Apparently, this is a question that was discussed at a recent 1. FC Köln Stammtisch.
For the purpose of not getting too distracted, I will quickly say for those who don’t know what a “Stammtisch” is, that well just call it a regular meeting. In this case, it’s a table at a bar at which a handful of people discuss Effzeh-related matters. These are public events, which can be viewed online.
Well, I just saw a post about just such a Stammtisch. Upon viewing half the two-and-a-half minute preview of the event, I had to stop to vent my annoyance at how sometimes traditional sports media get caught up in their scripted tropes, particularly when it comes to our beloved club.
Among the guests at Ralf Friedrich’s table was one Holger Schmidt. The banner beneath his name says he’s a “Journalist beim Sport-Informationsdienst,” which makes him a “journalist” (duh) at Germany’s “sports-information service.” The suit he’s wearing makes me believe he fancies himself a fairly serious journalist. Certainly, the SID is a fairly professional organization.
Granted, I’m getting just a snapshot of a larger conversation, but working from the perspective that he is answering the question above, his answer shows that such serious sports journalists, despite having the advantage of being paid to follow sports fairly closely, continue to hold onto some of the most-inane cliches available.
He starts by saying there he has determined what might turn out to be a problem with this team.
Sidebar: I suppose that when you add a “perhaps” or a “maybe,” you’re somewhat indemnified against anyone saying that you took an absolute stand, but I’m not letting him off the hook quite as easily.
Schmidt offers that, across the board, the effzeh has 20 decent players capable of playing in the Bundesliga, but what is lacking (perhaps. . .in his opinion . . .) more of a leadership-type player to carry the load when things get intense.
An assumption here would be that nobody in the current side qualifies. I presume this to stem from the fact that none of the regulars have a great depth of Bundesliga experience. I am basing this presumption on the fact that the example Schmidt dredges up is Daniel van Buyten, who was earlier rumored to be preparing to transfer to Köln. Schmidt says many were asking, “What do we want with him?” while Schmidt, apparently with the more-serious and in-touch wisdom of a journo says that he’s precisely the type we should be wanting and, hence, apparently are lacking.
“Every team seeks two or three of these (type of players).”
Of course, the “type” being discussed is just vague enough to where you can point to a team struggling and say, “Well, look, they clearly lack that leadership type!” Conversely, when a team is succeeding, you can look at someone performing well and say, “They are succeeding at least in part due to the leadership abilities of Player X.”
As much as Schmidt technically didn’t actually say much of substance (yay, journalism!), I’m still annoyed.
The reason these qualities being assigned to van Buyten and his ilk are somewhat nebulous is the same reason they always fall under “intangibles.” You can’t define it, but you know it when you see it, right?
It’s impossible to say whether van Buyten would have been a net gain or a net loss on the team’s fortunes this season, but not having brought him to the club, nor, apparently, anyone with his hidden qualities, is going to be the make-or-break factor in this season. I mean, when we are discussing whether or not the club has “enough for the Bundesliga,” we ARE talking about the established goal of survival.
And, let’s face it, aiming to finish 15th or above is a vague enough final target to depend more on 17 other clubs than the one. I suppose if the Effzeh finish 16th or below, it would also be impossible to disprove an assertion of, “If you’d gotten van Buyten, you’d be safe!”
But I know and you know and I suspect Schmidt knows, it’s the sort of bon mot you can throw into a discussion to sound like you have some insight that others were overlooking, while remaining fairly unattached to any particular stance.
My take is that it seems to me that the club we just played, Hamburger SV, has a roster full of players who could arguably be put in that category with van Buyten, but maybe even with more actual on-pitch ability at this point, and all they did last year was assemble a high-price roster that should have earned a relegation.
I don’t know. Maybe if the guy was wearing a red and white scarf rather than a suit, maybe it would have sounded different to me, but right now, I’m giving Mr. Holger Schmidt some hard looks and remembering his Twitter handle for when the 40th point is secured, so I can chirp in his direction.
Because this club has “enough,” whatever that actually means.