Friday, January 30, 2004

Stupidity reigns supreme

Go over to Casino Avenue right now, and you'll find Inspector Sands bemoaning the sale of one of his beloved Charlton's best players. Here, you'll find much the same thing (though without any vitriol levelled against the player in question).

Let's get things perfectly clear. In the middle of a season when it's imperative we get ourselves back in fourth spot to avoid any kind of long-term slide, the decision to sell one of our most experienced, creative and well-liked players, not to mention the best crosser of a ball at the club, is unforgivably stupid. To sell him to a rival Premiership club, Aston Villa, is even more stupid. And to sell him for the absurdly small sum of £1.5million is stupider still. Whether you look at it in football or business terms, it doesn't matter - it just doesn't make sense: he'd be a useful asset in any squad, and the money we've received for him is hardly enough to fund the signing of an adequate replacement. The whole sorry affair has left me shaking my head in disbelief, and for the first time in quite a while I find myself seriously questioning the judgement of the manager.

How Nobby Solano must be feeling I can't imagine. To have given your all for the club, knuckled down in a way that precious few of the expensive foreign imports have over the past few seasons, scored goals, never complained about being unceremoniously hauled off around the 70 minute mark week in week out whether or not you're playing badly - and then to be let go as easily and cheaply as that. A tremendous servant for Newcastle United, and he ends up getting treated like shit. Disgraceful.

So, so far we seem to have taken the opportunity afforded us by the transfer window to weaken the squad, not strengthen it. What of the players being linked with the club? Well, the Stephen Carr deal has been on the cards for ages, and would be a decent one for the club. Ditto Michael Bridges - but with Bellamy and Ameobi back to fitness, do we really need another injury-prone striker? We've just got rid of Carl Cort, for fuck's sake. And what about Alan Smith? If he could curb his temper I'd like to see him at the club, either in Nobby's position on the right side of midfield (where he's been playing for Leeds) or, if he could learn to score goals, up front - but it looks like Leeds have bailed out just enough water to save the sinking ship in the short term. Hopefully we'll be there with a small dinghy if and when he decides to jump ship...

Anyway, back to stupidity. It's even spread abroad, our mercurial talent Lua Lua getting himself sent off whilst captaining the Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Nations Cup. A rash wave of the leg, a disgusting feigning of injury by the opposition player, and he was off. Host nation Tunisia went on to win 3-0, and after two games Congo are out.

Lua Lua could conceivably get a try-out in Nobby's old position, but apparently Ambrose will be starting on the right side of midfield for tomorrow's game at Birmingham. Not only does that mean that Bobby's got a lot more faith in him than I have, but it presumably means that Dyer continues upfront at the expense of the fit-again Bellamy and Ameobi when he could be moved back into the centre with the disappointing Jenas dropping to the bench. Of course, it won't matter a jot to me who plays if we win. But at the end of a dismal week - for Nobby, for Lua Lua, for the fans - a win is what we need.

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