“An experiment is a failure only when it also fails adequately to test the hypothesis in question, when the data it produces don’t prove anything one way or another.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Gary Mills has been experimenting, he’s been forced to. His actions have been logical, measured and not lead by the jerking of knees. The plan for the season makes sense, and he has modified it very adeptly to match events. It’s pretty stupid to have a plan and not keep it under constant review.
The initial Mills plan had Lee Fowler pulling the strings, and a small squad. In the test bed of pre-season he concluded that he’d got it wrong, this was a huge issue. How could he play passing football without a pass master? With fearfully little time left he remoulded a team capable of competing, gaining points and being thoroughly pleasant on the eye. The hurried change had consequences, not all good. Its taking a very long time to resolve the consequences.
Wes York’s role is a positive and a negative. Moke was the planned wide man on the right, but having to switch him to the middle gave York the chance to blossom, but also to fade in and out of games. We’ve missed the more defensively astute Moke on that flank. The Vose/York combo on the wings is exciting on a flat dry pitch, but a tad delicate in winter. Mills has moved to resolve these issues, and he won’t be deterred by the Braintree result. That game needed the analysis of a wise man. We’ve got one.
Simon Heslop, Louis Briscoe and Mark Beck have all been signed from perception of events: Heslop passes in a more timely manner than Moke and is wiser in the protective role. Briscoe is the perfect addition to a three man attack. Morrell, Pogba and Mangan worked because they had a bit of everything. York, Gray and Vose lack beef and it really shows on unforgiving surfaces.
Anybody thinking that our new signings will run contrary to the Mills plan is wrong. The Mills plan is based on experimentation, flexibility and fearlessness in decision making. He has read recent games wisely. The Braintree game will have given him confidence in his hypotheses, not fearful that the result indicates we’re on a slippery slope. All of his experiments have moved us from a creative, delicate, unreliable team to one with purpose, reliability and creativity. The results will come. Long may Mills experiment wisely.