Good Gosh, it’s Tosh

26 10 2008

If one were to read the message boards that concern themselves with Welsh Football one may develop the idea that John Toshack is an idiot, a useless manager, too old, too inflexible, tactically naive, undiplomatic, a waste of space, a waste of money etc etc etc etc. I’ve finally had enough of hearing about his multi-tasking,  I’m sick of hearing people have a go at Tosh.

What makes it worse is that it’s not only seasoned Wales fans that are putting the boot it. Other people, people that probably don’t even bother going to watch Wales live, are doing it too. “Well, we’re shit aren’t we? Why would they bother?” – as I heard one bloke point out succinctly.  Funnily enough the same people are interested when Wales infrequently do well.

They may have arrived at this postion by reading what people like Savage have said and parroted it. Our local paper helps to reinforce the impression that Tosh is useless. I won’t mention the paper, let’s call it the Daily Post for argument’s sake. An ex-pro will bang on about the situation insinuating, “How dare you slag off my mate Robbie. The ex-sports editor then compounds the problem with his habit of being anti-Toshack when we lose and non-committal on Tosh when we win.

Basically the arguments people use are a load of crap. This is because they rest on two assumptions;

(1)If someone “special” were put in charge Wales would be transformed into world-beaters. Of course the players playing in the Championship and League One wouldall transfer to Premiership clubs immediately after the “Special One” takes charge.

(2) Wales were brilliant in former times.

To find out if (2) is correct we would need to compare the results from the golden period with our present results, so let’s do that. Toshack’s results are in bold.

05/06/1991 Wales 1-0 Germany
16/10/1991 Germany 4-1 Wales
26/04/1995 Germany 1-1 Wales
11/10/1995 Wales 1-2 Germany
14/05/2002 Wales 1-0 Germany
08/09/2007 Wales 0-2 Germany
21/11/2007 Germany 0-0 Wales
15/10/2008 Germany 1-0 Wales

30/05/1965 USSR 2-1 Wales
27/10/1965 Wales 2-1 USSR
30/05/1981 Wales 0-0 USSR
18/11/1981 USSR 3-0 Wales
18/02/1987 Wales 0-0 USSR
15/11/2003 Russia 0-0 Wales
19/11/2003 Wales 0-1 Russia
10/09/2008 Russia 2-1 Wales

01/05/1957 Wales 1-0 Czechoslovakia
26/05/1957 Czechoslovakia 2-0 Wales
21/04/1971 Wales 1-3 Czechoslovakia
27/10/1971 Czechoslovakia 1-0 Wales
30/03/1977 Wales 3-0 Czechoslovakia
16/11/1977 Czechoslovakia 1-0 Wales
19/11/1980 Wales 1-0 Czechoslovakia
09/09/1981 Czechoslovakia 2-0 Wales
29/04/1987 Wales 1-1 Czechoslovakia
11/11/1987 Czechoslovakia 2-0 Wales
28/04/1993 RCS 1-1 Wales 
08/09/1993 Wales 2-2 RCS
27/03/2002 Wales 0-0 Czech Republic
02/09/2006 Czech Republic 2-1 Wales
02/06/2007 Wales 0-0 Czech Republic

Back in the good old days when we used to roll over “minnows” no probs.

14/11/1990 Luxembourg 0-1 Wales
13/11/1991 Wales 1-0 Luxembourg

14/10/1992 Cyprus 0-1 Wales
13/10/1993 Wales 2-0 Cyprus

06/09/1977 Wales 0-0 Kuwait
20/09/1977 Kuwait 0-0 Wales

14/10/1981 Wales 2-2 Iceland
12/09/1984 Iceland 1-0 Wales
14/11/1984 Wales 2-1 Iceland
01/05/1991 Wales 1-0 Iceland

(All info from the wonderful site written by Gary Pritchard)

Who would have thought that? Tosh is only doing about the same as every other manager over the last twenty/thirty odd years. If you take a few other things into account you can actually argue that Tosh has done a good job to keep us competitive. Tosh has had certain structural problems to deal with;

(1) The fragmentation of countries in eastern Europe since 1991

When Wales played national teams from eastern Europe prior to 1991 all the good players from the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were concentrated in one team. Now skillful players are more dispersed. We have more chance of drawing either good teams or awkward teams with good players who’ll score 30 yarders. God knows we’ve drawn a few of those since 1991

(2) Pro clubs in England’s elite can buy whoever they want from anywhere in the world.

Instead of spending time and effort developing players from their academies, which may contain Welsh players, these clubs can go out and buy a ready-made replacement for a departed player. The incoming player will probably be an international already.

It’s always been the case that for every 30 players at academy level there may be only one who actually “makes it”. These chances must be harder now when clubs can seemingly buy anyone from anywhere. Players in academies/reserve teams of the bigger clubs may also hail from more exotic locations as well.

All of this probably makes it harder for younger Welsh players to break through

I remember reading a sports geography book once, In this book it reported that the Deeside area was one of the most prolific areas for producing pro footballers after the North-East of England. I would think that’s probably less the case now.

To return to the point of this article, why let logic interfere with a good old rant.

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