Friday, 11 May 2012

All change

Preparations for life as a Championship club began yesterday with the unenvious task of laying off five of the weakest links. Predictably, veterans and money-earners Jason Euell and Gary Doherty have been told their services won't be required at the next level. Mikel Alonso, this season's invisible man and figure-of-fun has also been shown the door. Youth products Freddie Warren and Toasn Popo will also be looking elsewhere after failing to make the grade.

Euell has had a sparkling career in the Top Flight and will probably quit playing with a host of special memories, although he was always going to find his return something of an anti-climax. I will always remember him for his committed performances and 34 goals during our Premier League spell between 2001 and 2005.

Gary Doherty is still only 32 but he joined us Norwich's Player-of-the-Year after they went up to the Championship and he gave his all in the 10-11 season although he never found a settled partner in central defence. He will be remembered for a handful of costly mistakes but I believe that will be an unfair view of his capabilities as a player. He played alongside 37 year old Christian Dailly in a side that played from the back and which had a very thin midfield cover. They saw far too much of the ball and it was unsurprising that we saw more mistakes than we might have expected during that disappointing season. "Doc" has impressed at Wycombe this season on loan and I am sure he still has more miles on the clock. I wish him well.

Mikel Alonso was a relatively exciting signing in pre-season. He brought experience from the Spanish league although he had played seven times previously for Bolton Wanderers. His appearances record should have given cause for concern, having managed less than 200 in 11 years. He appeared to arrive injured and only managed one appearance all season against Brentford in a League Cup game at the Valley where he distinguished himself with a truly awful showing. I will be kind and say he wasn't fully fit but he was instrumental in the 3-0 defeat, looked glacially slow and unable to pass. I am guessing he will be on a one-way Easyjet flight to Spain in the next few days.

Freddie and Tosan are simply promising youngsters who aren't going to break into the first team anytime soon and who have been given the extra year as pros to see if they could make the grade. They join Conor Gough who has moved to Bristol City. As always, we wish them the best but hope they don't become ones that got away...

I am guessing we may lose one or two more of the existing squad who may take be enticed for away for money and better immediate opportunities but that should be it. That should give us room to promote a few of the youngsters and bring in stronger first-team squad replacements that we will need to prosper in the Championship. 


Anonymous said...

Alonso made his first appearance for Charlton at Carshalton in a pre-season friendly. He was, by a country mile, the standout player on the pitch until an extremely ugly and high two footed tackle took him out of the game early in the second half. I don't think he really recovered from that day and that injury. End of!

Anonymous said...

I would be very surprised if Hayes remains with us.
I hope we do not attempt to sign Darel Russell. He spent most of his time with us suspended!
I wouldn't particularly want Cook either.
I did think N'Guessan would be signed, but now i wonder if Millwall would prefer to have him with them rather than against them.
I feel we need cover for right back. Hughes seems capable of that role though i'm not sure CP sees him that way.
Most importantly a dynamic and creative mid-fielder in the mould of Graham Stuart/Mark Kinsella is required. Not easy to find such gems!

Dave said...

Anon - I should have added that I am not banking on any of the loanees remaining. Personally, N'Guessan and/or Russell might be worth a punt as they know the Championship but I am hoping we are aiming higher....