December 21 2014 Latest news:
Friday, April 4, 2014
The media team at West Bromwich Albion have earned their corn this week sorting out the mess caused by the dressing room bust-up between Saido Berahino and James Morrison.
The result appears to be that the situation is resolved and they are all friends now – but you are still wondering whether the spin doctors’ work is simply papering over the cracks.
If so, will we see evidence of that at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon – and can Norwich City benefit?
Chris Hughton says it won’t have an impact
Berahino was thumped by Morrison when he apparently refused to apologise for a mistake that led to Cardiff’s late equaliser in the 3-3 stalemate last weekend.
So, two team-mates have a scrap. It happens, apparently, all the time – that’s what ex-pros always seem to tell you. Doesn’t mean to say it won’t have an effect.
The interesting aside is that someone in that dressing room leaked the story to the media, which perhaps annoyed manager Pepe Mel as much as the incident itself. Mel wants a positive reaction from it all at Carrow Road, but one deduction from an amateur detective would be that the leak might just have exposed another little crack in the dressing room.
Who else doesn’t like Berahino or Morrison?
Look at it that way and you might, if you are a City player, believe there is a weakness to expose.
What you are likely to see at Carrow Road is a very noisy crowd doing what they did two weeks ago when Sunderland came to town; they backed their team from the off and, whether as a consequence or not we will never know, the team attacked the opposition. Sunderland’s weaknesses (and there were a few) were laid bare and City took advantage.
Is there a soft underbelly to West Brom? Are there personality issues inside the dressing room? Not many will know the answer, but if you suspect it, then expose it. If City frustrate the Baggies, they could go the way of Sunderland, who produced one of the worst away performances you will see this season. Football is a game played very much between the ears, and if that is turned to mush there isn’t much left.
While we’re on the subject of dressing room bust-ups, it does rather lend weight to the theory that every team needs a hard-nosed leader, who rules the roost off the pitch. You suspect Grant Holt would have nipped the West Brom incident in the bud by sorting out the both of them – and then ensured the “what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room” mantra was strictly adhered to. Or else.
Back in the days of black and white football, teams had their enforcers, their players’ manager. The likes of Ron Yeats, Graeme Souness, Dave Mackay, Bill Foulkes, Bryan Robson, Jack Charlton, Roy Keane. They kept in-house law and order. Look at today’s teams and it is hard to pick out their obvious leaders. Which is perhaps why we have occasional bust-up stories.
What do you think? Will the Berahino-Morrison bust-up have any effect at Carrow Road?