Every team, sport-related or not, needs a captain to lead and guide teammates, to help achieve the best possible outcome at the task in hand. A good captain is experienced, talented and level-headed (amongst other attributes).
Before the 2019/20 season began most of us looked to Michael Doyle (aged 37) to lead his fellow teammates through this campaign. Since he is a mature player with experience and talent, he was the perfect candidate for the role. However, following his red card incident in the first game against Eastleigh, this questions his suitability to the captaincy role.
I looked over the highlights of the Eastleigh game and it is clear Doyle jabs Reda Johnson in the side of the face when Notts were defending a corner. I didn’t attend the game so possibly a challenge from Johnson on Doyle earlier on in the game irked him (so he reacted later on) but regardless he should have kept his cool and rightly deserves his ban.
Now two games into the season (as when written) it is vital to find a solid leader to keep players calm, organised and perform to the best of their potential. We have seen how dressing rooms can become split and toxic. To excel in the National League, we will need an organised, supportive group of players, with a captain to keep this in check.
Personally, I think we should consider other candidates for the captaincy role following Doyle’s bizarre, hot-headed decision making. Ruling out all players below the age of 25 (and those who aren’t first team players) we have O’Brien, Rose, Turner, Rowlinson, Slocombe, and Tyson.
Obviously, since O’Brien and Rose have been around the club longer than any of the others and as they are (arguably) the best players they are great for the role. In my opinion, O’Brien would be the best choice because he is more experienced, most of the play goes through him and has a very high work ethic).
On the other hand, when Doyle returns if O’Brien is captain could it upset the dressing room and its dynamics? In addition, could it lead to a power conflict and so another dressing room split?
The best outcome, however, would be Doyle comes back into the team and picks up where he left off and not to have any repeats of this incident (which is what I assume we all want).