Transfer Shocker! The Viscount Is On The Block

Just when I thought I could skive off a bit early to enjoy what little remained of the holiday weekend, the Chairman took a break from his demanding schedule of day-drinking and internet scrabble in order to demand that I put out a press release.  “Hollen,” says he, “put out a press release- we’ve just listed Davie Edler.”  I started to ask why, but apparently a digital “Q” presented itself, and I was abruptly dismissed.

In any event, the news has cast enough of a pall around the place that we would probably cover  the mirrors and sit shiva, but for the fact that the Board would never shell out for decent whitefish.  Oddly, Edler himself seems to be taking the news in stride, claiming to welcome the new challenge and the chance to escape a New York winter.  Its the rest of the Baby Bagos that are the most heartbroken- Edler was one of a group of seven that have been together since playing rec league ball in the park, and the gang figured that they would spend their careers together here.  Now, the lads are finally internalizing the truth of high-level soccer- no matter how much you kiss the badge, you only get a mouthful of lint and the right to stay as long as management rates you, and not one second longer.  The realization of how ruthless of management can be (they already knew about the lint) is a heavy blow for them.  Ok, maybe not for the joker who convinced Gavin that we were sending Edler to a farm upstate, but for the rest of them.

As it happened, I wound up sharing a cab downtown with our Technical Director, Conrad von Hilst, and took the chance to ask him why we made the move.  He responded with a lot of blather about expected goals, contribution penalties, radar graphs and other statistics that, frankly, I did not begin to understand.  The gist of it, however, was that he and the rest of the analytics staff became convinced that players like Edler, who depend on their technical mastery to overcome a lack of pace or elite strength, were going to become obsolete as the game shifted towards man-marking tactics.   If he’s right (and he likely is), it’s a tragedy- a bit of the magic of the beautiful game being replaced by brute force.  Of course, we must be practical and adjust with the times, but you’ll forgive me if I take this bottle I liberated from the Chairman’s desk and spend the evening remembering a more romantic era.

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