Pre-season is always difficult for York City fans. You go looking for the fixtures and are constantly confronted by league tables that have us rooted to the bottom and ages to go until anyone can do anything about it.
The man charged with doing something about that at the earliest opportunity is Nigel Worthington, appointed last season with ten games remaining. Instntly, he began the process of disassembling what went before, undoing the things that made us so easy on the eye and which drew plaudits from people who know what they’re talking about. That process has continued into the close season. Out have gone the ball-players, the multi-faceted passers of the ball. Instead, we need more tall players. That, friends, is tactical genius of the first water. After all, the best player in the world right now is a giant of a man, and the greatest of all time a 6’8″ colossus.
As well as the short-arses, out go the versatile. Worthington has said that he wants players to play one position and that’s it, which I think is short-sighted. Finances dictate a smaller squad than might be ideal and players capable of playing several roles are invaluable in that scenario. Moreover, it betrays a lack of trust in his players to be capable of filling other roles, of adapting to something different. It all ties in to a style of football from a bygone era despite Worthington’s protestations that he’s not a long-ball manager in the face of what we’ve all seen so far. I imagine him happening across footage of the 1974 Dutch team on a classic sports channel and being utterly horrified, turning off in disgust. ‘How dare they, the careless, casual mavericks. None of that for Nigel, thank you very much.’
That said, we did manage to sign an Estonian international winger, Sander Puri who was with St Mirren last season. It’s a pleasing novelty to see our wee club mentioned on equal terms alongside the like of Legia Warsaw, Lierse, Augsburg and Chicago Fire and is actually quite exciting. Back comes Richard Cresswell which will please the home support. Before the season is two months old, however, he turns 36 so what he can actually offer is open to question. Certainly not 90 minutes per game. The other signings are relatively unremarkable and in keeping with what Worthington has been saying – height, specialism, physicality. A couple of them – Ryan Bowman and Lewis Montrose – come with decent enough reputations at the sort of level at which we find ourselves, but I’d be lying if I professed any great knowledge of their careers to date.
All of which may lead to the conclusion that I approach this season not with the expected sense of excitement and anticipation, but with a degree of ennui surrounding everything. This is true. The brief us bloggers get from WAGU! asks us to describe our hopes and fears for the upcoming season. Mine are quite simple. My hope is that I’m wrong – wrong about Worthington’s methods, practices, theories and style of play. My fear is that I’m not.
Written by John Dobson, We Are Going Up’s York City Blogger
John tweets at @johnnydobbo