Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Friday May 28 2010
When the released and retained list was announced earlier in the week, two players were left in limbo: Ben Burgess and Rob Edwards.
Neither player had their one year option taken up, yet neither was properly released; Ollie says that he wants to sit down and talk with them both about signing new contracts.
That suggests to me that both would be fringe players at best next season, and that Ollie didn't want to waste a chunk of his wage budget on two players that would rarely feature.
Well, despite being listed on the PFA website as being available on a free transfer, Ben Burgess has come out and said that he hopes to still be at Bloomfield Road next season.
Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, the striker said:
'I had a chat with the gaffer on Tuesday. He explained things and said we would meet again.
'I am definitely keen to speak about it in the next couple of weeks. Of course I want to stay at Blackpool because I've been here since the promotion season from League One and the club means a lot to me. Hopefully we can sort something out.'
Now Ollie's reasoning behind wanting to keep both Burgess and Edwards is that they're big players in the dressing room and he doesn't want to ruin the team spirit that has helped the Seasiders get to where they are today.
However, whilst I have no qualms about Edwards remaining at the club as fourth choice centre back (although I'd have released him and allowed him to get first team football elsewhere), I will be seriously worried if we retain the services of Burgess.
Yes, our team spirit has been critical. However, Ollie needs to be ruthless: we cannot afford to be carrying passengers (as some might say we already are in the shapes of Jason Euell and Danny Coid).
In the past we have released the likes of Marc Joseph and Claus Jorgensen because the team needed to move on, despite both players being large figures in the dressing room.
There is no doubt that Ben is a really nice guy and a key part of our team spirit, but let's face it: he ain't even good enough for the Championship.
Having been bullied by Championship centre halves season after season, the likes of Nemanja Vidic and John Terry would have a field day with Ben.
I know some people defend him to the hilt (to the extent that they're almost martyrs for his cause), but let's look at the facts: he doesn't help hold the ball up front any better than say DJ Campbell (in fact, he's worse at it), despite what some say, the side does not perform better or win more often with Ben in side, and nor does the fact that Ollie picks him mean that he is good - I didn't see people saying 'McMahon knows what he's doing' when he consistently picked Kirk Hilton and John O'Kane, him finding a fellow team mate with a flick on is rare, he lets centre halves bully him, he doesn't help create goals, he rarely scores goals (he has eight goals in his past fifty five appearances... imagine if DJ had a similar record - people would be furious!), and he's just too cumbersome for the fast-paced Premier League (he's got his dodgy knees to thank for that).
Now I thought he did ok when he came on at Wembley, but that chance that he missed at the end summed him up perfectly. Can you imagine if that was a game in the Premier League and that was a chance to rescue a point or record a key win and he missed it? Blood would boil.
Football can be a cruel business, but our crest does say 'Progress', and to do just that, it's time to thank Ben for the odd moments of magic and to thank him for being such an important component of our team spirit, but to also let him go.
Date:Friday May 28 2010
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