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End of Term Report Part 5 24/06/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Right then.  Getting into the high teens… could be a bit trickier from here on in.  Still, I managed a paragraph on Stuart Searle, how hard can the rest be?

18. Theo Robinson

Yet another one who prompts a puzzled look.  Back in August, back in the pub before Crystal Palace when everyone predicted a far gloomier (not to mention less turbulent) outcome, we didn’t appear heavy on striking options.  Theo Robinson came off the bench, did OK, and we expected to see more of him.  He’s been one to watch for a while, the unexpected introduction at Loftus Road, aged 17, gave him that label and even his loan at Hereford, where lukewarm reports suggested that he struggled when the ball and goal weren’t in front of him, did little to dissuade that.  As it is, we’re once again looking nervously forward at a difficult season, wondering where the goals might come from, but this time we know that Theo won’t be part of it.  Critics might suggest that he hasn’t had a chance, which is true… but that successive managers haven’t given him a chance says something.  It may be that like Steve Brooker or Wayne Andrews he’ll drop down a level or two and grow back to this division with experience.  It seems he was never going to get that experience with us.

Next Season: Swindon, it would appear, not inappropriately.  We had higher hopes of McNamee and Jerel Ifil, too.

19. Lionel Ainsworth

Deary me.  There was a time when Ainsworth looked like a good catch, an exciting signing.  It didn’t last terribly long.  As we splashed out half a million quid I read a Derby messageboard where the sort of outraged idiot you find on every messageboard exclaimed “Watford just signed Ainsworth for half a million!  typical!  another one we’ve let go too early! “.  Somewhat premature, as judgments go… that Derby had let him go for free just three months before we signed him from Hereford should have said something.   

Next Season:  Ainsworth was arrested and charged with affray in March;  Huddersfield have just splashed out on Robbie Simpson from Coventry… another right-winger.  Ainsworth’s career has some recovering to do.

20. Al Bangura

It’s fair to say that Al’s career isn’t hitting the heights that his first full season suggested.  It’s easy to forget just how significant he was in the promotion campaign… not just a charismatic youngster with a bit of promise, he was reliably and frequently employed to slam the door behind away victories before the victims had realised that their pockets had been picked.  In the memorable semi-final win at Selhurst Park it was Bangura’s half-time introduction for Big Doris that swung the balance and ultimately the tie.  Since then… what little action he’s had has emphasised his limitations rather than his ability. 

Next Season: If there’s scope for a rehabilitation then you’d expect an erstwhile teammate to encourage it.  I hope it happens… there’s a real asset there to be rediscovered.

21. Tommy Smith

There’s not a lot to say here that you don’t already know.  Player of the Season for the second year running, scoring at a previously unsuggested rate and our most reliable creator to boot.  It’s no surprise that other clubs want him.  What surprises me are the occasional arguments that Smith’s age should somehow put him top of a list of assets to be realised, should such be the necessity.  The reality is that whilst we’ve enjoyed similarly talented players in the recent past, it’s difficult to think of many whose obvious affiliation to the club and the area mean that we can probably depend on him not to swan off in search of the best offer going as a matter of course when his contract expires.  That’s a big plus. 

Next Season:  Yer man down the road at Reading would appear to have prioritised Smudger as a target.  One can only hope that he’s disappointed.

22. Will Hoskins

There’s a lot to be said for Will Hoskins.   Industrious, persistent, clever.  And yet… he’s still not quite convinced.  And it’s been a few years now, note… two-and-a-half, I make it, and it’s not as if he was a completely untried youngster when he came here.  Lee Williamson, signed at the same time, took time to establish himself too but finally did so, even if Brendan Rodgers decided that he could do better.  If Hoskins hangs around, this has got to be make-or-break at Vicarage Road.

Next Season:  With Rasiak gone and scope for others to leave, one might expect Hoskins to be in the front line of those to take advantage.  However he was the higher profile Rotherham recruit at the time of his signing, and one might imagine that if Lee Williamson’s wages ultimately proved prohibitive then a manager who dropped Hoskins from his starting line-up during his earlier caretaker spell might be looking to move him on.  You’d need a buyer first, mind.


1. Jeremy Clarke - 25/06/2009

jc here

have to agree about bang bang

ive always thought he is the next jewel in the crown..surprised so many over took him, perhaps he is in need of malckys father figure for encouragement..lets hope so

and Ab’s charachter assessment of his buys was shocking IMO

2. Sequel - 25/06/2009

Matt, I agree that this will be Hoskins’ last season unless he starts to deliver. However, Smudgers’ leaving could be the making of him if they moved him out to wide right, because Hoskins is of similar build, but for me, lacks the strength to play through the middle.

3. NRC - 25/06/2009

Hoskins seemed to do well in the short run he did have last season, in many ways he has been unlucky in his career with us, never really been allowed to get settled and going. It would be interesting to see what he could do – after all Tamas seems to have shown that you can go from zero (for some) to hero (for some) with a run, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Hoskins could too. Could be interesting – agree time is running out though, on both sides of the contract.

4. Tim Turner - 25/06/2009

I find the whole Theo Robinson saga very disappointing. The Wayne Andrews comparison had occurred to me too. He ended up playing in the Premiership, and I do wonder if Theo might do the same one day. He’s certainly young enough to improve.

5. markymark - 25/06/2009

Tim: Andrews only played a few prem games for his mate Dowie who took him from Chesham to Oldham, then again to Palace from Oldham. He clearly never was premiership standard as proved by the list of clubs he’s played for !

6. Simon - 25/06/2009

The difficulty we’ll always have with the youngsters is that some will leave, get first team football elsewhere and blossom. Lots of others, though, leave, get first team football and stay roughly where they are (usually Swindon).

Robinson seemed to have a bit about him from what I saw but we only get to see cameo appearances from him and the management team get to see him every day in training and will no doubt have been watching carefully while he was on loan.

We don’t have the money to be able to carry a huge squad and difficult decisions on some of the youngsters have to be made.

7. Mike - 29/06/2009

Theo Robinson. I was ath the QPR game when he came on as sub, and in my minds eye, he hit the crossbar. Is this true?

My only clear memory from the day is the delight in seeing that ball bounce of Fosters crossbar, us going straight down the other end and Ashley Young smashing a free kick in to their net. Hilarious and joyous in equal measure.

8. Matt Rowson - 29/06/2009

Mike… ig’s report suggests that he volleyed wide, I don’t remember him hitting the bar..


Yes, the Young goal was a thing of wonder, as was our winner…

9. Dave Hart - 29/06/2009

Having pretty much spent the last two years out on loan, I still don’t think that Theo has development as well as she should. You can see why Stoke released him from their academy.

I remember saying some time ago that Tiggy was the better player, and that we would regret letting him go. He has now moved to Peterborough.At the Hereford game we went to see, their hardcore fans also thought that Tiggy was the better player. In fact they were calling him the Claude Makele of league two.

I think that getting a reasonable fee for Theo, and hopefully a sell on clause is a decent deal. His game needs far too much work to be sitting in our reserves for another year or two. Unless his game improves dramatically, I can’t see him being more than a half decent league one player, or a flash in the pan Championship one.

Dave Hart - 29/06/2009

Theo deserves the chance to prove me wrong, though.

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