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Rúnar Lúðvíksson says goodbye to the lightweights
Jonas Solskín said he wouldn’t change much when he first arrived at Tundra. The new owners had stated they were not prepared to spend, spend, spend and that they were in it for the long haul. Solskín was hired, said Chairman Steinþór Ólason, as a manager who would build the team slowly, develop a sense of belonging at a club which has changed it’s name eight times in twenty seasons. But after watching a 0-7 league defeat and a 1-7 friendly reverse in his first few days at the club, Solskín obviously decided that for all the rhetoric, some drastic action would still be needed:
We have lads here who don’t know their studs from their elbow. No disrespect, but we’re trying to compete at a minor level with players who couldn’t compete at Monopoly. When I call them lightweights, I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but they are insulting the fans by even pulling on a pair of shorts for this team. I have to make some changes.
Jasper Kenny, Arthur Tan, Bill Tomlinson, Kevin Gardner, Owen Cunningham, Richard Carroll, Will Lloyd, Jermain Frith, John Walker, Shaun Horan and Sudendra Naik – an entire team of eleven including a keeper – all found themselves packing up their things and leaving the shorts to a group of youngsters from foreign fields. Most of them went before the surprise win over Ottery last weekend, and none featured in the friendly defeat to FC Kaizerstad in which the young guns held their own for 80 minutes against better opposition. The ‘Axle Eleven’, as they are calling themselves, have hardly been missed.
Not that they have gone quietly, setting up the protest group and asking fans to join them in opposition of the new regime at Tundra Park. So far, only Skinny Dave and his dog Trebonianus Gallus have joined the ‘Restore the Axle Eleven’ campaign. Skinny Dave said of his defecting to the protest group:
It has long been a tradition at this club to employ useless footballers who don’t know their studs from their elbow. There has been no respect for that tradition and until we get a few more useless footballers throwing games for us, I won’t be coming back to Tundra Park. Mediocrity is for the masses – I want embarrassing football, and I want it now!
The surprise exclusion of Naik – who looked to be in Solskín’s favour after contributing a good showing against the Elites – showed just how far the manager will go in clearing out Axle for a better future – or does it? The Icelandic manager has a stark warning for more of the old guard who perhaps thought they had been spared the rod:
This is my business done for the season, but there are another half dozen lightweights in my team who will be looking for a new club next season if they don’t get their act together. I want footballers at this club. If the Axle Eleven becomes the Axle Eighteen, so be it.