I fear for the West Ham future of Robert Green. His outburst in The Sun yesterday was uncharacteristic and can be interpreted in a number of ways. Either it was to alert other clubs to his discontent or it was a genuine attempt to alert the club to his unhappiness. I am afraid I fear it was the first.
West Ham’s official response was brief and to the point. He only signed a five year deal a year ago, with the promise of a review in 2009.
On the face of it, little has changed since Green signed his contract a year ago. At that tome there were many more highly paid players than him, yet he was willing to accept the situation then. Or if he wasn;t, he and his agent showed a remarkably weak sense of their negotiating position.
Since then, the only thing that has changed has been Green’s emergence as Hammer of the Year. There’s little doubt that he was our best player last season.
The Club’s response showed little recognition of that, merely pointing to the facts of the situation. It would have been very easy to flush Green out and say, while we are fully aware the agreement was due for review in 2009, we recognise Rob Green’s superb performances last season and if he has concerns we are happy to listen to them and do what we can to demonstrate that he remains an integral part of our long term plans. Instead, a door was shut in Green’s face, and if he genuinely was unhappy and didn’t feel loved, that situation was certainly made no better by what Scott Duxbury said.
The truth is, I suspect, that Duxbury is under orders from the Board to cut the wage bill. We already know he wants to cut the size of the squad to about 26 or 27 from nearer 40. Fringe players like Quashie and Davenport need to go. But you also have to keep happy those who are left. If it had been Hayden Mullins uttering these comments, most of us would be saying that he can bugger off. None of us want Green to go and if his state of mind is genuinely off base, then it doesn’t bode very well for his performances next season.
I am afraid the result of the last two days is that the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and others may well be sitting up and taking notice. We all know that goalkeepers come comparatively cheaply, and there are several Premier League clubs in need of a good goalkeeper at the moment. We need to keep Green, almost whatever it takes.