The sun set over White City in London. Loftus Road home of Queens Park Rangers (QPR). A visitor came from up in the Midlands. Odemwingie was his name. A football sharpshooter with a talent for scoring goals, a talent dwarfed by his self confidence. A man who at 31 years old has yet to win any major honour. So you can see why he would want to join QPR, who are currently flying high….. at the bottom of the English Premier League. His current club West Bromwich Albion (WBA) sit 9th.
Odemwingie, is in a 3 way rotation battle at WBA with Chelsea loanee wonderkid Romalu Lukaku and ex-Reading legend Shane Long. Odemwingie is currently not getting as much football as he would like. During the January football transfer window, he asked to be made available for transfer. This request was declined. West Brom want to strengthen not weaken the squad. Understandable.
31st January. Transfer Deadline day. A day on which Sky Sports news presenters earn their corn. Come 11pm all deals must be done after this point no transfers are allowed (aside from Free Agents and emergency loans) A day in which traditionally Harry Redknapp (the current manager of QPR) has done a lot of business. A day where Odemwingie turned up “unannounced” at Loftus Road.. West Brom having not given their permission for QPR to speak to him.
He gave interviews to Sky Reporters, along the lines of “I’m pleased to be joining QPR” “Football Challenge…” blah but without the club that pays his wages agreeing, no move could take place. Odemwingie turned his car around and headed back to Midlands.
Now I am torn. At first when I heard this I was disgusted with the complete lack of respect the player had/has for his club, which he will apparently “always love” the move is clearly motivated by money. The carrot has to be pretty big if you are joining a team who could be relegated. I have since slept on it and thought some more. My disgust mellowed somewhat.
Maybe Odemwingie, I thought, really hates the day to day work at WBA. We have all been in jobs we hate. Maybe he loves the Saturday afternoons, scoring goals, the fans. But training sessions and the West Brom tea lady really bring him down. We will never know. Rumours are that West Brom would have let him go if they found a replacement, had this happened Odemwingie was just making sure that his move had plenty of time to go through. Being early for his 2 O’ Clock if you will.
As fans we expect players who wear the shirts of our dreams to share the same passion and commitment for the club. A few do, Tony Adams at Arsenal, David Beckham at Manchester United two that spring to mind. But for the majority football is a job. As with any job if you are not liking where you are, if there is a route out. Anyone would work hard to try and take it.
As for what happens now – play on the theatre that is professional sport.