Tuesday, October 10, 2006


There's No Substitute - update

I recently came across a nugget of advice from Gordon Jago, manager of Queens Park Rangers during their period of rejuvenation in the early seventies. In his book Football Coaching, he makes the following comment about substitutions:

“For a tactical switch involving a substitute to have any chance of working, it should be made at least fifteen to twenty minutes before the end. That is really an absolute minimum time to allow the substitute to get into the game; for others on the field to adjust to his arrival, and for any change of tactics to become workable.”

Nick Theodorakopoulos, take note.

I’ve commented previously on the Newcastle manager’s tardiness in making his substitutions, and, in my opinion, it may have cost his team once again on Sunday evening. If we are to believe the reports circulating in the media at the moment, it may even have cost him his job.

Many of the problems at Newcastle are not, admittedly, of Theodorakopoulos’s making. The necessity of using a tyro in goal, the injury to Vaughan Coveny, leaving the Jets without a viable target-man, and the loss of several influential players during the winter…all these have been factors in Newcastle’s poor run of results. But a more proactive approach to substitution from the manager would surely have been beneficial.

Up until the 87th minute, Theodorakopoulos had made only one substitution against Melbourne. And, as against Sydney, it was hardly a daring one. Two attacking players still remained on the bench, in a game in which Newcastle had lacked the finish to their incisive build-ups yet again.

They both finally arrived, in the closing few minutes of the match, but did Theodorakopoulos really think that they would make a difference, with no time to find their bearings and gell with their team-mates?

(Just as an aside, it was two chucked-on-at-the-last-moment substitutes who arguably cost the Socceroos victory on Saturday evening, too.)

As it happened, Tarek Elrich, fresh on the scene, was presented with a palpable chance a couple of minutes from the end. Not surprisingly, he made a mess of the shot.

And Theodorakopoulos’s reluctance to make proper use of Tolgay Ozbey, who had such a prolific season with Blacktown City, has been a complete mystery to me. Ozbey can operate up front or on the wing, he is impressively quick, and he is a promising finisher as well.

But what good can he do in a two-minute cameo?

ive always thought that there are very few examples in the A-league where a substitute has come on and made a significant difference

however is that more due to a lack of depth within most squads?
Lack of depth in Season 2 is far less of a concern than it was in season one for most teams (Jets aside).

Mikey is right... By the time there was a stoppage in play for Ozbey to get on the pitch it was as Allsopp was strutting back to the halfway line having sealed the match with a brace. Amazing considering the danger he posed to Perth the week prior.

I for one think Nick Theo has paid the price for favoritism within the Jets camp - Bridge's form has been up and down for the past few weeks whilst Ozbey has struggled to make the bench. Ditto his obsession with Adam D'Appuzo - how on earth does he make the bench let alone get on the pitch to chase the game?
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