Club Criticism Archive

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Lamentable

“There’s no  other word for it – lamentable!”  – Wodkas chairman Lord Bebbington, speaking after his team’s 1-1 away draw to KsG_GóRniK_ZaBrZe in the league, this Sunday 20th March.

Welcome back to the Wodkas blog, Noblemen and neutrals alike! It has been a VERY LONG time since Hattrick United allowed us to update our beloved blog. Sadly though, now that we can, we bring you news of another disappointing result.

For long periods of this game, ZaBrZe played a pressing tactic, which was more like a ‘de’pressing tactic, and it was even more dismal for the travelling fans when the home side went 1-0 up in the first half. Thank heavens for Hubert ‘Polski-Speed’ Krosnowski, who scored on 69 minutes after replacing ‘Snipinho’, who still isn’t at full fitness after some weeks of heavy bruising.

Nevertheless, another draw for Wodkas. It leaves them 4 points off the top spot and a game against the league leaders next week at home. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current Wodkas side, and where they might finish by the end of week 14. To do so, we spoke to youth team manager and Wodkas Hall-of-Famer, Elco ‘The Showboat’ Temmink.

“We all know what talent there is in defence, and it was again on display today, despite letting the opposition score. To be fair, Marcin Listosz is a head specialist, he’s not a great technical player. He just didn’t anticipate quickly enough the tricks and skills of the opposition striker, and so he got left behind and we conceded a goal we couldn’t really afford.

When you look at the opposition’s previous league results, today’s side was a big surprise. Look at last weekend’s game for them, for instance, they only brought a poor midfield and lost 5-1. Today, it looked like they had purchased a brand new squad and brought midfield that overpowered us. In truth, they hadn’t brought in any new personnel, and played a strong tactic. Their stamina conditioning was their undoing, and I worry that against a fitter team, Wodkas wouldn’t get the gaps and chances that Zabrze provided in the 2nd half. It was also a massive boost for Mszyca that the home team lost a player to a red card, and of course, we all know what a fresh Hubert Krosnowski can do to backlines.”

What then, of Wodkas possible final league standing?

“Some bad results over the past three weeks means I don’t see Wodkas finishing in the top 2, but it is feasible. Realistically, I think Wodkas will churn out a midtable qualifier position, and I hope it’s 3rd rather than 4th. But with no real financial punch right now, with all the club’s money invested in their goalkeeper and defensive trainees, you can’t see the club putting out a stronger midfield or attack than it did today. The only improvement I see happening over the next 9 weeks is in the physical conditioning of the players, meaning that they will remain stronger for longer during their games. I hope this benefits the forwards and midfielders too, meaning we might sneak a few goals towards the ends of games, which in all truth, I don’t think we’re capable of right now.”

Next up are Clan Phoenix in the opening game of Golden League Season 8 in midweek. With the reserve team playing, don’t expect much in the form of improvement come Thursday morning. Give it another season though, and things might be a little different…

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Anti-Climax

Over-confident new signing Sami Arsal was brought back down to Earth away from home against Jastrzab this Sunday morning, as Wodkas went down 3-1 to a much stronger Division 7 team. In all fairness though, it could have been a different story until the incident on 42 minutes which changed the face of the game.

“We were matching Jastrzab all over the park, with a much stronger midfield performance now that Sami, Fivos and Aybars were playing alongside each other. The reckless foul on Aybars was a disgrace though, and should have seen a different colour card, that’s for sure.” – Coach Mszyca.

It was on 42 minutes that Jastrzab’s left winger, Donald Chlanda, made an atrocious tackle from behind on the veteran Uysal. The former AS Uijeongbu 07 player crashed to the turf in agony and had to be stretchered off. This caused mayhem in the Wodkas plans, and coach Mszyca was forced to come on and play. It put the formation of Wodkas right out, and from then on they were fighting a losing battle against a more organised, and more fit opponent.

Wodkas never really looked like getting back into the game, even when Makagonov scored a first-half equaliser, and the home team ran away rampant 3-1 winners. It could have been even more.

One league game left, Wincalowicz suspended, Aybars injured. Wodkas maybe have spent too much and have too small of a squad. Then again, does the end of this campaign actually matter that much? The final game is a guaranteed three points for the Raszkowians, but the future looks less certain.

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Financial Meltdown

At just after midnight GMT on Sunday morning, the club announced it had been given 2 weeks to avoid closure due to bankruptcy. 10 players have been immediately listed for sale, and four key staff have been fired and replaced. Today, after The Flaming Wodkas FC absolutely destroyed the stand-out team in their division, league leaders Barca & United, by seven goals to one, we look at the impact that this chase for cash will have on the club and fans as a whole.

THE IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Key players are up for sale. The Wodkas squad looks like it is unbeatable now in its division, but a poor start means it has no chance of catching the team that it today humiliated in front of The Noblemen. These players are being listed in a desperate attempt to generate revenue in order to prevent the closure of the club. In the short term, the forwards being trained as a future Wodkas strikeforce will remain, but the rest of the team will be made up of less-than-adequate youth-team promotees.

THE LONG TERM EFFECT

As mentioned, the forwards are still being focused on (should the team avoid closure) and should continue to become a lethal strikeforce. The downside is that the quality of the coaching has been reduced. Three 5-star coaches have been replaced by three 4-star coaches. This will have a long-term impact on training efficiency. Add to this the impact that a now guaranteed long run of defeats will have to team morale and confidence.

FINANCIAL IMPACT

The top players in the club will hopefully be sold and bring in the revenue to pay off the club’s debts. However, this means there will no longer be any top players in the club available should the debt situation return – aside from the trainees being coached in the art of goal-scoring. It is highly unlikely that the club would want to sell off their investment in the future Wodkas strikeforce, and so it is imperative that the finances of the club are steadied as quickly as possible. Other options include a further reduction in the quality of the coaching staff and a reduction in the number of youth scouts.

THE FANS

Without the fans, football is hollow. A famous statement by former Wodkas legend Can Le, however we would add that without fans football is penny-less. A spokesperson at the club is crucial should the fan-base continue to grow, thus filling the 50,000 seater arena and bringing in much needed revenue. Should results have an adverse effect on the fanbase, then we would begin to worry for the future of the club once more.

THE REPUTATION OF THE CLUB

This isn’t the first time that The Wodkas have put a mass group of players up for sale; some would say this situation has become the ‘norm’. On the other hand, this situation is unique because it has been ‘forced’ upon the club. Many insiders have revealed that there is a real sadness to these events because every single player that has now been transfer-listed had been earmarked for a long-term future at the club, and eventual retirement into the Hall of Fame. So is the reputation of the club damaged as it has been in the past?

Despite being perennial under-achievers, The Wodkas somehow maintain their iconic status as one of the key players of the HTUM Federation and its various tournaments. Sometimes getting smashed by the big boys, but always presenting an enticing tie in whatever event is taking place. Part of this are the personalities involved with the club, the cockiness of the ‘little club’ mentality, and some of it is the respect and historical significance that the club holds from its counterparts.

Nobody in the Federation wants to see The Flaming Wodkas fold as a club. It happened once, a situation forced on the management, but it surely won’t be allowed to happen again?

WHAT NEXT?

In less than three days we will know which players have managed to move on to new clubs and bring in much needed revenue. If none, then the club is in a dire situation indeed. We will be monitoring the whole situation as it unfolds, right here on a very subdued Wodka-fuelled blog. We welcome comments from visitors to our site. How do you feel about the threat being faced by FWFC? Let us know.

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Season Stumbles at First Hurdle

“NOOOOOOOoooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooOOOOOOO!” was the expression on the face of every fan present at the 3-2 defeat of Flaming Wodkas in their opening league game against Zawisza Bydgoszcz this Sunday morning. Here are a few of the reactions from the football community so far:

“What a shambles!” – Alin Badiu, HUP

“The players have really let the fans down.” – Martin Bros Nielsen, Blog Editor

“Now they have to win the next 13 matches or this season is another joke.” – Sami Arsal

“Not the best start.” – Hojris, owner of MS Odense, Denmark

“…” – Chairman Lord Bebbington

The match went from bad to worse in the first half as Wodkas found themselves 3-0 down to a team they were expecting to walk all over, and to be honest the stats showed that this game should have been an almost guaranteed three points for the Raszkowians. Game Engine had another idea.

Even with a 76% chance of winning, 15% chance of possibly drawing, it ended being the 8% chance of losing that brought today’s headlines. Bydgoszcz were simply able to exploit Wodkas choice of starting with 2 at the back, but with strikers being trained Wodkas felt a five man midfield would have proven decisive even with the limited defence.

The injury to Alex ‘X’ Hornet just at the half-way mark has also proven  a massive dent in the start of season hopes for Noblemen, with the quick Romanian out injured for three weeks at least. This does at least give a chance to Richardt ‘Zombie’ Breitenlohner to get a chance at training up front which he is currently missing out on. Due to the purchases in midfield, Zombie has had to resign himself to a role on the bench of late which isn’t the best for his development. He may now get a chance to increase his skills at Hornet’s expense.

Attention now turns to the 2nd round of the cup in midweek, but positive thoughts are now clouded by doubt and results seem less certain than ever. It’s time to ‘believe’.