Story by Sarah Mobbs
This week, I’m going to be talking about those rare players who, despite having bids put in for them during this year’s transfer period, actually wanted to stay at their clubs. I know you’ve heard enough from me about van Persie (who did want to leave his team- but against whom I have no bad feelings- I just hope he finds what he’s looking for) so we’re not going to mention him again. Possibly ever.
I’m going to start then by talking about Newcastle’s Danny Simpson. The Magpies’ full-back, despite Pardew’s keenness to get rid of him, was adamant he wanted to stay. Aside from being unhappy with the price upon his head, Simpson was actually happy at Newcastle, and had no desire to leave. Now, I’m sure, if the price had been right, perhaps it might not have been such a problem for him, yet he did ask why he would want to leave. The Magpies did incredibly well last season, and I can truly see them going from strength to strength this season too and I suppose since he helped them get there, it would be nice for him not to be offloaded right away.
I suppose the biggest name in players dedicated to their clubs at the minute is Steven Gerrard, who still maintains that Liverpool is, and always will be, the club for him. Despite bids in the past from both Chelsea and Manchester United, Gerrard insists that he would not consider leaving Liverpool for anything. Despite being flattered by bids from two of the Premierships biggest clubs, there were also two of Liverpool’s biggest rivals, and that rivalry of course will be root for Gerrard. Growing up in Liverpool he will have known well that the two sets of reds were unlikely ever to co-exist peacefully, and this of course, will have later seeped into his mindset as a footballer. While Gerrard still has dreams for his club of holding the Premier League title, he is well aware that this may occur well after his time, and he’s more than happy to have played his part in winning Liverpool the European title. But he’s not about to give up anytime soon; he’s as dedicated now as he ever was to his beloved home-team, and stands by his repeated decisions to stay with them. In his own words; “It would be easy to say I want to leave. That I’ve had enough… But I haven’t… I want more.” (www.skysports.com) Best thing of all about Gerrard, he points no fingers, other than possibly in the mirror, searching for other people to blame as to why Liverpool still haven’t won the Premiership. That to me, is true sportsmanship and dedication to one’s team. Hoorah.
Finally, a player struggling to find a club is 32 year old Michael Owen. Owen, not being bound by contracts, is also not bound by the passing of the transfer deadline, and is hoping to be able to secure something in the (very) near future, with Stoke and Everton both said to be keeping an eye on him. However, his recent injury problems may mean that no-one is keen enough to take him on just yet, and Owen could be left floating around in the “gamle” area. I wish him the very best of luck, but wonder if, realistically, after all of the problems he has had with injury, past and present, he may indeed be regarded to be well past his peak. He is 32 after all, and professional footballers are only getting younger.