28DW: Peter Odemwingie, The Deadline Day Cowboy

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.

Photo by Ben Sutherland, Flickr. Odemwingie (second Right)

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.


Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 



It’s a rush of adrenaline, it’s a second or two of mass hysteria. Thousands of people rising to their feet in unison. Fists punching the air, voices and heart rates raised to new levels an almost primal reaction.

On the other hand it’s despair, crusher of hopes dreams and ambitions. Peering through fingers in disbelief often at the very people who are ardently celebrating your ineptitude. You’ve been here before, so have they. They know, so they are savouring their moment in the sun.

It’s a GOAL.

Or is it, did it cross the line? Was he offside?
Surely that was a foul ref. Are you blind?

Today, QPR scored a goal. But it will in the fullness of time be forgotten. This goal will never be recorded in the QPR history books, because even though the ball crossed the white line of destiny (the goal line) the goal was not given. The linesman said it did not cross the line.

QPR's "Goal" Image BBC SPORT

QPR went on to lose 2-1. Denial of what was a clear goal may have cost them dear. My own club Reading have also been involved in a controversial non-goal. As you can see the ball goes nowhere near the goal, and yet we scored!

So the FA have announced they want video technology to be introduced. Is this a good thing? I have to admit I am torn. On one hand, it should ensure a fairer game, but where do you stop? If there is a foul in the build up to a goal, does that get appealed and sent for review? If not why is this “non-goal” given less important than any other.

The referral system works excellently in many sports, notably cricket. It also proves that 95% of the time umpires are correct. It works in cricket because it is a stop-start game, with only a few variables to check. In football there are very few breaks in play, and even expert summarisers with the 300 cameras Sky have on each game still cannot come to a consensus. Then of course there is the beautiful game itself.

One of the reasons football is so popular is it’s simplicity. A ball is just about the only piece of equipment you need. It is played on a amateur level world wide by millions. The same game. The likes of FC Barcelona can afford HD cameras on the goal line, HD cameras up both of Lionel Messi’s nostrils if they want. FC Dog ’n’ Duck cannot.

Now in English football we have the greatest cup contest in the world. The FA Cup. The reason why I love it is that amateur sides can enter. They can go from 9 people watching them play at their home ground to 76,000 people watching them play at Old Trafford against Man Utd. Now what if FC Dog ‘n’ Duck held Man Utd to a draw at Old Trafford and they brought them to their ground behind the local Lidl’s. Barry a welder by trade, Ducks centre forward through on goal, smashes it to the top left, it hits the bar and bounces down. Is it over the line? Who knows? No cameras on the goal line. Whereas if a similar goal was scored at Old Trafford the whole would know, and no-one would have anything to write about, blog about, or talk about.

That’s the other thing about football. It is a soap opera. A game of opinions like no other. Do we really want Siri to tell us if that was a goal or not, or do we want officials who are human who will occasionally get it wrong sometimes.. just like the players.