Looking ahead to the new 2014/2015 season, the players have returned to pre-season, new additions get to know their team mates whilst pre-season gives the chance for the new (well relatively new) manager and assistant to get a clear first eleven for our first game of the season, away to Dartford. But the first position to determine is undeniably the toughest: who will be the number one goalkeeper? Well on one hand you’ve got the steady but young Scouse stopper in Andy Coughlin. Whilst on the other hand is the older more experienced Cameroonian Joslain Mayebi.
Starting with Coughlin, a goalkeeper signed up ahead of the 2012/2013 season as initial back up to Mayebi after the departure of Chris Maxwell. My initial reaction was positive, a young keeper to challenge Mayebi, until I saw him in pre-season where I, and the lads I was with at the time, thought he looked lanky and unsteady.
I was even less satisfied when I watched him make his home debut in an 4-2 defeat to Lincoln. That first season everyone could tell he wasn’t ready, including then manager Andy Morrell, who when Mayebi was ruled out injured for the season did not play Coughlin, but recruit a new goalkeeper entirely, welcome home Chris Maxwell.
But last season after a string of Mayebi errors we saw Coughlin come to full fruition, since September 2013 he kept his place, and even earned a call up to the England C side at the tender age of 21. In the past year he has gone on to prove his worth with some solid performances and making a couple of, as Mark Griffiths would describe in his linguistic tones during commentary, “worldie” saves.
On to his challenger for the jersey this coming term, it’s a man I am not ashamed to have a slight footballing love affair with, a man who on his day is the best goalkeeper in the Conference and even earned a place in Cameroon’s Olympic football team in 2008 and for matches in 2010.
But there is a dark side. Jos isn’t a stranger to making a howler or two, think back to Cambridge United in the FA Cup back in 2011 and again against the same opposition in September 2013, gifting the U’s an equaliser. If any game summed up the six foot two inch keeper in a nutshell, it would be Ebbsfleet United away in 2012 (think of Creighton’s injury). The Dragons took the lead before a Mayebi howler gifts Ebbsfleet a goal from nothing, but then for Jos to go on and save a late penalty. Not the sharpest tool in the box, when asked about who out of Wales and Norway would win for Wrexham Players ‘Players vs Fans vs Cats’ he answered ‘Finland’.
So who do I want between the sticks, for me it’s got to be Mayebi, I love him, I like a goalkeeper with character and will continue throughout the season to argue with the commentary team on why he should be playing, as well as my persistent arguing of why Joe Anyinsah and Junior N’tame were released, but let’s not get in to that.