On 25th August 2018 a new player was born, almost a new signing slotted into our beloved club.
Lee Cattermole strutted out onto the Kingsmeadow turf, chest proudly puffed out supporting his rosy red shorts. It’s a sight we've seen so many times over the years. however this time it something is different. We have to ask why. The obvious retort would be he's playing at his level. I don’t buy into this and let me explain.
To be a leader you have to have great strength and the backing of your fellow team mates. In previous seasons Lee hasn’t had that and its reflected poorly on his capabilities and performances on the pitch. This is where Jack Ross enters the equation. The decision to hand Honeyman the armband has been a masterstroke from the clever Scotsman. The pressure of leading by example has been removed from Cattermole's CV and he now just has to play football, and this has become quite clearly evident in his last two outings. The hunger and desire to succeed is still there, despite the criticism he's received as of late.
In South East London around 15.45 we had an issue dealing with a tough and streetwise Wimbledon outfit. We were 1-0 down and struggling. We needed a leader to take control and drag the team out of this situation. Cattermole did what he's been doing for years and never shirked, he stood proud and dragged his team back into the game with another impeccable performance backed with two great goals. A star was reborn. We had our Catts back. It wasn't a captain’s role he was playing, it was just a player applying his trade with pure hunger and desire to do the best for his team, without the added pressure of 'THAT' armband.
We have all seen the video clips on social media, the camaraderie within the club. Catts is now in this group once again and it shows, he's missed it.
Influential leaders help inspire the commitment of their fellow team mates to maintain maximum effort. Influential leaders also help manage change in the team by gaining the confidence of their team mates through effective decision making and communication. Catts has this again. I repeat, the armband may have gone but the leader remains. We have two things to be grateful for. Jack Ross for a great piece of man management, and more importantly the attitude of a professional footballer. We know the loss of captaincy would have hurt him, naturally. There was no moaning about it, in fact there was pure silence. His talking has been done on the pitch.
Suggestions over the years had him labelled as bad apple. I suggest this wasn’t the case. The bad apples are no longer at the club, they’ve been removed, and that bright fresh shiny apple is now ready for picking. It's always been there, just buried beneath a basket of mercenary footballers. This can be the only reason for his massive upturn in form.
He just wants to play football for the club he loves. We can now get the best out or Lee Cattermole. Jack Ross believes in him and so should we.