Anyone undecided about the future of Aiden McGeady would do well to listen to The Clash. The chorus on ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ seems pretty much spot-on with this one.
Sometimes you have to cash in on your best asset, even if it’s easier to get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. I’m not advocating sticking him on eBay, or leaving him outside the stadium for a charity collection, but time’s up. He’s the once-canny clobber that doesn’t fit anymore. Let someone else try to get the best out of it, we’ve had our wear.
To be honest, I’m amazed he’s still here. I thought he’d be away when Simon Grayson left, but was impressed by his loyalty to the club. I was pleasantly surprised he decided to hang around last summer, and stunned he did the same a year on. A decent long-term deal may have helped make his mind up, I guess, him being 33 now.
Quality makes a difference at any level. There’s plenty of it in the Premier League, where games are often decided by a moment of brilliance, and lower down the leagues the more noticeable it is. A player with top flight experience may not always stand out in an increasingly competitive and physical Championship but they shine brightly on the rare occasions they rock up in League One. Those with quality but lacking that experience, such as Marcus Maddison and Josh Maja (sniff, sob), show they can cut it at a higher level.
McGeady’s unquestionably got such quality but his performances this season haven’t caught the eye, not that he’s alone in that respect, of course. The mazy runs, silky touches and creativity have become less noticeable and even though he’s weighed in with six goals his body language has done little to disprove suggestions of an unhappy player in an unhappy dressing room. Our set-pieces have improved under Phil Parkinson, yet McGeady - once our ‘go to’ in this department - has played little part.
It’s the manager’s job to act decisively when team spirit is suffering and Parkinson has done just that. ‘Fair play to him’ aren’t words he'll have heard much over the last couple of months but credit where it’s due. Saying ‘if you’re not with me, you’re out’ should be respected, for the good of the club.
There’s plenty of other stuff to moan about, though. Twice against Blackpool Tom Flanagan tried to show a bit of spark, brought the ball forward 25 yards, before assessing the options, seeing none, and passing it back 20. He got stick from the East Stand, stared back, swished an arm and cussed. That’s where we are at the moment. Glorious, eh?
But among all the discontent I haven’t heard too much noise surrounding McGeady’s impending exit. His displays recently have just not been good enough and suggest an acceptance that time is up.
Thankfully, being our biggest asset under a long-term deal, he should hopefully provide us with some welcome cash. However, I’m worried what we do with it.
I’d love to think the resources raised enable us to bring in the quality which can spark an upturn, However, I fear a repeat of the scattergun approach Paolo Di Canio adopted in the summer of 2013. Enthusiasm levels were raised as we were linked with an array of players we knew chuff all about, reached fever pitch when we got the deals over the line, then plummeted when we saw them in action. And this was at a time when the club wasn’t big on ‘spin’. Charlie may have gone but don’t tell me the club wouldn’t like to take advantage of the transfer market and link us with a bit of quality in a bid to lift the mood and convince us we’re still a catch.
Whether the shopping’s done at John Lewis or eBay, it’s to be hoped we get it right and are soon opening a few long overdue cans of whoop-ass. At least the demise of Bury means we won’t go into Christmas on the back of a defeat but there’s a fair chance we’ll go into it in the bottom half. Unthinkable a few months ago. Unacceptable at any time.