Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Disappointment And Anguish

Lucas Neill was disappointed by the reception he was given by Blackburn Rovers fans on his return to Ewood Park according to a piece in The Times. He is quoted as saying: "It was strange going back to Blackburn. I spent five and a half years at the club and I thought the reception I got was quite disgusting, to be honest. For a player who committed himself for all of that time, never complained, never missed training, never missed games and gave everything I had, I was really shocked and quite disappointed. I still have a fantastic relationship with all the players, staff and management at Blackburn and they will be friends of mine for a long time, it's just unfortunate that the fans don't see it that way." It is a fair enough comment but perhaps Lucas should look on the bright side. At least he is not a Pakistani cricketer or Frank Lampard.

Elsewhere, Danny Gabbidon has revealed his anguish at seeing West Ham plunge towards relegation. Speaking in the Daily Mail, the Welshman reflects: "For us it has been a terrible season. This time last year we were in the FA Cup semi-finals, and now we are down at the bottom of the league. We finished ninth, qualified for Europe and almost won the FA Cup. Now we are bottom and sometimes you don't know where the next win is coming from. It has been a massive change, and hard to put your finger on why. There have been a number of things that have contributed to where we are. There's not one thing to blame. We didn't start the season well and everything has gone down from there."

Searching for answers, Gabbidon continues: "We have all got to look at ourselves and say 'have we performed like last season?' And the answer is no. Maybe there was complacency, maybe believing in the hype. We had such a great season last term and then when you come back after the summer you expect everything to be the same. If anything you must work twice as hard because the second season is a lot harder when you have been promoted. Maybe our achievements were too high, we thought we could do it again. We should have been looking at making sure we survived rather than thinking we could win all the time. The hunger of last season has not been as evident."

In a clear indication of the defender's future plans should we get relegated, Gabbidon concludes: "The thought of the Championship is not a good one. In the top flight you play against great teams and players every week and that is where you want to stay to play your football. I'm at the stage of my career when I want to keep progressing. I'm 27, I'm not at an age where I want to drop down a level. I want to be in the Premiership, that's where the best players are. And being in the top division will help me at international level. Anyone in the team would say we want to stay in the Premiership after what we achieved last season, but there still time to get ourselves out of it. If not, the players I'm sure will be assessing the situation."

There is further news concerning one of our injured internationals with the Mirror claiming Yossi Benayoun has declared himself fit to face England on Saturday. The Israeli had been expected to miss the game with a groin injury but he played a full part in training last night and is reported to have said: "The injury is behind me now and there is no reason why I should not be 100 per cent fit. We know England are favourites but we are desperate to win."

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