A Real Footballer Amongst The Big Time Greed
Blackpool signing Luke Varney on Friday morning was probably as much a surprise to him as anyone else. He had loan offers from QPR, Bristol City and supposedly ourselves before Blackpool nipped in to take him off Derby County's hands. The Premiership was probably never in his thoughts
Any Alex fan must surely have struggled on Friday to not have felt pleased for Varney. Whilst he may never be up there with the Lennon's, Murphy's and Ashton's, his passion and his rise in the game means plenty will remember him fondly.
It was, as always, chief scout/coach/former assistant manager Neil Baker who spotted his potential as a 20 year old in the Midland Alliance League, the ninth level of the football league structure, and brought him to Gresty Road towards the end of a successful 02/03 season.
For Luke, then a quality-controller in a factory, simply signing for a then Championship club - and turning professional - was enough of a dream come true; never mind that Crewe had agreed to pay £50,000 and a 20% sell-on to Quorn for his services, a deal that secured Quorn's future following Varney's £2million move to Charlton four years later.
He may have taken a few years to really arrive - and was unfairly thrown in as one of the many potential Dean Ashton replacements - but his partnership with Nicky Maynard in 06/07, which provided 44 goals, was certainly one of few bright points in recent years.
His passion and desire in every game helped make up for the natural talent Maynard had over him.
A big money move to Charlton was swift following the end of the season and he's since remained a regular in the Championship, though a £1million move to Derby in January 2009 was probably not the greatest in retrospect, twice being loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday in his first year at Pride Park.
His move to Blackpool this past week is just the latest attempt by Derby to get him off the wage bill but Derby's loss is certainly Blackpool's gain - as Saturday proved.
Playing a huge role in Saturday's 2-2 for Blackpool; he 'created' a Fulham own goal, scored Blackpool's second, nearly got his own second of the game and was named man of the match by many.
So, from quality controller to the talk of the Premiership in seven years.
You couldn't help but feel ever so slightly proud watching him take the plaudits on Match of the Day, more so than the likes of Ashton, Murphy, Johnson down the years. We've seen an every day wannabe footballer reach his dream and do it with a little bit of help from Crewe Alexandra FC. That's part of being a Crewe Alex fan!
Varney can now look forward to facing the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd (he's already done them some damage in the past) and Arsenal.
Whilst he may not be earning the hundreds of thousands of those he will be facing, his humbleness and passion that shines through every time he takes to the pitch is sure to earn him more plaudits than the talents of some of the household names.