Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chris Iwelu-go

If you'd asked most Charlton fans which two players would be first to be sold this summer for a fee, I suspect few would have guessed Paddy McCarthy and now Chris Iwelumo.

I've never fully understood the concept of an 'undisclosed fee', as is the case here. Call me cynical, but I've always assumed it means one of the two clubs involved is a little 'embarrassed' about the size of the fee (large or small). If I'm correct, then on this occasion I'm confident it needn't be Charlton given he cost us nothing just a year ago.

Iwelumo represents no great loss given his obvious limitations, thusthe transaction is easy to rationalise from Charlton's perspective, especially given the glut of strikers at the club, and the return to fitness of Todorov. As has been well-documented, he did however participate in every Championship game last season, though this should not necessarily be seen as a compliment.

During the first-half of the season, his three late winning goals versus Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and Bristol City earned six valuable points, without which we might have finished the season looking nervously over our shoulders.

Then again in the interests of balance, he only scored one goal (at Bramall Lane) between Xmas and the season's end, so was at least partly responsible for that concurrent sharp reversal in the team's form.

One wonders how much it was his own rapid deterioration in form that swayed the club to accept an offer, rather than Pardew's claim that he wanted to "..go in a different direction this year.." (ie. not straight up in the air presumably). Although target men can be excused their lack of goals if their build-up play makes up for it, Andy Gray offers considerably more potentially in both regards.

There was a tendency for the full-backs (especially Greg Halford) to look upfield, see the not insignificant sight of Iwelumo, and aim a long hopeful ball in his general direction. Hardly entirely his fault of course, but guilty perhaps by association. Nonetheless, 'Big Chris' was a true 100% player and departs with the good wishes of all true Charlton fans.

The transfer saga of a far less popular player meanwhile continues apace. The BBC Sport website reported tonight that Marcus Bent had, in a manner befitting of such a honourable gentleman, failed to turn up at Cardiff to discuss personal terms after the clubs had agreed a fee (no doubt to be undisclosed). Instead, Bent has seemingly concluded the nightclubbing scope in Birmingham is superior (potentially incorrectly in my view , but anyhow).

If the rumours about his reported £25,000 per week wages at Charlton are true (which they may not be), on a contract that still has a year left to run, then both of these potential deals seem a little odd.

Unless Bent is taking a long-term view of the prospects for the final acts of his declining 'career', then it would appear he is either taking a savage wage cut (in return presumably for security beyond one year), or else the potential acquirers are matching his wages (in which case they are clearly crazy).

The conspiracy theorist would suggest that perhaps Charlton have entered into some sort of wage-sharing agreement for the first year, but of course I wouldn't dare allege this.

Everything about his signing from Everton in January 2006, has been a disaster. Lest we let Curbs off the hook, it was his last cash signing for the club, a final homage to the cult of 'flexibility' (apparently he could also play on the wing).

As a result, we saw fit to pay £2.5million for a player who had only cost the Toffees £450,000 seven goals earlier. For those without a calculator at hand, we implicitly valued those goals at £300,000 each. One can only assume they were good ones.

After a headed goal on his debut at Stamford Bridge (what 'gem' had Curbs uncovered we wondered?), he scored three weeks later in the defeat at Man City, scored a consolation cracker at Wigan in Dowie's final game, before opening our season's scoring in 2007/08. And erm...that's it. Those goals he scored for Everton are starting to look like decent value.

You could usually rely on Curbs' signings to be 'good eggs', if not always great players, but he missed a trick with Marcus. Maybe it should have been those eight previous clubs that rang alarm bells, whilst one can probably assume his nocturnal exploits didn't begin when he first met Jerome Thomas.

Putting wages aside, the fact that few Charlton fans could still not have made much of a case for retaining him in the Championship, says it all really. The assorted wannabe WAGS and slappers of Birmingham are more than welcome to him in my view.


At 4:20 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

I can see Chris Iwelumo being very successful in a Wolves shirt- just one of those of 'gut' things - but I will say I have always appreciated his effort and commitment to the cause.

As for the other pratt you mention - he disgusts me.

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous John Hannan said...

I am extremely thankful to see the back of Iwelumo. As a footballer he is devoid of any ability at all. He cannot jump, has no touch. It does not say alot about Mick McCarthy. he paid us money for him!!!!

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous johnny73 said...

I would say that Iwelumo had limited ability but gave everything and wanted to improve.

Bent on the other hand is one of those players who has the ability (certainly at championship level) but lacked the will to apply himself consistently. He's one of those players who managers think they can motivate to fulfill their potential. Unfortunately he has been spoilt by all those signing on fees.

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a big connection between Big Chris going from a trier who scored goals to a trier who got no goals. It happened because we sold the only player we had who could trap a ball and look up before he passed it. Once he left we were left with a midfield that just pumped it up to Big Chris and the rest of the season was so predictable. I cannot see why people are saying andy gray offers better options, his best game at The Valley was when he played for Burnley.What else did he do when the pressure was on to deliver? The case is unproven against Todorov but it still depends on the qulaity of the midfield which has not changed. Racon may prove to be the man perhaps but even in friendlies he appears a bit part player.In which case who is going to be our play maker?

Thanks to Big Chris because unlike a lot of players who are still on the payroll he gave a 100%.


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