Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
Gary Roberts once again skips training, this time after a false promise of 'knuckling down'. How many more chances can he possibly be given?
Since coming through the club's academy, Gary Roberts has always been known to have those rough edges to his attitude but since Steve Holland took the 'manager' role last summer it seems as though Roberts has been on a mission of self destruction.
Starting towards the end of last season when Roberts was disciplined twice by the club in a matter of weeks, it became clear that things weren't well with Holland and his star midfielder.
Then rumours that Gary had been seeking a move away from Gresty Road came to a head this summer when Roberts missed various pre-season training sessions and refused to travel to Bulgaria, he was subsequently transfer listed.
Once a fans favourite he is now firmly in the fans bad books and unlikely to regain full support of the Alex faithful if he somehow remains at the club. Steve Holland today admitted that he also was fed up with Roberts's attitude and that it was having an effect on the team now.
Quite what is behind Roberts thinking is something only he can answer. It's hard to see the logic in acting in such a childish manner in order to get a move away from the club. Perhaps he really believes other clubs are willing to take on a player who goes AWOL without good reason and refuses to partake in pre-season friendlies. Cardiff City have already come and gone without an offer.
For me the moment it starts effecting the team is the moment we get rid. There's no room or time for players with a chip on their shoulder to try and destroy team spirit. Pre-season is such a vital time with new players coming in and academy players moving up, having a cloud over training sessions can not be helping Holland's preparations.
With so much promise as a football talent and with a year left on his contract, the club will obviously be looking at recouping a fee from Roberts, but if there's no-one to buy him are we on an impossible mission? At best we may be able to loan him out for the season, getting him off the wage bill, and hopefully getting some decent compensation come next summer. At worst? Sack him.
The club would surely have grounds to release Roberts without a pay-off. As would any business should their employees fail to turn up for work.
With Holland hoping to speak to Roberts some time this week, we should know more sooner or later about where Roberts's future lies. Knowing the soft touch the club has, it's likely Roberts will get one final chance to get back into the fold. It's likely he won't take it though.
Personally, I would rather we cut all ties with Roberts, who's proving more trouble than however many thousand he is worth. He's had chance after chance and clearly has no intention of 'knuckling down' here, or anywhere in football for that matter.
If he plays in the red and white next season then there will be no polite clapping from me, but nor will there be any other reaction. Any negative response from fans is likely to effect the whole team, it's probably best he's sent to Coventry. If they want him.
Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
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