Wednesday 1 June 2011

Situation vacant

Wanted - one 19-goal striker. Please apply to Mr M Yates, Manager, Cheltenham Town FC, Whaddon Road.
Yes, the inevitable has happened, and Wes Thomas has decided to move on.
Any Cheltenham fan who was clutching at the straw that he would stay on was pretty deluded - from  January onwards it was obvious he was gone.
But there is a tinge of disappointment to see him join Crawley, who will be next season's Stevenage in League Two - the hate figures with the money, and the ever-so-slightly-dodgy manager.
I thought he would go to League One, but at least he has joined a team with the right initials, and they play in red...
However, this is the team that signed Richard Brodie from York for £250,000 and reputedly paid him £2.5k a week, so their financial muscle, helped even more by the Cup run last season, means they effectively going to be a League Two side on a League One budget.
The pressure will be on the lovely Mr Evans to take them straight through, with Wes joining another new boy John Akinde and the prolific Matt Tubbs in their attack, charged with firing in the goals to make it happen.
All pretty mouth-watering for the people of Sussex and I am sure Wes has got a decent contract to keep the new little Thomas in booties - even if the trip round the M25 from Enfield will probably take him as long as it would have done to drive to Cheltenham.
But he has gone, and so we move on and say thanks for the goals Wes.
He came to us as an unknown - three goals for Dagenham in 27 starts/sub appearances were the sum total of his Football League career.
So it was a pleasant surprise when he scored at Gillingham in the opening day - and carried on scoring.
He had six goals in the first six league games and we thought we had a gem on our hands.
Then he got injured, and came back just before Christmas, but the goals dried up slightly as the team's form suffered and his partner in crime Jeff Goulding fell victim to injury.
There is a little myth that he stopped scoring from January - but actually nine of the 18 league goals came after Christmas - his last strike for us being the scant consolation at Crewe in the 8-1 thrashing.
But he should have beaten Julian Alsop's record for goals in a League season - or at least broken the 20 barrier, and he would have but for missing the only two penalties we won all season, at Rotherham and Oxford.
There will be some numpties who will boo him next season - every club has them and unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do to stop them, but I have always found that counter-productive.
Boo a player and his chest swells out by that extra 10 per cent and he is more likely to score against us.
Some will moan about a lack of loyalty - but it works both ways as I am sure Burton fans are equally sick that Russ Penn has decided to come to us rather than sign on again for them.
Now we pin our hopes on Mr Yates - he found us Wes, and has dug up players like Matthew Barnes-Homer and Justin Richards before, so lets hope he can find us another nugget out there somewhere...

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