Professional football is a notoriously ruthless business. The game is littered with stories of players cast aside after failing to make the grade, however, once a player reaches the top level, an uncharacteristic amount of faith and patience can come their way.
The recent signing of Kieron Dyer by QPR is a fantastic example of such faith. Dyer made 30 appearances in four injury blighted years at West Ham United and yet he has now been signed by another premiership club. Does Neil Warnock really believe that he can get a full season out of Dyer? Does this move simply show that there is a startling dearth of players available who have experience at the top level? Such a severe shortage that a player of Dyer’s woes is a tempting option.
The signing of Jonathan Woodgate by Stoke raises the same questions. Woodgate appeared 4 times for Spurs in the last 2 seasons. He has been plagued by injuries since 2004, and yet he is still considered a top defender, still worth the gamble. It seems that once you have shown yourself capable of competing at the highest level, managers will display an unending amount of faith and patience in your ability to recover. The hope that you will rediscover the form that once made you a top premiership player does not fade quickly. The possibility of a bargain and a glorious renaissance keeps managers interested far longer than the fans.
Both players have been signed on a pay-as you-play deal, eliminating potentially huge losses such as those suffered by West Ham where Dyer picked up a reported £83,000 a week during his spell. Even so, do these players represent good business? In a sport where careers can be so brutally short, why are these players deserving of such patience?
Would you take a gamble on this man?