The traces of this began with the Carling Cup win under Ramos. There is nothing better for camaraderie and team togetherness, than going through the emotions of winning a cup competition. Look at the palpable effect of City getting their first trophy last season, as another example. Since then, finishing high in the league, going on a European adventure, having a relatively minimal turn around in players the past 2-3 years, and having a manager who doesn’t over burden the players with heavy tactical briefs, has meant that our teams spirit is at an all time high right now.
As I say, it’s been growing over the past couple of seasons, but its great to see that we have a superb blend/balance of different characters in our squad, who all seem to be pulling together. Our main men VDV, Bale, Adebayor, Parker, King, Ekotto, Kaboul et al seem to have an increasing belief in each others abilities, an appreciation if you will. Everyone seems to want to work very hard for their manager, and they always celebrate goals together as a team. You can literally see that the players all get on with each other, and truly enjoy each others company, these strong bonds that have been forged over the past while, have a way of visually expressing themselves on the pitch, when you see 100% natural joy on their faces, and the sharing of all good moments between the lot of them.
Genuine. Unlike, as an example, Man City, who are all enjoying the benefits of playing in an awesome team and winning every week. Yes, they have bonded together better, but their team spirit carries an air of being enforced – like they all realize that they need to remove the mercenary status that they, as individual players, have had placed upon their backs. They’re just a little too keen to mention team spirit whenever they can, to tell those watching that the ‘spirit’ is there amongst them. It’s not something that needs to be heard to be felt, everything should be apparent on the pitch.
Redknapp isn’t the most complicated manager around. He is very much of the ilk, that you set your team up a certain way ( he likes pace, wide men, creativity, then seeks to balance with some power and steel), you put the correct pegs in the corresponding holes, increase the individual players confidence by telling them why you bought them, then giving them the freedom to simply go out there and play the game to the best of their abilities ( that you ie Harry, has 100% faith in).
There are many different classifications of managers out there – authoritarians ( Capello), strict and scientific tactical orientated managers ( eg Ramos, Mourinho ), relaxed managers who like to encourage a strong management/player relations, they come in all different types with each having a chance at success in the right climate.
As it stands, Harry’ style has created a superb simplistic positivity at our club, showing the faith in all our guys to go out and play to their style without over complicating them with dour analytical data. This shows 100% on the pitch.
Lastly, the Parker effect. Like I had hoped, his graft and heart is making positive waves all over the place. His work rate sets an example to other players and encourages them to follow suit and put the same amount of work in. His vocality drives them on further than before – after the huddle separated before the game on Monday, the likes of King and the othr older players were simply waiting for kick off – there was Scotty in players ears muttering to them, giving them some final words to pump them up. In the 2nd half, Kaboul headed out of the box imperiously, and there was Scotty, right next to him with his fist pumped and primed, shouting words to effect of ”f***ing cmon, keep going mate”. Just two examples that come to mind, but I could never express what difference it makes in sport, when you have that type of character egging you on all through the game, keeping you pumped, eeking that last drop of energy out of you.
So yeah, were a proper team and a proper club with a great spirit that has fostered itself with 3-4 years of slow natural growth and a set of guys that really do get on great with each other.
Cue more images of Bale, VDV and Ade skipping around laughing like school children and sliding about the place, after scoring.
Of course, team spirit is easier when you are winning, but it has been evident for a few years now, and the new additions are helping it ten fold.