It seems my classification of reserves has left a few people perturbed, with me accused of disrespect and inaccuracy from some quarters.
I thought I’d defend my corner, because I didn’t mean anything negative towards the likes of Juan Luque, Matt Rhead or Adam Crookes. Perhaps I’m from a slightly older generation, but for me if you’re not in the first XI nine weeks out of ten, you’re a reserve.
Back in the day you could only name two subs, so outside of the thirteen or so regulars, everyone was classed as a reserve. There was no youth team involvement back then I don’t think either, the Imps have a reserve team playing in a competition designed for players who didn’t get much action. these days, I suppose that could be called the Carabao Cup or Checkatrade Trophy, but back then it was something like the Pontins reserve league.
If you don’t follow, ask Tony Battersby the next time he’s in the fan zone.
Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, that makes a portion of our current squad reserves, not in a bad way, but in an honest shout about their first team prospects. Let me put it another way; who would be in your starting XI? Sam Slocombe? Adam Crookes? Juan Luque? Maybe not even Matt Rhead or James Wilson, right?
Why is it therefore, that describing them as reserve players was deemed so offensive? I could understand it from a liberal leftie like Marcus Needham with his fishing rod and cheeky grin, but it seemed to spread wider than the usual agitators. It seems as though seven changes from a first team squad doesn’t constitute a weakened side. Madness.
I don’t think there’s any slander in labelling them as such. I think some of the players who came in last night did really well, Juan Luque grabbed his chance with both hands but tired later on and perhaps showed his non-league background a little, but that will come with games and training. Adam Crookes struggled for the first fifteen minutes, but didn’t do badly after that.
One player I would not class as a reserve, one player who looked every inch a first team player and one who has started league games, was Ellis Chapman. I think we all expected him to emerge this season, but perhaps not to the extent he has. What I’ve noticed about Ellis is the maturity with which he collects, controls and distributes the ball. He’s not trying anything spectacular or out of the ordinary, he’s playing simple football with absolute class. I can see why he is around the first XI, make no mistake about that.
I’m concerned that speaking your mind and being a troll are getting mixed up somewhere here. Calling a player a fringe player or a reserve isn’t meant to be derogatory and I wouldn’t want players or management to think it was. When I said our reserves were outclassed, I merely made reference to the fact Danny himself said, had the fixtures been kinder, he might have played a stronger side. If Danny says it, its fine, but if I say it I’m being offensive?
I’m sure we’ll discuss this in finer detail on the Stacey West podcast, out tomorrow, but in the meantime please try to be offended at the right things, people with bigoted views, trolls making mischief online and black and white shirts. Thank you.