The Stone Roses’ self-titled first album, released in 1989, was a masterpiece in defining popular music of the era. The young, the old and those in between relished, whether they admit it or not, Ian Brown & Co’s trigger-happy use of electronica amidst more conventional guitar rock and lazily cool vocals.
Second Coming, their second album released five years later, is widely considered to be less good - to the point of the press and public losing faith in the band, the band losing faith in themselves and, ultimately, spelling their disbandment. The best part of two decades later, the group re-formed for a series of (doubtless commercially, rather than artistically, minded) gigs that promised to re-live a golden age.
Footballers do not operate on the same long-term timeframe. Neither, therefore, do they have any of the luxuries associated with it. The aforementioned Mancunian musicians are meant to serve as a metaphor here: there are certain footballers, more often strikers, currently playing in the Premiership, who had stellar 2014-15 seasons, which for most of them was their first time as regular starters.
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Now, albeit in the early stages of the 2015-16 campaign, the goals have seemingly dried up for these same players. Efforts to score have been no less athletic, no less desired; but they have been without the cold calculation, or perhaps the luck, which blessed last year’s performance. There is even talk (again, albeit so soon into the new season) in the wider media of worrying things like desperation, one-hit wonders and special training camps.
It would be better if words off the pitch concerned second season syndrome, or better yet, regression toward the mean. This is, to quote Wikipedia, the phenomenon that if a variable is extreme on its first measurement, it will tend to be closer to the average on its second measurement - and if it is extreme on its second measurement, it will tend to have been closer to the average on its first.
The point is that two data samples must be measured, before a final conclusion can be drawn. Of course it is too early in this, the second season - the second data sample of the two suggested, the second album, for metaphor’s sake - for any faith to be questioned, less so lost completely.
Harry Kane is not the first and definitely won't be the last striker to go through a purple patch after such a strong season. Diego Costa isn't looking anywhere near as dangerous as last year either and he has a lot more creative talent supporting him.
If come next May the goal tally for certain players disappoints, then perhaps disbandment will be optioned. And if the scoresheets are well-weighted, then a player may be, by the law of averages, immortalised in glory.
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