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hairy canary

Is Bassong the right man

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Before I start, I do not want this to be a rant or moan. Just observations I see at the games.

Bassong last season for us was immense, and rightly player of the season.

Since Holt has left, he has become the captain of the team. Don''t know (but guessing Hughton) who makes the decision on who will become captain.

This season he just has not been the same player. I know he has had a couple of knocks and perhaps lacked a little fitness, but he has seemed slower, and perhaps a little switched off at times.

At Stoke with Turner and R Bennett in centre we seemed more solid, and I said then if Bassong had of been playing instead of Bennett, not sure the result would have been the same. Of course it could have...we will never know, but that was my feeling.

I have not seen him trying to motivate or control the team on the pitch during any games this season (only missed Hull and Cardiff game so far) but not easy for a defender to get his motivation up to the forward players, as he is not one of our most attacking defenders.

Many people on here call for Hughton to be sacked as he has no clue (in their opinions, which are allowed), but maybe having Bassong as captain has been the wrong choice.

Trying to think why it could be the wrong choice....With a forward player as captain, Win a game and all are happy, not too worried if we concede as long as win. Lose a game, and they can lift team easier because they not (normally) defending unless from set pieces, so not normally to blame.

With a defender as captain, Win a game and all are happy, but could be disappointed (more than forward) of conceding. Lose a game, and they are definitely part of the reason, and perhaps harder to lift a team when it is down to them for the loss (I know it is a team and not 1 person is to blame).

 

All of this is guesswork on my part and trying to think of explanations why the team is just not quite working.

No way do I blame Bassong for being selected as captain, but maybe this has given him one too many things to think about and is affecting him (and therefore the team) this season.

And before anyone asks....I do not mind who is captain, as long as they can carry out the role placed upon them. Do I know who could...no, but feel Bassong isn''t at the moment. I do not think changing the captaincy during a season would have anything but a negative affect on the squad, so somehow Bassong needs to command the team on the pitch.

 

Hope I am proved wrong from now until the end of the season...More than happy to eat my words and be proven wrong...As that mean we start winning and climbing the table to finish 8th (my feeling before the season started, and I am sticking to it)

 

OTBC

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Since he arrived at the club I have always considered Jonny Howson as a potential captain.

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Certainly with Morty on this one, Howson has improved immensely since his arrival, and in his more attacking role looks very comfortable, and is weighing in with valuable goals - he looks a leader in the mould of Gerrard, and plays now in a similar manner - I think he would make a very good team captain.

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Bassong never really struck me as a captain but I accept that Hughton is in a better position to judge that than I am.

 

But football wise I think he''s worth his place. I know he''s not had a really great start to the season but that was always likely coming off the back of very little pre season action.

 

And I think the balance he gives to the defence is very important. Nobody else is really comfortable playing the left centreback position. It might have worked well enough in the Stoke game with Turner and Bennett but I think it''d get shown up pretty quickly.

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We have one player who is head and shoulders above all in terms of on field leadership & organisational skills.  The same player is also very comfortable talking with the media, is articulate and considered when speaking, in fact stood in for Snoddy in the Gunn Club last year after the defeat to Luton, and considering did a brilliant job.  He is a player who most other members of the first team hold in the highest esteem, as do the younger lads, because he is the consummate professional, getting on with his job, on and of the field without a fuss.

 

He is an international player, held in high regard by his international manager, he has the best stats of all our defenders when it comes to successful passes per game, accurate long balls and accurate crosses, yet because he gets on with it in a dignified manner is often not recognised as the player he is by many supporters. although most if not all like the guy.  Very often he is the last player to leave the pitch having done a full circuit.

 

It is of course The Norfolk Cafu, Mr Russell Martin. 

 

All of what goes before is recognised by management as he was named Club Captain, but IMO should have been named Team Captain. 

 

And just for the record, both our wins his year have come when Cafu was Captain, his record is Played 3 Won 2 Lost 1, a 66.66% win ratio, hell that would give us 76 points per season!!.  

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I know this is not a 100% nailed on fact, before we get any howls of protest, but in general, it''s pretty much accepted that the captain should be a player who, under normal circumstances is guaranteed to be a starting XI member of the first team. At the start of the season, neither Howson nor Martin fell into that category. Despite a few lapses, I''d suggest Bassong does.

To my mind, the whole role of captain in a football team is one that''s often overhyped. It certainly does not command the responsibilities that a cricket or rugby captain does.

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Good point by Reggie and of course the Captain needs to be a regular and almost first on the team sheet. Also, I find it difficult to have a strong view on this, because unless you are at the club and part of the set-up we really do not know if any player has all of the attributes to be captain, and for all I/we know Bassong could well tick all of the boxes. I tend to feel that his performances not being upto his usual excellent standards is to do with his fitness situation and nothing to do with being made Captain....and, yes, from what little we can really see regarding potential to be a captain, Howson is really impressing all round at present.

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Reggie,

 

No player is nailed on, in fact Bassong missed the first two games of the season and all of pre-season (RM was Captain in every game), he has also missed another game since through injury and with his injury record I would hardly call him nailed on, and that''s without getting into the discussion on recent form, etc.

 

I agree it may be over hyped and does not have the decision making responsibilities a cricket or rugby captain has but the captain of a football team still has a part to play.  Bobby Moore, Tony Adams & JT come to mind as some of our countries best footballing captains and leaders, all centre backs interestingly.

 

Hairy Canary was suggesting a possible change during the season, although he/she wasn''t sure how positive this would be and I agree it could have a negative effect, however if it was to be done, then RM would be warmly welcomed by the other players.

 

Given the stats I mentioned in my original post and the fact he is obviously highly rated, including by Strachan who selects him as CB for Scotland, where he is playing very well, I would guess he is as nailed on as anyone in the squad.

 

Probably the best way forward at the start of the season was to make RM Captain with Seb Vice Captain and that would have been my choice but I don''t get the big bucks to make these decisions, yet!! 

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No player is nailed on but Bassong is, by a big distance, the best player in his particular position (left CB).

 

It''s a much closer thing with Martin and Whittaker at RB. If Martin was clearly the best player in that position and the manager''s first choice then you have to feel he''d be team captain.

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It may be significant - Russell Martin is also captain - of the club. Was this an appointment as a sop to someone for his past service and in recognition that he might not get regular games? His influence in the dressing room will continue.

 

What was in the mind of management when Bassong was appointed captain we may never know, but in the summer he seemed likely, with Ruddy, to be the first names on the team sheet, if fit. Perhaps,  it was the messy business of temporary captains if the captain is not playing which figured highly, or his undoubted leadership by example.

 

I was surprised at his appointment, not least because he seems a rather quiet person and not regularly vocal, but perhaps this is to underestimate his quiet influence, and the respect from other players towards him.

 

I have to say that I have been slightly disappointed in him this season. There seems little evident verbal encouragement of his fellows, and I suspect that he has not been the dominant figure at CB that he was 12 months ago. I think that Turner may have slowed a little also. They both had surgery in the close season, and it may be that they have been slow to get back to what they were. In any event, they seem slow to mark, to  tackle, and especially to block. Bassong in particular was outstanding at these last season, but not quite as good now.

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GJP,

 

On last seasons form I totally agree he was the best player at left CB, not so sure this season though, but as I said I don''t get the big bucks, yet!!

 

I''m not 100% certain he has fully recovered from his knee injury picked up at the back end of last season and his groin injury that required surgery, picked up in pre-season.  He may be going down the Ledley King route, however I hope not and he returns to the form he showed last year. 

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Well, something is up with Bassong''s form. Dominant last season, often dormant this.

Gossip in the city says he''s a loner. I can''t know if it''s true. Gossip says a lot of stuff. But it''s not obvious that he''s leading on the pitch. Martin, Fer, Howson all seem to do that.

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You don''t have to hold the position of captain though, to show leadership qualities on a pitch. And running around shouting and pointing isn''t the only way to show leadership.Perhaps the face that a lot of these players are still getting used to each other means that the bond isn''t quite there yet.I think it can often be difficult for a player who is relatively new in a team to fully impose himself, much as it is in any social / work situation.

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[quote user="Ray"]

GJP,

 

On last seasons form I totally agree he was the best player at left CB, not so sure this season though,

[/quote]

I''m sure he still is.

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Ray wrote:

GJP,

On last seasons form I totally agree he was the best player at left CB, not so sure this season though,

I''m sure he still is.

He''s playing with an injury, whatever happened over the summer doesn''t seem to have done the trick.

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