Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tugay Is Wrong: Players Do Want To Play At Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers defensive midfielder Tugay is bound to leave the club soon after he revealed to the media that he will be looking forward to offers from Turkish clubs when the January transfer window opens. This was to be expected: at 34, he is getting on in years and it makes sense that he would like to finish his career in his own country.

Former manager Graeme Souness has a lot to do with his discontentment at his current club. The Scotsman has the habit of having players and other staff follow him from club to club. He has held several posts in his career, and therefore he signed some of his former players for Ewood Park, including Tugay. Therefore, it is natural that the family man would want to leave. The reason for his presence in England is now at another club (Newcastle United), where he has little chance of gaining a starting spot. He is not getting regular starts at his current club, either.

However, Tugay's comment in relation to the supposed feelings of his fellow Rovers players about their experience at the club is unjustified, confusing, and downright infuriating, especially considering that the Lancashire club is facing a battle to stave off English Premier League relegation fears. During the same phone interview for a Turkish television channel, he stated: "Nobody wants to play football any more (at Blackburn). The (previous) manager (Graeme Souness) left and that's how it is now. Now, I'm looking for new alternatives."

His observation that no-one want to play at Blackburn anymore because of Souness' departure is certainly downright unjustified and confusing. Never mind that current manager Mark Hughes was virtually appointed by the players -- he is a very popular and capable manager outside the club too, well-known especially as former Manchester United player, and particularly for his exploits as Wales national coach. Not only do the current players like playing under his management; most outsiders would very much like to play under the helm of someone who has such a big reputation.

Tugay is unlikely to be reprimanded sufficiently for the comment he made on the so-called view that "every player" holds of Blackburn Rovers (that it is not a club they would want to play for). This man has already decided that he wants to move. He does not have much to lose from making such a damaging comment, and his more recent prepared media statement that says he is not discontented at Blackburn smacks of insincerity.

I am sure that Mark Hughes has already told him of the seriousness for his comments, on both accounts. There was no need for the public announcement of his availability. Making transfer availability known to Turkish clubs could have been done in a much more discreet and private way. There was also no need of damaging the club that has paid his wages for the last few years by making unjustifiable claims.

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