It’s been some time since I’ve been as optimistic and excited about a new season, as I am about this one.
I guess you’ve got to go back to the summer of 2010 when City had just been promoted under the keen eye and astute tactical nous of Paul Lambert to the Championship. The possibility of how the team might go under Lambert and with all the confidence that comes from being promoted as League One Champions was exciting.
As it turned out my optimism was well placed and it was the 4-1 win at Carrow Road against Ipswich that really made me believe that promotion was on.
After the last couple of years of failure under Alex Neil and let’s be clear it was failure, the optimism that comes from having a new Head Coach is again very exciting for me.
The fact he’s from Germany and Borussia Dortmund in particular is the first of the ‘unknown variables’ we have. Stuart Webber showed with Huddersfield that he understands the European coaching and transfer market and in particular the German market.
He told an associate of mine that ‘German coaching is head and shoulders above the British game at the moment,’ in a breakfast meeting before Daniel Farke was appointed.
It was then no surprise when we announced a German Head Coach. The fact that the system of Sporting Director and Head Coach is completely normal to Farke is a huge plus, he said at the fan forum a week ago that he has also held the role of Sporting Director at a previous club, so if he fails it won’t be through lack of knowledge as if we’d say, appointed an Alan Pardew or other British ‘manager.’
The players have been glowing in their praise of Farke and his techniques so far, although can you really expect anything different at this stage?
Although it was already in place before his arrival, the pre-season training camp in Germany looks to have been a great success with two wins over teams who are further ahead in their pre-seasons and indeed start their Bundesliga II campaigns next week.
Last night’s 1-3 win over Arminia Bielefeld was a very good performance by all accounts. I was at a BBQ last night so had to follow the game on Twitter rather than the stream.
Starting off with a 4-1-4-1, Daniel Farke admitted that his side struggled to gain the possession he wanted so then changed the system to 3-5-2 in the second half. Compared to the previous regime this is a revelation, folks!
‘Bielefeld played a lot of long balls so we had to protect our centre’ he said after the game. Dare I say that under Alex Neil and his rigid 4-2-3-1 that we would’ve just stuck at it and toiled away.
The EDP’s Paddy Davitt hailed it as a second half ‘tactical masterclass’ from Farke after the game on Twitter.
The two systems that Farke used against Bielefeld are the two that we are most likely to see throughout the season. He played a lot of 4-1-4-1 with Dortmund II last season, which suggests that it’s his favoured formation but the ability to change is massively encouraging for me.
An actual ‘Plan B’ – Hallelujah. Rather than go 4-4-2 like Neil used to do when chasing a game.
The recruitment looks to have been decent too.
Mario Vrancic sounds as though he is the real deal and even an upgrade on Dorrans and Howson, that goes for Harrison Reed too. The two new German centre backs, Zimmermann and Franke also sound as though they are going to help make a big difference to that leaky old defence.
Of course, it could all go horribly wrong very quickly and we might be nowhere after 10 games. Somehow though, I doubt it.
That might just be pre-season bravado but I can’t help but feel optimistic because of the changes that the club have made. We were stuck in our ways and by that ‘we’, I mean the board, for far too long.
The positive thing for me is that those in charge have become aware of that and they have taken decisive action to change it. The board have taken a lot of flak from many fans on this site over the last few years but all credit to them for making this change.
The time was right for change, they were advised about that and they made it.
Good on them.
Fingers crossed this isn’t just all hyperbole and that we are again on the verge of something wonderful.