We Need Peter Clarke?!
Following persistant rumours linking former 'Pool favourite Peter Clarke; it begs the question - do we need him?
The Southend United central defender made eighty-four league appearances for Blackpool during his two years at Bloomfield Road, scoring eleven goals.
Despite winning all player of the year awards, and persuading best friend Rhys Evans to the seaside, the skipper decided to leave 'Pool last August, on the eve of a promotion winning campaign for The Seasiders, instead decided that a relegation scrap with Southend was the better career move. Career move indeed!
The fee was reported to be around £300K for the sought after defender, which was a tidy sum in my opinion - although half was paid to Everton as a sell on clause - which quickly changed my mind! £150K for a player who saved us from relegation seemed like a raw deal at the time.
However, it was soon clear that The Seasiders had better defenders on the books, with loanee Ian Evatt (whom wouldn't be at Bloomers if Clarkey hadn't deserted us!) possessing better defensive qualities and Michael Jackson superior organisational merits than Peter. With Shaun Barker at right back - originally signed as a centre defender - we then suddenly had three players helping the team more than Clarke did individually.
On last years evidence, we can do so much better than the Southend defender at present. Clarke started 34 league games last season, so therefore played a big part in Southend's relegation. His defensive frailties were highlighted regulary with himself giving goals away quite literally. Pairing him with Efe Sodje was a match made in hell right from the start by Steve Tilson.
Clarke was used as a holding midfielder for sometime last season at United, and his spacial awarness from what I saw was zero.
The distribution is also a problem for me. 'Hoofs' may get you by in League One, but it just won't do in The Championship. Continous long balls didn't work when he was spearheading the 'Hendry's Hoofmerchants' so why now?
I'd like to see us sign a proven player at this level (Hendry mode is firmly on now!) who has experience and guile at the heart of a defence. Even Dion Dublin - the old, wiery, converted defender - is a beter option than Clarkey; at least he has experience! We cannot go into next season hoping that certain players will do well.
I feel that Kaspars Gorkss will have a big role to play next season, but we definitely need a new defender who will start the season alongside Ian Evatt - who will be looking to prove himself after a dodgy time of it at QPR.