Steffen Freund, Michael Brown, Wilson Palacios, Scott Parker, Sandro, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue. It’s a line of succession, a line of industrious, take-no-prisoners, break ’em down and get the ball moving again players that every team needs, some are just better at it than others. And that’s the pattern in our case; it’s not much a succession as an upgrade.
After being first choice for much of his two seasons with us Scott Parker has seen the writing on the wall and moved to Fulham where he’ll form a partnership with Steve Sidwell that’ll make sure opposition players seek out the latest shin pad technology before they head to games at Craven Cottage. I liked Parker, I like a trier, and wish him all the best. He’s signed a three-year contract apparently so he’s done well. BMJ obviously still thinks there’s plenty of life in the 32 year old. He’ll galvanise his teammates (Berbatov apart) to greater efforts I’m sure and will make a great coach there if that’s where he eventually hangs up his boots.
I first saw Parker play as a youngster for Norwich whilst on loan from Charlton and you could tell there was a real player there. Then, he was a passer and mover; it’s only in later years that he became a battler first and foremost. He never scored for us. Perhaps the closest he came was in the home leg against Basle last year when his effort to force the ball into an empty and gaping net was deflected wide by a prostrate Holtby and ended up with him being lampooned rather than proclaimed. His lack of goals was a surprise given that he seemed to hit net-busters week after week during his almost single-handed efforts to keep West Ham afloat, efforts unappreciated by the Hamster faithful of course.
So, as I say, we’ve upgraded, and it’s all for the best. Undoubtedly the new boys will bring more in terms of athleticism, skill and guile; if they mange to equal Parker for graft and desire they’ll be formidable players indeed.
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