I know "slow food" is the hottest trend around, but slow footballers?
Zola has just given the backbone of our team new contracts. That's good news. A few month's ago it was just a dream for us to keep players like Parker, Green and Upson. Now they have all signed long-term contracts here. Or will. Good. But you can also state wih a cynical touch: "Good, if you are about to sell your team". But that doesn't actually matter. That's probably a fact, but we all want the best of our team to stick together. And give the best chances for Zola to cultivate our East end football culture. Which will take a number of years.
So just happy days then? Well, I got to stick to my guns and question a new contract for our Captain. Lucas Neill has been playin quite well recently, but I think it's time to find a more modern RB to take his place rather sooner than later. But according to many sources Zola says he wants to give the Australian a new contract.
Zola has said that he wants a mix of experienced and young players to mature the younger ones in peace and quiet. So far so good. And I guess noone outside the team really know how much Lucas Neill actually means for the other players off the field. Hm. It must be very, very much. (Can someone tell us how much and in what way?)
But still, we need to have a stronger right side than we do now.
So can Neill be given a contract for an additional year (as it ends this summer) to let some new talent growing up under his shadow? That would be an idea, but I doubt that's the point here. Neill is a very competitive man - it seems - and to stay here in his early 30's mainly to help a younger, faster and better player to take his place and put him on the bench? Would that be an option for him? I doubt it. Even if his wages are not what the media has said, he must be one of the better paid players who offer the least on the field.
There is another problem though. We don't have a natural RB replacement at all as I can see. Do they think that the young talent Spence will be ready next year? Na, to early I guess. And Behrami seems to have found his place in midfield where I suggest he sticks.
So if we have problems up front at the moment, I think there is a even bigger problem to our right hand side. Maybe not right now, but very soon. Neill has experience, is doin well in the (doubtful) ACTIM index, and is a man with a good head (and he seems quite nice) but he is far to slow for modern football. I would let him move to support his Australian team, and find at least one, or probably two new RB:s next season. But maybe Clarke and Zola sees it differently? How could they? ; - )