So here we go people, the summer of change continued at pace. Yes people, the reign of Tony Colbert has come to an end. The biggest, most important signing of the summer has taken his up his new role in Austria.
Shad Forsythe, take a bow son. The crowd haven’t gone wild, but fear not, they will when they see what having a proper fitness philosophy can bring.
Now, let’s lay the foundations, you can bring Jonny Ive in to help you design your new mobile phone device, but if the CEO still wants to be involved in the size of the logo, you’re going to have problems (unless the CEO is Steve Jobs. Kind of killed that analogy didn’t i?). So Shad can affect many things, but he’ll need collaboration to make things work to best effect. So in short, if Arsene doesn’t adopt his advice, we’ll still be in trouble.
However, let’s look at best case scenario, because I’m noted for being a positive blogger. Shad is a strength and conditioning expert. So the widely held view Arsene had around bulky players losing pace is one that’s going to be cast to the kerb. Shad will build players up, make them stronger and make them more robust. It’s true, within a year, we’ll have a team of Ronaldo like gladiators.
Where he’s not the ideal candidate is the area that’s the most important. Managing the players work load. Arsene Wenger and Tony Colbert had the philosophy that you train players to match fitness 2-3 times a week, that way, you have the fittest players which is advantageous in the last 10 of a game. That’s not insider info, that’s something he’s said on Arsenal.com. This was ok in the early days, but as the game increased in pace; players sprint 80% more now than they did 8 years ago, it caused massive fatigue problems which led to major soft tissue injury melt down.
Remember, all soft tissue injuries are preventable to some degree. Our injuries, despite protestations and general ignorance in the media, were not an accident. They were down to incompetence. But incompetence that was derived from a lack of education and a lack of expertise.
So first thing on the agenda will be working out how often and how hard players train. A major breakthrough if he can bring those numbers down. Big clubs hardly train over Christmas, Arsenal are out across the whole period.
He’ll also work on tailored programmes for players. Every individual has differing circumstances. Young players, settled in a St Albans flat will require a different programme to a 31 year old player returning from a hamstring injury who also has a newborn to contend with. Players will all be given different regimes to work to. Just like at other top clubs. United were excellent at this, preserving their old guard for years beyond their sell by dates. This article from Ryland Morgans gives great insight into how you work with a modern manager when you’re one of the most important people at a club.
The major one for me is game time. Playing your best 11 in every game isn’t a sharp way to get the best out of a squad. Psychologically, is self defeating. You’ve seen how Vermaelen (injured, so may have to stay) has been totally destroyed by a lack of rotation. Physically, it’s crazy. Hopefully, we won’t see Ozil lining up against Coventry for 90mins this season. Rotate for freshness. Rotate with the consideration of having the freshest most competitive team for the last 10 games of the year. That was a Ferguson trick he consistently pulled. United were, under him, the best in the world at recovery and rotation.
Other areas he’ll have to look at is prematch preparation. So, how is the warm up being run. I mean, I’ve seen how they do it at the training ground. How can you run warm up sessions with guys too old to execute the moves! He’ll also have to pay close attention to post game recovery. Shad Forsythe will be in charge of so many marginal gains opportunities. He’s as important as Steve Bould in the set up. As he should be. The fittest teams prevail these days. Dortmund of 3 years ago, Barcelona under pep, the most average United of all time in Fergies last year… Liverpool last season.
What I like about him is he’s not the best candidate, that’s going to play it one of two ways, it’ll take him two seasons to get it right… Or, he’ll speak to his mates in the game for support and nail it first time round. Because that’s how dynamic people operate. Arsenal are king maker here. With some people, that works a treat, with some, they crash and burn. It’s basically like taking Joachim Lowe on as manager. Could be incredible, could be disappointment central.
No, actually, it can’t be disappointing because Tony Colbert is that bad. This is a success regardless.
For me, it’s been an emotional day. So much bitching, so much moaning… it’s all culminated into a moment where I’m genuinely more excited about this than I am about Sanchez. I think this is a step in the right direction. It’s chipping away at Wenger’s harem of under-achievers and it’s installing a world class infrastructure that the club control.
Where will the club look next? My guess? The scouting network. Again, another area of our set up that is dated, expensive and not producing the goods. We need a fresh approach to bringing in the worlds best talent. Clubs like Dortmund are leading the way, heading into new territories, digging out super players that have all the modern day attributes needed to succeed in Europe.
Still, let’s take it one step at a time… today is success. Today is progress. Today could be the most important summer celebration in the whole 7 years we’ve been writing this blog.
HAVE A GREAT DAY
P.S. Shad likes blogging too, read some of his stuff here. He’s not as good as me though, right? Right guys, tell me he’s not that good?