If you had asked me the question a few years back, the answer would have been a definite NO.
A long ball merchant, team of organised thugs, tactics are simple, the big men at the back get it to the big man up front as quickly as possible. However, the back end of last season saw a change of view.
Firstly, Tony speaks the language of the fans. Down to earth, no clichés, honest.
Secondly, anybody would have been welcomed after Garry Monk
Tony breathed new life into the team, throw ins became a potent attacking weapon, he partially released the 4-2-3-1 hand break, Paddy started scoring, the team spirit seemed better and he got Adama playing.
Yes, there were casualties. Fans favourites Fabio and Cyrus Christie didn’t fit his style, nor did Braithwaite and Fletcher. Assombolonga stopped scoring, and without goals his contribution was zero.
But we started winning again, and the football was better. We had a system and a shape, something that was missing under Monk.
I actually enjoyed going to games again. So although we failed in the Championship play offs, I had high hopes for this season. I’d like to think I still do,,,, But.
Our season starts 2 weeks tomorrow. Flint and McNair in, decent signings but not the ones I would have hoped for. Creativity, flair, pace and goals. I suppose those are on every manager and fan’s wishlist and are few and far between.
Cast our minds back a year. We brought in a goal machine in Britt, flair in Braithwaite, pace and potential in Fletcher and a goal scoring midfielder in Howson. By Christmas only Howson remained a first teamer.
I’m sure we are searching for that missing creativity, but I’m also sure we will have an alternative plan if we don’t find one. That alternative will be Pulis’s normal Plan A. Difficult to beat, pragmatic and hard working.
Tony deserves a chance to prove himself and the only time to judge him will be in May.
However, I find myself questioning things already.
We sign a midfielder (McNair) and play him at right back, yet play a defender (Fry) in midfield.
Appointing an assistant manager, who will be 72 by the end of September, doesn’t altogether look like forward thinking. Last year we had a manager (Monk) who was younger than one of the players (Dimi).
This year we have an assistant (Ellis) who is old enough to be Marcus Tavernier’s great grandfather! All his assistants, Ellis, Woodgate and Fleming were defenders
Where is the attacking input coming from?
I have no idea of the internal machinations of a football club. All I see is that Leadbitter, Britt, Braithwaite, Fletcher and Johnson are at best on the fringes. So why don’t we ship them out to make way for some talent. Obviously its not that easy.
TP or not TP? For me it’s a yes. Tony Pulis’ Red & White Army