Football FanCast guest
columnist Dan Johnson wonders
if Lucas Neill ever rues the decision to turn down Liverpool.
As Everton welcomed one of
the great mercenaries of English football to their club last week, it got me
thinking as to whether a small part of Lucas Neill is ruing the round-about way
he took to find himself on Merseyside.
It was well
documented that Lucas Neill turned his back on Liverpool, in favour of a more
lucrative offer at West Ham, despite claiming that he was joining a club that
had high ambition, as a way of hiding his obvious pound note chase.
wasn't fooling anyone and the Press and rival fans made it known, after all
here was a player who turned down the opportunity of Champions League football,
challenging for titles, for a relegation scrap at Upton Park, but he was
getting paid £80k a week for that privilege though.
makes me sick to see this and Neill represents everything that is wrong in
modern football. There was a time where players understood the privilege of
representing a certain football club and who's only aim in football was to win
honours. That sort of player unfortunately is a dying breed more and more and
as we have witnessed this summer with Man City, the club that pays the top
wages secures the deals.
Neill however is
different case here, as he was a player that was no longer in demand and clubs,
acutely aware of his reputation, decided to give him a wide berth. West Ham
were keen to keep him, although they wouldn't match the wages he was on before
and a plethora of foreign moves fell through for much the same reason, until
Everton, out of clear desperation (having lost Neville) decided to sign him up
on a one year deal. You would have thought that the very fact he was on Bosman
free and no top clubs coming in that he may have to lower his demands, yet he
didn't and he is incredibly fortunate that Everton took him on, if only on a
one year basis. Perhaps that was Lucas' decision, in the hope that one of the
bigger clubs would come in.
The guy needs to
wake up and realise the day he turned down Liverpool was his last chance at the
big time. Ironically us and Arsenal are two teams in particular who have been
crying out for defensive reinforcement and yet they were not prepared to touch
him, despite, certainly in our case, being a cheap option to be had given out
lack of transfer funds. It appears you don't get a second bite of the cherry
with Benitez and why Neill could have been entering his third season as
arguably an established Liverpool player, he has struggled to find a club this
summer and although Everton have bailed him out for a season, you do fear that
it will be much the same next year. I suppose when his eventual grandchildren
ask him what he achieved in the game and all the great clubs he has played for,
he will simply get out his bank statements as his record of achievement in
football. Neill missed a big opportunity at Liverpool and I wonder in time
whether he'll look back and rue that decision.