Watching the footage really brought it back to me just what an incredible team that was. What really came across, as well as the ability of the players, was how strong certain characters were. In Ratcliffe, Reid, and Gray the team had three born leaders, vocal personalities who demanded excellence from others as well as themselves. They were also physically up for a battle. Add the skills and ability of the likes of Steven, Stevens and Sheedy and its easy to see why the team hardly lost a game over a period of three or four seasons.
In the present day team, who are the characters who are going to go out at Anfield tomorrow and take responsibility and battle with every ounce of their being as Ratcliffe, Gray and Reid undoubtedly did?
When I think about genuine character in our team now, only Phil Neville springs to mind. I?m not saying for a minute he was as good a player as Gray, Reid or Ratcliffe ? but he is comparable in terms of personality and vocal presence. Cahill sweats blood for the cause and leads by example but doesn?t have the same vocal presence. Fellaini is a player who takes responsibility and gives his all ? but he?s still a young man and hasn?t matured yet. Ditto Coleman.
Where are the other senior players to help Neville? ? Arteta, Distin and Saha are our most senior players but when do you see them encouraging and assisting the younger players around them and overcoming adversity by sheer bloody mindedness?
A lack of leadership may well be one reason why a team of genuine talent has so underachieved this year. When things are going wrong on the pitch, there?s not enough players taking responsibility and changing things. An interview in the 25th anniversary DVD with Terry Darracott (a coach in 84-85) was telling ? he said how once the game starts there?s little the coaches can do ? but he always knew that the players in 84-85 would react themselves if things weren?t working and do something about it. I?m hoping this team had it in it to do the same over the rest of the season ? starting tomorrow. It's about time new characters emerged in our team ? and what better place for this to happen than Anfield?
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 15/01/2011 at 15:57:07
Look at United. Their team is not as good as the classic Van Nistelrooy, Keane, Beckham, Gary Neville team. But they have that mentality, and so does Old Trafford that this place is the winning place.
We need leaders, players who are willing to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Players that expect to win and will force a win. Arteta is paid £70k a week, but do you see him busting a gut when the chips are down? You don't see him....
2 Posted 15/01/2011 at 16:36:17
3 Posted 15/01/2011 at 17:13:59
We have been the team trying to play the football and they are playing like we did in the days of the Dogs of War. It's now become their 'cup final'. That to me is 'incredible' given the fact they have a striker who cost £27m and a captain who would have cost what at his peak?
4 Posted 15/01/2011 at 18:35:01
5 Posted 15/01/2011 at 20:41:04
I remember those great days of the mid-80's - that team HATED to lose.
Chicken and Egg question - should that will, commitment, bloody-mindedness etc come from the players or be instilled by the manager ?
6 Posted 15/01/2011 at 21:44:57
7 Posted 15/01/2011 at 23:06:52
Heitinga has the potential to lead and Coleman has been seen to let it rip at his teammates, but it's true that we need more players to urge each other on.
Those players who aren't vocal can lead by example, like Arteta and Baines.
We need to urge our team on as well. The fans are part of the team and we need to look to our part in the game. COYB!
8 Posted 16/01/2011 at 00:51:12
9 Posted 16/01/2011 at 08:29:43
David Moyes needs a succession plan for Phil Neville. There is a leadership group on the pitch (Cahill, Osman, Arteta, Howard, Jagielka). Tim Cahill is the obvious second choice captain but Tim is no spring chicken either and the Captains arm band seems to take something from his game.
Time to blood the young men in my opinion - it might put a few noses out of joint but I would groom Fellaini for the captains job and Rodwell and Coleman as his lieutenants.
10 Posted 16/01/2011 at 10:49:43
Not sure if Fella could do it given he can barley speak English. Tevez may not be able to speak the lingo either but Man City have enough other leaders to call on; Toure, Viera etc.
It is an issue but one that does not need to be sorted just yet - lets beat the RS first.
COYB - lets do a blackpool....
11 Posted 16/01/2011 at 11:05:10
United have had many over the last 20 years, Keane being the most obvious example, the great Arsenal side had Vierra.
Problem is these big personality players are hard to come by. Moyes certainly knew what he was getting with Neville in terms of leadership and winning mentality and it's obviously why 'Arry wanted him at Spurs to push them on a bit. Jonny H has potential in that area, but hasn't stamped himself on the team this year due to being in and out and is perhaps a bit too much of a loose cannon. Distin could perhaps be more of a leader as could Arteta but neither are in the Reid mould that's for sure, but then not many are!
12 Posted 16/01/2011 at 11:19:40
I want our captain to give a toss when we are behind and screaming the boys into action, the one thing could can't deny about Neville is not being able to hear him.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.