Glenn Murray contract extension: sentiment or forward thinking by Brighton?
By Ian Hart
So VAR’s not so bad after all. The Albion, apparently dead and buried at 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium, staged a comeback the like of which can be the foundation for a season saving run of form (Albion based optimism, no apologies readers)
Glenn Murray’s equaliser went to the ‘eye in the stand’, and whilst to the untrained eye and in real time, it probably looked like handball, and in the old days of split second decisions by official, it might have been chalked off, but this is the 21st century and technology is king.
Due to work commitments, I never made it to East London, but as a result of technology, East London came to Chez Hart.
Friends who travelled to Stratford did say the West Ham faithful didn’t take the decision well, some sections of the support incandescent with rage.
In all seriousness, despite the Albion getting the rub of the green on this occasion, as previously stated in these jottings, VAR in its current format is a recipe for disaster.
Picture the scene, last West Ham home game, they need to win to stay up and the same thing happens, but in the 86th minute, make no bones there will be serious crowd disorder, and that’s probably not the only ground in the top flight where it would happen.
That said with my Albion hat on, having had a few goals chalked off this season due to VAR, these things level themselves out over the course of the season, although tell that to some of the knuckle draggers who follow top flight football the length and breadth of the country?
With a point hard earned at West Ham, the Albion returned home and earlier in this week announced that Glenn Murray had signed an 18 month contract extension.
Whilst Murray continues to be one of the most popular players in the club’s history, the news was met with mixed reaction by fans.
Sentiment, was a word bandied around by a very small minority, can be quickly dismissed, at this level there is no room for sentiment.
Another theory put forward to me, sorry forgot to insert the word ludicrous, was that the Albion are preparing for relegation and life in the Championship next season.
Again, hogwash, and frankly the supporter who suggested it to me in the serene surroundings of Worthing Crematorium (ironic?) really didn’t think it out, if the powers that be did think that at the Albion, at this stage of the season, we might as well pack up and stop watching the Albion.
No, for me, the contract news was very much a positive, it effectively qualifies Murray for a testimonial, for ten years, albeit interrupted service to the Albion.
As he proved on Saturday he still has a part to play at this level, and his input into the development of younger players cannot be underestimated.
I’ve always thought from the day he turned up at the Withdean in 2008, he had something about him both on and off the field.
Is he ultimately being groomed for a coaching role, in the same way Duncan Ferguson works at Everton, in the hope that one day when the opportunity arises the Albion might be in a position to promote from within?
So at the end of the transfer window, the Albion have the fourth highest amount of players on loan at other clubs, 21, almost as many as the entire first team squad numbered in the dark days at the Goldstone.
But realistically how many of those 21 players will return to play first team football for the Albion?
two, three, maybe four?
Statistics wise that’s not bad up against a lot of other clubs, but it does throw up the question: are the Albion keeping on some youngsters on the books to justify the huge investment in the development side of the club?
It’s a fine line, but ultimately will any of us complain if my predicted four loanees come back and become Amex regulars?