Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

So it appears to have come to pass that after successfully surviving our first season in back in the Premier League thanks to the team spirit and collective will which our close-knit band of brothers forged in the aftermath of that pre-season defeat to Leyton Orient two years ago, the club has now decided to dump pretty much all of the senior pros.

If his Twitter is to be believed, ASBO's not been offered a new contract. Now it transpires that Kevin Nolan's contract negotiations have broken down and Alan Smith has been told to seek gainful employment elsewhere.

If I was Steve Harper, I'd be seriously worried at the moment - not least because Tim Krul's elevation to the Dutch national side at the weekend suggests that with him and Forster in the squad, Harps might just be expendable.

Frustratingly as a collective approach, this looks like a terrible decision. Nolan scored 14 goals from midfield last season. ASBO created countless chances for us going forward and both have clearly had a significant impact on the club in terms of team spirit. While Smith has seen his place in the team handed to Mr T (and in a purely playing capacity that's definitely a massive improvement), off the pitch he too has played an important role.

For the club to risk throwing that away by potentially sending all three out of the door in quick succession is a terrible idea. Smith, maybe, but the other two seems foolhardy in the extreme.

On a more positive note, we appear to be in for Swansea full-back Neil Taylor with a £1 million bid apparently set to trigger a release fee in his contract. With our interest in Cheikh M'Bengue reportedly over, it will be interesting to see whether the approach for Taylor is our attempt to secure back-up for Jose Enrique, or more likely replace the Spaniard on the cheap before he heads on to pastures new.

Of course, if Enrique does also leave, then it's another departure from the band of brothers which again risks destabilising the club ahead of next season.

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Blogger Ben said...

As the article suggests, it seems to be a calculated attempt by the club hierarchy to crush player power. No doubt Jabba and Llambiarse were riled at the questioning attitude of ASBO and Nolan in the wake of Hughton's sacking and Rocky's sale. ASBO demanding that money be spent to show ambition can't have gone down well either. As you say, though, I can't see this attempt to end the power struggle not damaging the club.

As for Taylor, it'll be interesting to see if Swansea put up much of a fight. If they don't, then that suggests we might have bought unwisely. And in any case, trying to replace Enrique with someone who's completely untested in the Premier League would be a bit daft, no matter how promising he might be.

1:09 pm  

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