Sunday, July 01, 2007

Adieu Kev

"Exit signs. They're on the way out." (Tim Vine)

Eight players were released by the club yesterday upon the expiry of their contracts. Three were 'telegraphed' many weeks ago (Hasselbaink, Myhre, El Karkouri), four were young players unable to make the grade (Ashton, John, Gislason, Weston). One meanwhile was the club's longest-serving player (by a considerable margin) having made his debut during the 1996/97 season, yet whose departure will be greeted with an indifferent shrug, tinged with sadness perhaps that his potential was never remotely fulfilled.

Those Charlton fans who were also there, will have shared the excitement that I had during the opening home game of our 1997/98 promotion season. Lisbie, having been brought on as a late substitute, delivered the final killer blow to Oxford United smashing home our third goal with the type of flourish not usually associated with 18-year olds, unless their surname is Owen or Rooney.

Having recently sold Lee Bowyer to Leeds for a then record fee for a teenager, we were wondering if the club had unearthed another gem. If only we knew then what we know now, ie. the heartbreak and years of frustration he would cause us, and thus the blessed relief that his departure would bring, only because we need no longer say, "...will this be his season?"

I don't really subscribe to the school of thought that Lisbie wasn't giving 100% on the pitch. I think he just suffered from a general and less observable lack of hunger and desire, which manifested itself in him only 'doing enough' to ensure a new contract (until now), but never any more. When you have the natural talent that Lisbie has, this is not especially difficult. He was giving 100%, but only within the context of his broad definition of the term.

In this way he could fool Curbs (and presumably his coaching staff, the Board and indirectly the fans) that his Charlton career was about to take off. With Lisbie released during Wimbledon fortnight, it's notable that he shares the same trait that most British tennis players have been guilty of for decades, despite having outstanding resources available to them. Eventually one simply has to conclude that he didn't want it enough.

To have managed to earn a first-team salary for eleven seasons (eight of them in the Premiership), whilst only ever starting 68 matches is an incredible statistic (not including five separate loan spells), and from Lisbie's perspective probably an unqualified success. I recall scanning the Premiership squads of our rivals last season, and I could not identify a single player (other than perhaps reserve goalkeepers) who had anything close to this type of longevity in absentia.


At 6:56 PM, Anonymous monsieur pumpernickel said...

I'm not so sure I agree with you on the lack of effort theory. True, that was indeed sometimes the case but what frustrated me time and time again with Lisbie, was when it counted most he made the wrong decisions. He'd shoot when there was a great pass on, he'd make a great run into the box with just the keeper to beat, dither, look up, dither some more and then pass it out to a winger or the likes.

The latest example of this I remember being up at watford when he should have won it for us in the last minute - should have shot, paused, twisted, should have shot, paused some more, eventualy shot, shot saved, but ball returns to him and gets a second bite of the cherry, lashes it wide of goal. I suspect that over the years he must have performed in training and gave all the managers cause to believe in him - but sadly where it counts he just isn't good enough, and never really was.

Great to finally see us clear some of the dross though. My only regret is that the 'biggest' useless, overpriced, overpayed merchant banker at the club is still there under contract. Marcus Bent epitomises everything that went wrong with us, a player that no one else wanted, but for whom we still payed over the odds for, a player that moseys on round the pitch like he's musing what club will hand over his next signing on bonus, whose head dropped every time a goal went against us, didn't track back or close down (1st 10 minutes aside), didn't care etc et.

Anyway, onwards and upwards NYA, onwards and upwards.

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous sillav nitram said...

i agree with mon.pump. but i would also question lisbie's ambition and drive? why remain with a club so long, and only be able to command a place on the bench and sometimes not even that. surely any player worth their salt would have realised that they weren't gonna make it with said club and tried their luck elsewhere or was the lure of the paypacket to much to give up?

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear NYA,
as usual a very good post and very close to the mark. I am as usual completely out of step with most Charlton fans in that I thought Lisbie a worthwhile player when fit. The angry middle aged beerbellies who berated him from the stands didn't like the fact that he saved his energy and didn't chase lost causes when the opposition had the ball. They prefer muscle to skill. I think there was ample evidence of him winning free kicks when the ball was cleared to him under pressure-but yes there were the horrible misses-that Watford match when he had come on as a sub(and hadn't played for weeks if I remember correctly).
Mon Pump says he lacked ambition-maybe if you don't like him- but I do so would say he was loyal to the club that brought him through the ranks.Bottom line is much the same tho as NYA says -unforfilled talent.
Good luck Kevin
David Whyte-Whyte-Whyte

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Blackheath Addicted said...

Alan Hansen on Match of the Day late last season summed up Kevin Lisbie for me. I forget the game (it was late on) but he talked through a clip of Darren Bent getting the ball out wide and showing how there was only one place he could put it. And then he highlighted the only player in the opposition box - Kevin Lisbie, standing still, watching. I don't know whether it was lack of desire, lack of a goalscorer's instinct, or lack of grey matter. But it was definitely a lack of something.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Toronto Addick said...

I am of the opinion that Lesbie thought too much of himself and relied to heavily on the talents of other! I am actually surprised it has taken this long for CAFC to vut him. I personally believe that the only reason he was kept for this long was that he was happy sitting on the bench (not the kind of player we should have). In many ways, Marcus Bent reminds me of Lesbie. I can pretty much see Marcus kicking up a fuss in the new season when he's asked to put some effort in!


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