The long arm of Delap
Something strange is happening in English football. Stoke City, one of the less fashionable teams in the Premier League, have started a trend that has swept down through most levels of the game.
Rory Delap is the man responsible, with his long throws directly involved in seven of Stoke’s first 13 goals of this season, scored between August 16 and November 1.
The tactic has certainly been copied at Sunday League level — I can vouch for that as a goalkeeper in the West Fulham League — yet for some reason top-level clubs haven’t followed suit.
I can’t imagine Arsene Wenger employing such tactics, for it wouldn’t fit well with his beautiful football ethos, but last year Chelsea’s Luiz Felipe Scolari openly declared his love for the Stoke man’s talent.
So why are other teams hesitant to try it out?
Perhaps it’s simply that they don’t have players who can propel the ball the way Delap does. Delap was, after all, regularly throwing javelins 40 metres as a teenager.
At the very least he should have a job in coaching the art of the long throw once his playing days are over. If that doesn’t appeal to him, then he should do a tour of Sunday league grounds to see the havoc he has wreaked nationwide. Might bring a tear to his eye.
PHOTO: Stoke City’s Rory Delap takes a throw-in against Chelsea during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, Jan. 17, 2009. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez