Whitecaps in crisis as Robson departsJanuary 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 1 Comment
When the Vancouver Whitecaps showed up for their first training session this morning, one of the players whose red hair might make him stand out in the fog was not there. Barry Robson had failed to show. Strangely enough, coach Martin Rennie seemed to either pretend he did not know what was going on or had absolutely no idea, when he was seen on the news saying “I am sure he will show up”.
He didn’t, and Robson is now on his way back to Great Britain, having put his time with the Vancouver Whitecaps behind him. It might be an occasion for saying “thanks for nothing, pal”, but for one fact: Barry Robson was our best midfielder. This is not saying much in what is a very shallow midfield pool. Now that Robson is gone, a bad situation has gotten worse. We have athletes to play in midfield, but no experience and even less creative skill. What is the chance the Whitecaps will find a good midfielder with six weeks to go before kickoff?
Not that Robson set Vancouver on fire with his football skills. In fact, he was quite prosaic, though he could hit the back of the net (he scored 3) and could provide balls for others to score (he had 2 assists). He had experience of football at a high level, which is one of the crucial components of a football club’s success.
What Robson will be remembered most for, unfortunately, is his miserable attitude. Canadians prefer the quiet player who leads by example. Robson was the opposite, frequently barking at his teammates in complaint, and whining at supposed non-calls of referees. He will be remembered for waving his arms in the air and complaining as he watched the play go in the other direction, rather than getting on with it, chasing the ball down and defending. The truth is he was not fit enough to catch up with the play.
The fact is Robson showed up unfit, and the heat and travel must have seemed like hell for a 34 year old veteran with very pale skin. Robson is the classic case of the overseas player who thinks he is going to come over here and dominate, only to find he can barely keep up with the game. The fact is, Robson did very little while he was here to live up to his reputation.
The team's fortunes plummeted when Robson came along, although in his defence other changes to the roster gave him a lesser team to play with. Had Robson been added to the squad containing Chiumiento, Hassli and Le Toux, we would have had a hell of a team that would have been a real contender. All in all, the whole Robson experience was a very mediocre one, and as it turns out it was a poor marriage. Bob Lenarduzzi did not look that unhappy Robson was gone when interviewed.
All of this looks very bad on the Whitecaps. The LA Galaxy are in the process of signing up Frank Lampard, and we can’t hold on to Barry Robson. Rather than starting up with a solid foundation for the 2013 season, the foundation is crumbling from the outset.
All of this points towards an organization in crisis which is still struggling and still learning to cope with life in Major League Soccer. One thing is for sure, the owners of the Whitecaps need to take decisive action and sign some good players in very short order. We probably won’t see them until mid season, which was the case with Miller and Robson. The prospect of having more guys show up out of shape in mid season with attitude problems again hardly whets the appetite for 2013 Whitecaps football…
Relying on last years squad, which was one of the poorest in the league in the second half of the 2011 season even with Barry Robson, will mean we won't have a hope of making the playoffs in 2013.