End of Term Report Part 1 16/06/2009Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
I was going to start this a few weeks ago. Good bloody job I didn’t, events having taken a turn and so forth. Anyways, here’s the school report as I see it…
1- Mart Poom
Much as his departure was one of the less surprising developments of the summer so far, and much as we’re relatively well covered in the goalkeeping department, I can’t help but feel a little bit of regret at the loss of Mart Poom. His seven games or so at the start of the campaign showcased the experienced, competent goalkeeper that we thought we’d signed a year earlier before injury contributed to some unconvincing performances at the start of that campaign. Injury took its toll again of course, Poom’s dislocated shoulder and the last of his 200-odd league appearances relegated to a mere footnote by Stuart Attwell and Nigel Bannister against Reading. The revelation that his day-job was coaching goalkeepers over the fence at Arsenal came as news to me though, I must admit… perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention.
Next Season: NA (retired)
2- Gavin Hoyte
He came, he saw, he left again. One struggles to recall a loanee from a big club spending a lower profile loan spell at Vicarage Road. Agbonlahor, perhaps, if Villa count as a big club. Anyway, Hoyte blended in just fine by looking kind of ok but no better, and whilst he was a largely competent option when numbers at the back got thin on the ground you don’t really see him breaking into Arsène’s team any time soon.
Next Season: probably a loan at Millwall or some such. Or cameo appearances in the Carling Cup.
3- Mat Sadler
One of those where you do really wonder what’s gone on. Whilst he’s never really looked a brilliant use of £750k, he did at times look like a perfectly decent second division left back. At other times, he looked like he’d just fallen out of the pub and onto the pitch, wandering around in a daze like someone roped into a dance troupe on the basis that his Mum used to own a CD of Swan Lake. Disappeared from contention around Christmas, and appearances on the vast subs benches demanded by the FA Cup, like an odd sock that you’ve never thrown away in case the other one turns up, didn’t disguise his plummet from grace.
Next Season: There’s a decent footballer in there somewhere. It may not be us that gets to find out.
4 (#1) – Sam Sodje
One of Reading’s less consequential contributions to our season, Sodje’s Watford career lasted 90 not altogether convincing minutes at Bramall Lane before an injury sustained in the same game saw him returned to sender.
Next Season: released by Reading, he’ll be on the lookout for a new club. Having spent a successful loan spell at Leeds later last season, Elland Road seems a decent bet as his next port of call.
4 (#2) – Jack Cork
The speed with which he ditched Southampton to spend the second half of he season at Vicarage Road spoke volumes about the regard in which he and our then manager held each other. It’s a perversely backhanded compliment, but you wouldn’t completely rule out a long-term career for Cork at his parent club… he did extraordinarily well at Vicarage Road, his suave, composed midfield play dropping in standard from outstanding to merely very good only in the wake of being exposed to too many games as part of an extremely young central midfield.
Next Season: if he makes it at Chelsea, it won’t be this season. Would be splendid to see him at Vicarage Road again, but we’d not have a cat in hell’s chance of signing him permanently. If he slums it in Division Two again, Reading seems a more likely destination.