Friday, July 08, 2011

Sideshow the main man

According to the Chronicle, Sideshow Bob has been handed the captain's armband ahead of next season.

Undoubtedly one of our stand-out players last season, Sideshow Bob has improved massively from his early days with the club, when the physicality of the league looked to trouble him, and a season snuffing out Championship attacks (under the watchful eye of ex-defenders Hughton and Calderwood) clearly paid dividends.

Whether his appointment will help to convince Jose Enrique to stay looks doubtful, but it can't hurt.

Of the other candidates for the job, it seems to me that it was essentially a four horse race, with Steve Harper, ASBO and Steven Taylor the other names realistically in the frame. Of those, Harper looks to have a fight on his hands to stay in the side ahead of Krul and Forster, so is far from a certain starter next season. ASBO is too much of a loose cannon off the pitch (and in the last year of his contract) so that rules him out too. Given his criticisms of the board in recent weeks, and his Twitter comments on the Nolan transfer it was always doubtful that Jabba would sanction his appointment even if Pardew had wanted to give him the armband on a full-time basis.

That leaves Taylor, who got himself back in the team at the end of last season thanks to Mike Williamson's injury, and is now probably established as Sideshow Bob's first-choice partner, but as the second best centre-back at the club (at present) appointing him as captain would have made it awkward should Taylor lose a bit of form and Williamson perform well in training.

What will be interesting to see is who takes on the armband should Sideshow Bob be rested or injured. Will it go to one of the three mentioned above, or will Big Lad, Mr T or new boy Yohan Cabaye be entrusted with the role?

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