|It's one of soccer's most enigmatic questions: who is to blame for a team's bad form?
The usual suspects are, of course, the same at whichever club you pick as your test case. There's the coach, the players or the board. Each have a level of responsibility and involvement which can have either a good or bad effect on the club's fortunes.
The coach has the choice of getting everything right or everything wrong. His tactics, his team sheet, his transfers…All these can combine to make the club a force to be reckoned with at the business end of the league or a whipping boy in the basement when they are completely at odds to each other.
The players are the ones who are charged with getting the ball in the net more times than their opponents, which puts quite a heavy burden on them when it comes to the club's position. Confidence in their abilities and the plan they play to can combine with skill to make them an unassailable eleven, while insecurities can quickly eradicate any prowess.
The board have the luxury of being behind the scenes and, in most cases, away from the sharp end of the week in-week out action. But their backing – both in confidence and financial terms – can create a strong squad and a solid basis for success. Once the board starts to meddle, however, by chopping and changing personnel, withholding funds for improvement or getting involved in very public confrontations with prominent staff, then the tremors from these actions can rapidly destabilize the club.
As you can see, each of these three usual suspects are reliant on each other in success and failure – which is why "who's to blame?" is such a difficult question to answer. The fortunes of a club are so entwined with the relationships and symbiosis between these three that it is hard to get to the root of the problem when it occurs.
Not so for Markus Babbel, however.
The VfB Stuttgart coach is in no doubt that it's his players who are to blame for his side's poor start to the Bundesliga season.
Apparently the former German international sees nothing wrong in his game plan, his tactics or his motivation. He looks to the director's box and sees club manager Horst Heldt exhibiting serenity and trust. But when he looks out onto the pitch at the performances which have taken last season's third-placed team to 13th, he sees only fault with his players.
Babbel makes the unusual connection between the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the lack of form his Stuttgart side are experiencing. He seems to think that his charges are more concerned about making it into Joachim Loew's Germany squad than pushing for a better league finish than last season.
"It's not good enough to only dream of the World Cup, the club should be the priority," Babbel told Wednesday's Bild newspaper. "The international players should realize why there were called up in the first place."
If you're a player wanting to go to the World Cup to represent your country at the greatest soccer competition on the globe, would you attempt to get noticed by the national coach by playing like a paraplegic donkey? No – you'd play out of your skin to get the kind of interest which leads to your inclusion in the national team.
And with the Stuttgart board showing in pre-season that they were willing to splash the cash on the likes of Real Madrid's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (who opted to go elsewhere admittedly) and Barcelona's Alexander Hleb, and giving Babbel himself a vote of confidence, that leaves just one of the usual suspects to blame.
Maybe you're right, Markus - it isn't such a hard question to answer after all.
|The Dutch strikers name is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar :-)|
|Maria | Homepage | E-Mail | 17.10.2009, 09:35|