Good thing about the forum change is getting a chance to scroll through threads that I haven't been in for ages. This thread caught my attention because, when read in a block, it shows the very nature of Blitz (and probably many other forums). Good game = praise, bad game = vitriol, in between times = argument between the supporters vs the 'haters'. And therein lies the problem, criticism is so easily labelled hate and from this narrow dichotomy flows a great deal of debate over very little.
I think Zaka and Stanton do share a similar tale with regards to the Bomber faithful. Both a very good players on their day, both a very loyal clubmen and both have been vulnerable to patches of low performance. The key, in my opinion, is the expectation vs output question.
I think both Stanton and Zaka are very good players but neither are elite... but that is ok. You can not have 22 'elite' players on the list. Even in our best season (2000) we didn't have 22 elite players. I think of guys like Blumfield, Caracella and Heffernan as the prime examples of this. All three were actually inconsistent performers, all had weaknesses and were prone to go missing.. and yet through the strenght of the team around them they came together to form the core of an elite midfield.
For ten years we have had to pin our hopes on guys like Stanton and Zaka to be 'elite' without realising/admitting that the lack of depth around them made the job near impossible.
I have high hopes for Zaharakis this season and I think he will flourish, not just because of the lack of tag but because he will be able to play the role for which he is most suited.. 4-6th best midfielder. The guy who comes into the middle in the second and third rotations and can use his outside run and speed to advantage. The one can focus on the attacking side of the game, knowing that he has a strong team defence around him. I look forward to him picking up about 20 touches a week and kicking a goal every second week or so after a long searching run. I look forward to him contributing at least 2-3 sensational games where he goes crazy good and is BOG or close too. I look forward to him playing with freedom and flair and reaping the rewards of a career played under difficult circumstances.
I hope this is, finally, the season we see guys like Zaka and Stanton played in their suited position, with the appropriate level of expectations and they reap the ultimate reward and recognition of their endeavours.