing in the center of the pitch, during his first practice with Santos Laguna, Pedro Caixinha sized up how difficult it would be for him to reach the title of the Mexican league. The reason? His method of work forces the footballer to think and, according to him, most of the Mexican players do not do it. So it is not surprising that it took two and a half years to get the title.

In Caixinha's words, whenever the players reach the dressing room they have on the board the drawing (graphic model) of the training session with the different phases to be fulfilled: organization, dynamics and exercises. What we are looking for is that at the end of the practice each player thinks and asks how and why he has done it.

Within football there are four performance factors: physical, psychological, technical and tactical. This collective sports game is imminently tactical, according to Caixinha. Everything you do has to do with the principles of the game, which are in the moments that exist during the game, such as the offensive transition and when you must defend, which is what you want for the team to have an identity. "That's the hard part, because it's hard for you to think, and most Mexican players are not used to thinking, and in football you have to do it, because it's a game of decisions (…) That's why we spend 12 hours a day at the club and that's what makes us different.” An out-of-the-ordinary training methodology in Mexico. Of course, the training needs “no pain, no gain”, and always looking to develop the most important muscle of the current player: his brain! "Training: base cell of success"

Caixinha changed the optics to the game through the workouts, his range of exercises is so wide that I do not remember to have seen a same training twice. He was an observer and sought to change technical and mental aspects in his players, I remember very well how I could not believe that a top level player did not know how to face the game or hit the ball with both pegs, I also remember how elaborate his game system was in block and as he read and reviewed all the data that provided the department in charge of the analyzes”, says Mexican journalist Alberto Ruiz with enthusiasm. At Santos Laguna, he introduced the GPSport, a technology that measures heart rate during training, passing effectiveness, accelerations, miles developed during play time, as well as preventing possible injuries. 

In the last hours, I read a lot of the word risk in many of our fanbase. Caixinha can be a quality leap towards something totally different from what we know as a manager. It is an update of the role that seemed to manifest incipiently with Warburton (which in my opinion ended up being something fictitious). It will not be immediate, but I think it's the moment of history knocking on our doors.

Nikica Jelavic 18

Nikica Jelavic 18

We Are Not Neil Lennon!

We Are Not Neil Lennon!

Spot The Difference

Spot The Difference