Tuesday saw rumours hitting overdrive after stories began to emerge suggesting that Newcastle United were looking to make a bid for Brentford supporters’ and players’ player of the year, Alan Judge. If the timing is a surprise, the player only having the screws removed from his leg (following that horrendous break inflicted by Luke Hyam of Ipswich Town in April) little over a week ago, the story was an inevitable one.
I was amazed he didn’t leave Brentford at Christmas and, but for that injury, would surely have departed in the current window following Euro 2016. He still might if this Newcastle story rings true.
At the time of his injury, Alan was the leading goal scorer for Brentford (14) and had provided the highest number of assists for any Championship club with 11. Indeed, he was joint 7th overall goal scorer in the league at that juncture whilst finishing joint top, with Lasse Vibe, for the Bees as the season reached it’s denouement.
This would represent a major gamble for Newcastle United if they were to move now. There’s no way Judge can even be close to be being match ready, beyond a quick game of FIFA 16. And then, just which player will emerge from the other side of that injury? A shadow of his former self, the same man we knew before or one with even more determination to play at the highest levels and make up for the opportunity which was stolen from him over the summer?
The parachute payments will help any investment decision but it still would represent a significant outlay at this time. I have no doubt Alan will go – only the most naive can’t realise that until we have our new home, the current club ‘model’ will be one based around selling on and selling high. Even then, who knows what other expenses will need to be covered off down the line?
Alan has already been with us for three seasons during which time he has racked up 24 goals from 102 games (technically four seasons if you count 2016/17). He scored the penalty that took us up to the Championship in that famous game against Preston North End and has earned international recognition whilst on the books at Griffin Park.
For me, it isn’t a question of if he goes but when. That’s not that I want to see Alan leave but I’m not a (complete) idiot. We’ve had fantastic service from him whilst, given the club’s FFP related sales and desire to avoid players leaving on a free, this one seems inevitable.
Quality players attract money and whilst Newcastle may not be the force they once were (this, their second Championship campaign in recent times following previous relegation in 2008/09), you’d be a fool not to recognise their history or their spending potential.
Personally, I’d be amazed if anything happened in August. Surely it will be a case of nursing the player back to health and fitness, letting him get some games under his belt and then going from there. Come January, we could well be saying farewell.
Unless, of course, Newcastle are prepared to take the risk to secure a potential target before their promotion rivals. Ultimately, I’m just the numpty on the terrace rather than anybody ‘in the know’ but it will be very interesting to see how the Judge saga plays out.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Last Word without recognising yesterday’s terrible news away from the world of the football. At a time when the unspeakable ways people have come up with to inflict pain on each other continue to shock, Tuesday saw a new low point being reached. Mrs. Brown’s Boys has been voted the best sitcom of the 21st Century by Radio Times readers.
This is terrible, terrible news. Do ‘Radio Times’ employ any form of screening or was it just open to simpletons? She’s a man. A. Man.
Granted, a man wearing a frock and a wig. But still a man. That seems to be the joke. Which I wouldn’t mind (the man dressing as a woman being a staple of British comedy over the years) were it not for the lack of any other comedy in an alleged sitcom.
I can’t even begin to start on why this is so awful. If nothing else, how its perceived popularity is sure to see Brendan O’Carroll’s show commissioned for further series and Christmas specials. The latter, in particular, so often used to shunt the football highlights further into a graveyard slot over the years.
“There is an audience out there that comedy forgot – that Are You Being Served? audience has been left behind” said O’Carroll afterwards.
Different class, O’Carroll. Different class. How he can compare the sharp wit of Grace Brothers and Mrs. Slocombe’s Pussy to a man in a wig is like saying Alan Judge and Nick Proschwitz are both footballers.
All of a sudden, the possible sale of a footballer doesn’t seem quite so bad.