Sick Note XI
Football’s injuries have long determined the success or failure of a particular player and or club. People of a certain age will never forget how the Coventry City defender David Buust graphically broke his leg vs Man United, ending his career at 29. There has been a recent furore at Arsenal with the re-known Dutch physio/coach Raymond Verheijen blaming Arsene Wenger for the run of injuries of recent years.
Famous Arsenal fans Ian Wright and Piers Morgan have been apoplectic with Wenger not resting Alexis Sanchez in recent weeks leading to his injury in the Norwich game sidelining him for a vital 4/5 weeks.
Liverpool fans are divided on Daniel Sturridge, who has played 74 games of a possible 146 games over the last 3 years(49%). His goal record is astonishing but it causes immense problems in team planning with his injury-enforced absences. Jurgen Klopp has waded into the debate saying Danny “must differentiate between pain and acceptable pain.”
Laurent Koscielny is a good example, as the graphic below illustrates he has missed 109 days injured over the last 2 years (15% of the time). But Wenger doesn’t trust Gabriel, not surprising given how he went to sleep for the Lewis Grabban goal away to Norwich. The lack of a back up Wenger trusts means he rushes Koscielny back, causing further niggles, a vicious cycle (particularly at Arsenal.)
- Chris Kirkland 25 Apps (2001-06) LFC
- Daniel Agger 175 Apps (2006-2015) LFC
- Ledley King 268 Apps (1999-2012) Spurs
- Jonathan Woodgate 49 Apps (2008-11) Spurs
- Jack Wilshere 100 Apps (2008-15) Arsenal
- Abou Diaby 125 Apps (2006-15) Arsenal
- Thomas Rosicky 170 Apps (2006-15) Arsenal
- Darren Fletcher 223 Apps (2003-2015) United
- Owen Hargreaves 27 Apps (2007-2011) United
- Sturridge 57 Apps (2013-15) LFC
- Owen 31 Apps (2011-14) United
- Jamie Redknapp 48 Apps (2002-05) Spurs
- Benni McCarthy 11 Apps (2010-11) West Ham
- Dean Ashton 46 Apps (2006-09) West Ham
- Kieran Dyer 30 Apps (2007-11) West Ham
- Kieran Gibbs 116 Apps (2007-15) Arsenal
- Winston Bogarde 9 Apps (2000-04) CFC
- Carlo Cudicini 19 Apps (2009-12) Spurs
Three stand out for me, the mind-boggling Dutch International Winston Bogarde made 9 appearances in 4 years at Chelsea. On a reputed £40k a week: £40k x 208 wks = £8m makes it £888,888 per appearance. Those people wondering how a club like Bolton can wrack up debts of £178m (in the Championship) there is an apt answer.
Secondly, Benni McCarthy, whom West Ham severed his contract because he couldn’t keep his weight down. Lastly Carlo Cudicini at Spurs, just 19 Apps in 3 years, partly because he came off his motorbike and broke both his wrists on his way back from training, and Harry Redknapp his then manager was incredulous that it wasn’t in Spurs’ player contracts that they couldn’t ride motorbikes.
Fans are more sympathetic to illnesses such as Darren Fletcher’s on-going liver issues, also with one off serious injuries such as Dean Ashton of West Ham who had to retire due to an ankle injury at the age of 26 in 2009. Even to this day Arsenal legend Ian Wright has a fused ankle with limited movement due to his playing sacrifices.
Repetitive injuries such as Owen Hargreaves and Daniel Sturridge test the fans’ patience the most, with Liverpool fans conjuring up wicked meme’s of Sturridge in a wheelchair on Twiitter. The pendulum has no doubt swung in Sturridge’s favour after his 2 goals in 4 minutes v Southampton in the Capital Cup Quarter Final on Wednesday night improving his record to 39 goals in 74 appearances over 3 years.
As Jimmy Greaves famously said “Football is a funny old game”, many of the employment laws and characteristics just do not apply to football. A 49% attendance or productivity record would not be tolerated in any other walk of life.