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End of Term Report Part 4 22/06/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Dawdling on 13 doesn’t seem particularly sensible.  And anyway, there’s only bloody tennis on the telly with the boss downstairs.  Onwards…

13. Scott Loach

Loach’s third year at Vicarage Road saw his second full season of senior football and his first for us – all in all, his trajectory has stuck far closer to the plan than that of many of Boothroyd’s other early signings.  For the most part has fully justified his starting berth… and the mistakes he’s made are, significantly, similar to those made early on by his most recent comparator, Ben Foster, which is in itself sort of encouraging.  I’m still kinda surprised at the U21 call – there’s clearly potential there and it’s easy to see why bigger clubs are reputed to be interested, but he hasn’t blown anyone away just yet.  I guess that’s what (good) 21 year-old goalkeepers look like though… were he the finished package, he’d have been off already.  As it is the future looks bright for Scott, and he’s unlikely to “concede” a more peculiar goal than the first he shipped in the League in our colours.

Next Season: Undisputed first choice. Onwards and upwards.

14. Lee Williamson

Well that was very odd.  Amongst the frantic chaos of the first half of the season, Lee Williamson was one of few consistent plusses in the side.  A contender for Player of the Season at one stage, he seemed to have finally nailed down a role in the centre of the park.  Enter Brendan Rodgers… and suddenly one of our hitherto key men is no longer in the picture.  In mitigation, the Cork/Jenkins pairing in the centre looked marvellous, and Williamson’s performances in other positions – out wide, and even tucked in behind the front man – never convinced.  You’d have got long odds on the way things were to pan out after seventy marvellous minutes against West Ham in the League Cup, however, and ultimately his loan to Preston and subsequent permanent departure say as much about our wage bill as they do about Williamson’s ability.

Next Season: Part of the job lot to Bramall Lane, Williamson obviously wanted to go and in the end we needed to sell him.  Based on playing ability alone you’d never have let him go… that’s far from the only consideration at the moment.

15. Jon Harley

At times during the second act of last season, Jon Harley was the only source of venom in the side – almost unthinkable last summer.  And actually, at times he wasn’t even on the bench let alone in the side, which I find a little odd… whilst he probably wouldn’t have been in my starting eleven either, there’s little justification for not having a versatile left-sided option as a substitute, let alone one with the gumption to get on and shake things up a bit when such is required.  Must confess to having been slightly surprised to see Harley top a Burnley site’s poll as their best left-back of the last ten years… never short on endeavour, I’ve never been totally sold on his defensive qualities.  His tendency to lose his rag and pick up silly yellow cards for revenge-hacks when he feels wronged doesn’t do him any favours, but otherwise he’s a good guy to have around.

Next Season: With Smith and McAnuff both candidates for the exit door, it’s wide in midfield where we might expect to see Jon Harley more often, something that I’d be altogether more comfortable with.

16. Richard Lee

One shouldn’t complain.  We’re in the fortunate position of having a very good backup goalkeeper with an obvious affinity for the club.  Someone who comes across as a very decent bloke, someone you want to see do well.  However you can’t help but feel that the smart move would have been to move on… that he didn’t perhaps indicates where his priorities are, but Richard will be 27 in October and whilst he still has plenty of years in him you’d have thought being first choice might have been a priority.

Next Season:  A very able deputy.

17. Stuart Searle

I can’t confess to having ever really gotten the point of this one.  Admittedly Searle was never really touted as a first team goalkeeper – he made the bench once, against Palace in the cup.  And I guess he won’t be on a big wage… but from this distance a solid reserve team goalkeeping option and occasional academy coach – with a goalkeeping coach already on the staff – would appear to be a bit of a luxury?  But then it’s hard enough to come to consensus about people whose work we see every week, let alone those we don’t…

Next Season: Will be interesting to see whether Mackay values Searle’s role as much as his predecessor… or whether Searle too will be heading to Berkshire.


1. Minty Jaffa - 24/06/2009

Once again Matt, can’t disagree with your thoughts..

Loach is looking like a potential number 1 for many seasons to come, or until he gets poached by a bigger fish…

Willo (L) will be a loss but again I’m sure you are right and this one is about the cash… I guess we have to back Malky’s judgement with Severin, although I know nowt about his tyope of game!!!!!

I just wonder how much longer we can continue to dump on poor old Richard Lee before he gets the arse and buggers off…

Stuart Searle ???? Why do we need a 3rd keeper when North is gettin such rave reviews?

2. Matt Rowson - 24/06/2009

Severin seems to be a versatile defensive midfielder-cum-centre back. Another Steve Palmer wouldn’t be a bad thing…

And Searle, like you, I don’t really “get”. But North has been released, although Bo Antal is still on the books.

Minty Jaffa - 23/07/2009

Now then I see we have re-signed North….

which is interesting and makes me feel slightly less stupid than I did after I posted my comment lol

3. Tapps - 24/06/2009

If Richard Lee was to move on where could he realistically end up? He’d probably follow the career path of Chris Day and end up in the Conference. I’d like to think Richard was of the same mindset as Steve Harper who has been happy to be an excellent deputy for Shay Given for many years at his local club.

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