Google+ Blueprint for Football: December 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Making the Right Move

One hundred and thirty four.  That is the sum total of minutes that Scott Sinclair has played in the Premier League since moving to Manchester City on deadline day.  One hundred and thirty four minutes played by a player on whom City spent £6.2 million; one hundred and thirty four minutes for a player who up to a few months back was being touted as a potential England international.  Within the space of a few weeks, Sinclair has gone from being a regular starter to not even making it to the match day squad.  As far as transfers go, his hasn’t been a particularly happy one.

What makes Sinclair’s case particularly intriguing is that he has already been in this situation.  His formative years were spent at Chelsea and he was good enough for Jose Mourinho to give him a start against Manchester United on the final day of the season back in 2007.  Yet, even though there were many who believed in him, ultimately he had to move away in order to establish himself.

That is what he had finally managed to do at Swansea where 82 appearances spread over two seasons, including an impressive campaign in their debut season in the Premier League, signalled that his potential was finally being fulfilled.  If there ever was a player who shouldn’t want to move to a club where he would at best be a squad player, you would think that it would be Sinclair.

Yet make the move he did.  It might be tempting to think of Sinclair as another whose main motivation is his bank account but probably that didn’t play that big a role.  It is more likely that what spurred Sinclair on was the desire to be involved in something more than a squad for whom a mid-table finish is success.  He wanted to be involved with a side that is constantly challenging for honours; he wanted to prove that those who had let him go at Chelsea had made a mistake.

Increasingly, however, it is looking that it was he who made the mistake in moving to City.  Asked about the situation, City’s assistant-manager David Platt replied that “When a player comes to this club, they are going to have to accept they are not going to play week in week out. Some will play more than others, but when we spoke to Scott, he knew what he was coming into, that it was a big, big squad.”

Already there are rumours that Sinclair will soon be on the move again and, although there is still time for him to make his mark, most probably it would be best for him not to hang around too long.

For now, his is a warning tale for any young player: join a big club at your own risk.  Do so without looking at their track record of bringing promising players through and you risk stalling your career.  And when you lose momentum when you are in your early twenties, it is very difficult to get it back.

This piece was originally published in Blueprint for Football's bi-weekly newsletter.  For exclusive content, snippets of future articles and links to the best football articles around, subscribe here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fans Gain New Voice With Launch of Fans Parliament

Although it is not the kind of article that would normally be featured on Blueprint for Football, the feeling was that the subject was too important to 

A new initiative to gain a wider view of Scottish football fans’ opinions, which has been endorsed by the Scottish Government, has been launched by Supporters Direct Scotland.

Supporters Direct Scotland has already had talks with the Scottish Football Association, The Scottish Football League and The Scottish Premier League about working with them in the coming months and years.

The ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will allow a two way communication with all fans of all clubs, from senior to amateur and in every community in the country, to help Supporters Direct Scotland gather fans’ views which will, for the first time, be collected and reported directly to the Scottish Government and to the football authorities.

Included in the ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will be the new ‘’ website, a series of roadshows across the country, increased engagement at matches and social media channels and a series of surveys on specific topics concerning the game. Supporters Direct Scotland have already had input into the current

Henry McLeish said, “It has been a unique year for football fans in Scotland, on a local as well as national basis, with ordinary fans’ voices being heard loud and clear in a way they’ve never been heard, or listened to, before. Now there is a drive and determination to ensure that the momentum that was gained isn’t lost.

“The new ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will provide a platform for fans to continue the debate in the knowledge that it will be reported back to the Scottish Government and to the organisations running football in Scotland.”

Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct in Scotland said: “Fans voices are being listened to more than ever before and we know that in recent months there has been an unprecedented debate about the game in Scotland.  Through Supporters Direct Scotland fans have a direct route into government and policy makers and we want the new ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative to be the conduit for the debate and discussion between fans across the country and, in effect, be the voice of Scottish football fans.

“We want to facilitate discussion on key issues affecting our game through online discussions and debate and regularly present those findings to Government and the game’s governing bodies as the very latest in supporters’ opinions and views in the game.  As an organisation funded by the Scottish Government we have the ability to present supporters views directly to them as well as to the SPL, SFL and the SFA.  Talks have already started at Hampden Park looking at how we formalise this relationship with the governing bodies.

To have your say, you can follow Scottish Fans on Twitter (@ScottishFans), like them on Facebook and join the debate on their Pie and Bovril sponsored forum– all of these links are available from their website

Monday, December 24, 2012

Some Words of Thanks

When, at some point during April, I put out a tweet asking if there were any graphic designers who could help in the design of this site's Facebook page, at best I was expecting someone to provide me with some pointers.

What I got instead was a reply from Ritwik Roy who liked the site so much that he offered his professional web design services for free.  His ideas - and his creativity - astounded me as did his generosity as he re-did everything; ultimately reconstructing Blueprint for Football giving it the nice look it has today.

I'm sharing this story not only because I want to publicly thank Roy for his help but also because it is also a fairly typical in so far as this site is concerned: I've found help, support and encouragement at every turn.

When I was toying with the idea of setting Blueprint for Football, it was the brilliant Roy Henderson who gave me that encouragement that I needed. Roy has remained a supporter throughout, providing feedback and opinions as well as retweeting links to the articles. CNN digital producer John Sinnott is another to whom I owe thanks as he not only allowed me to reproduce his excellent article 'Coaching the Brain' but has retained an active interest throughout.

Over the months there have been others who have given similar support. Sachin Nakrani allowed me to reproduce his interview with Frank McParland whilst the guys at In Bed With Maradona liked the interview with Hamilton Accies' Frankie McAvoy so much that they asked to reproduce it thereby providing this site with an added platform.

Then there is Craig Easton* whose interest in the everything related to football is infectious and who kindly allowed me to publish his excellent articles on the future of Scottish football.

And so on.

All of this has helped make Blueprint for Football more of a success than I had ever imagined; not necessarily in the number of hits (although even those have been very positive) but in the human connections that it has allowed me to make.  Which is infinitely more important.

So, thanks to all those that have helped along the way. And thanks also to all those who have visited and read the articles. It is all greatly appreciated.

* Of course, Craig is also a professional footballer currently at Torquay but who has played at Dundee United as well as Scotland Under 21s. What he doesn't know is that I used to manage him when I was in charge of Aberdeen. In Championship Manager.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Ways to Follow Blueprint for Football

If you enjoy Blueprint For Football so much that you want to make sure that you never miss anything that we come out with - and we hope that is the case - then you might be interested in learning that there is now a Twitter channel dedicated entirely to this blog where we'll be promoting all the articles that appear here.

Yet we're aiming to be slightly more ambitious than simply putting out occasional tweets promoting this site's articles.

Instead, we will try to flag up any articles out there that interest us and, in turn, might interest you; through the Blueprint for Football Twitter feed we will be curating the best articles so that you don't have to waste time looking around

So, do give us a follow and we'll do our best to make sure you enjoy it.

On top of that, we have also launched the Blueprint for Football newsletter.  This will be issued on a bi-weekly basis and will feature an editorial piece written exclusively for the newsletter (although a few days after publication this will be replicated on the site).  There will also be links highlighting the favourite articles we've read over the previous weeks and which we want to make sure you don't miss.  Occasionally there might even be some form of a sales pitch but we promise that whatever we do, it won't be overbearing.

The Blueprint for Football Twitter channel can be found here whereas the Blueprint for Football newsletter can be subscribed to here.