With the recent success of Leicester City winning the Premier League, it has set my mind back, thinking of the teams that I have been involved with, that have had similar success.
They have all had similar reasons for the way we played & the attitude of the players.
With the Vancouver 86ers we won 4 CSL Championships in a row, as well as a North American Championship, not to forget 46 games undefeated, which I still think might stand as a record today.
The Abbotsford Mariners U17/18 Boys Team, won back to back Provincial Cups, as well as winning the Canadian National Championships as well, back to back, I think that has never been done before either.
With both teams, we had the same philosophy & approach to the game.
Pundits have been discussing why Leicester have done so well & it seems to have a pattern.
1. Played a 4-4-2 system.
Every player knew their roles & what was expected of them in their positions.
Shadow play was used to emphasize "Patterns of Play".
2. Training was never more than a 1 hour session, so player's were not over-trained.
They used to moan at the end of the sessions for 10 more minutes.
That is a sign of them enjoying the sessions and not over-worked.
3. We played in tight areas, but still emphasized playing the "Patterns of Play".
4. Training was very competitive.
Fights & tempers lost, due to high intensity games, that in many cases were more competitive, than the league games.
We never did fitness training, it was part of the session, if you worked hard.
5. Great team spirit.
That comes through working hard together & out-working the opposition.
Player's held each other accountable & would not settle for lack of effort, in training or games.
6. Everyone "bought into the high pressure game".
no-one was allowed to "Slack Off".
7. We worked a lot on Defending, both technically & as a team.
First you have to know how to defend as an individual, and then it comes down to knowing where the right position is, when you don't have the ball, then you can be compact, as a good team should be.
Our player's became better at attacking, because we all defended so well in training, when we played teams who were not as good at defending, it was easier to beat them.
8. We had good people in charge, who knew the game & believed in what they were doing, not trying to copy any other team, that seems to be "The style of the day".
The Abbotsford team gave me particular gratification, as Like Leicester, they won against all of the odds and similarly, there could have been a movie made about their rise to the top.
Whilst U17's, they finished 5th. in the U18 League.
Losing to Vancouver, the favorites 8-1 & 6-1 in league games.
We got invited to play in the Provincial Cup Play-Offs in Victoria, because North Shore could not field a team, due to players leaving for University.
We went on to beat Vancouver in the Provincial Cup Final & now would represent BC at Nationals in Calgary.
We won the Nationals, beating Ontario U18's in the semi-final & Quebec U18's in the final.
"We shouldn't have been there" was the cry from our players at the final.
Next season, we went undefeated in league play & won the Provincial Cup again.
We won the Nationals in Winnipeg, beating a very good Ontario Team in the final.
Not one player from this team was selected to represent BC in their program, which meant that they could not go on to be looked at for the Canadian Team Program.
To summarize, I think that what Leicester have shown the world, is that with hard work, a plan & belief, you can achieve success.
What a story.
Disappointing stuff to say the least. The defeat to Norwich sealed our fate in all honesty.
Complete gutting of the club from top to bottom is in order. Mike Cashley spent the money on players far too late, and more then half of those were bloody woeful, which is the board/scouting fault. I'm torn as to whether we should try and hold on to RAFA, or go after someone with actual coach experience at next years level. RAFA is quality, but The Championship is a completely different beast to The Premiership.
Perhaps Soccer Coach would be interested in the position...