So it’s on to the Liverpool match of 2017-18 but in considering a game which may be Slaven Bilic’s last, my mind is stuck in season 2015/16 when we won three games against them scoring six goals and conceding one.
And there was a reason for that. WE WERE FIT from Day One despite half the squad training in Cork with the remainder on the mainland ahead and a Europa Cup campaign qualifying campaign with which to cope.
The summer training had been looked after by a certain Terry Westley who is now back in the Day job as academy boss and pulling up plenty of trees.
Westley had overseen all the training as he guided a super fit team into Europe and then move into the Premier League beating Arsenal before a couple of setbacks against Leicester and Bournemouth.
After that we saw off Liverpool at Anfield , beat Newcastle and Man City up there and went on a 15 game Premier League run which saw us beaten once.
I’ll never forget the fitness levels I witnessed as we withstood an absolute siege from City at the Etihad on the 19th of Septemeber 2015 – a team of supermen defying all odds to win 2-1.
After that we were beaten just once in the next 15 League games to finally finish in that seventh place and I remain convinced that was down to the pre-season training regime under Westley because we have certainly seen nothing like that season and the fitness levels since.
If further evidence is required recall the slimmed down Payet who is prone to put it on as he did the following season and look at the numerous injuries we have suffered since those heady days.
Injuries are always picked up more easily when players are more out of shape than in and there may be something to consider there.
So what’s my point? It ain’t rocket science.
If the Davids are looking to ease the pressure on themselves as they try to find a replacement for the current manager they can do so by giving Westley the reins on a temporary basis for a few weeks.
He has a great back-up team which includes Steve Potts and Jack Collison -who know the drills he has in place and would work to them while he’s on first team duty.
I have little doubt he will have the first team squad a minimum of 50 per cent fitter uickly were he to be given the trust of the co chairmen.
It would have a spin off bonus of him bringing the more promising ‘kids’ down from Chadwell Heath to join the first team squad at Rush Green. Currently only Declan Rice, Sead Haksabanovich and Domingous Quina are involved.
Terry Westley is also the one man at the club who has not only proved his fitness work is effective but also knows every player at the club and could comfortably work with them all and they with him.
On the basis that a new man were brought in relatively quickly I’d be very happy the academy boss should be get the gig.
A good, thoughtful post…I’d never considered the fitness levels under Westley’s governance. I’ve stayed largely quiet on Billic – but the Palace game finally told me we’ve gone as far we can. I hate all the knee jerk chopping and firing these days, and all the foreign big names must be best rubbish…by we need a change, and this would be an interesting one.
Not to put a dampener on it Hugh but I didn’t think we were especially fit then either, the players were just a bit more hungry with it being Slav’s first few matches, we did have some great performances of course and maybe we were fitter than the last two pre-seasons but not at the level we need to be.
Wasn’t a few was it tho 32
All of our problems stem from off the pitch we all know it lets change the record.
Yes we went over all that last night. If u were to explain what you mean it may be helpful. But it doesn’t sound as tho the record is about to be changed given that we all apparently know about it already.
I’m not as confident as you are Hugh. Looking at Westley’s record at both Luton and Derby, compared to the success he has enjoyed at academy level with Brum and us, I think he just may have found his level. The jump up to managing at PL level is huge and I’d like us to spread our net wider.
What I cannot dispute is the excellent work he continues to do with the U23 side.