Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mustapha To Go?

It was with disappointment that I read Muzzy's tweets over the weekend where he declared: 'Being held against your will is probably the worst thing in the world!!'.

My initial reaction was one of wonder. Was he referring to football? I quickly began to conclude that he was talking in relation to his situation with Rovers and a potential move to the Championship, as he tweeted a similar message in the midst of a failed move to Barnsley last January.

I was under no illusions going in to this close-season that Muzzy was going to be staying. His performances at the back end of last year lit up League Two and he made Rovers games, particularly at the Mem, exciting to watch. Supporters would stand on edge in anticipation of Muzzy doing, well, Muzzy-like skills to terrorise the opposition full backs. You just got a sense he was going to make things happen and, quite often under Mark McGhee, he did. He'd become a prized asset and he had plenty of admirers, with Middlesborough known suitors of the young Gambian winger. After the final game away at Dagenham I was resigned to losing him but thought we could receive a very decent fee for what was, in all honesty, 4 months of good performances. He appeared a confident but down to earth young man whenever he was approached off the field and he was very complimentary about his employers and Gasheads on Twitter, which always goes down well. I thought, somewhat unusually for modern day footballers, that Mustapha Carayol was a grounded and thankful sportsman that just loved playing football, appreciating the day to day lifestyle of an idolised professional.

But was it all a facade? A built-up persona that was designed to play us off as fools whilst he sat laughing behind his mobile phone or laptop when praising the football club he was playing for? I think that's much more likely and does unfortunately epitomise the real modern day footballer. He was damn good at keeping Rovers fans on side whilst he raised his profile in the football-league, so much so that I think he knew what he was doing all along. Well, his agent did certainly. Maybe I'm being too cynical but as we all know, footballers are no longer motivated simply by playing football. The lure of tripled wages and a jump up a league or two will ensure they feel no loyalty or respect to their current club, even though they are under contract.

That's the situation we're seeing unfold with Bristol Rovers and Mustapha Carayol.

He tried to cover his tracks and later tweeted that it was not football related, but his retweets from 'fans' who were encouraging him to leave immediately after he received responses to the original tweet suggest he's not telling the truth... again.

Unfortunately there is no benefit to clubs who have players under contract these days. They can initiate moves by stating their desire to move on due to 'ambition' and the parent club are then left in a dilemma of whether to keep their player, who will not be committed to the cause, or sell him for a knock down price because potential suitors will be aware of his situation. The players hold all the aces and we're witnessing with our own eyes how it can happen at every level of the modern game.

He'll get his move. He was always going to get it so all he required was patience and an understanding that his current club want to receive the best fee they can possibly get. It was unlikely he wouldn't be granted a move at some point this summer and every Gashead will have been resigned to that eventuality. Nobody will have begrudged him the opportunity to progress either, so the fact he's thrown his toys out the pram and showed a lack of respect to the football club and its supporters leaves him in a very difficult position. What happens if he doesn't get his transfer and then has to pull on the quarters after creating this debacle? He will have turned once drooling admirers begging him to stay in to disgruntled fans wanting him to move on in a matter of seconds. The only way I can see he can rescue his situation is by signing an extension to his contract and ensuring we get a very hefty fee. It won't mean much to him, but we were the club that plucked him from the black hole of non-league football so perhaps he could show a little loyalty, just like Rickie Lambert did. Having said that the difference in class between both men in terms of their performances and attitudes on and off the pitch is so great it's not worth a comparison. It's insulting to Rickie.

I now view him, upsettingly, as a spoilt child who is beginning to show his true colours - a monumental turnaround in opinion from the one I had (and shared with many) before this incident arose. He's portraying himself as an egotistical and greedy 22 year old who has unwisely bought in to the hype that was being created about him. Most fans now no longer wish him to stay and hope that he moves sooner rather than later so that Rovers can move on and progress ahead of next season.

Rant over and I'm gutted that I've had to write this with such a bitter taste in my mouth. I just don't take kindly to the way Muzzy has gone about his business over recent days. Perhaps I shouldn't be reading too much in to 140 characters of a tweet on Twitter, but it's clear for everyone to see that all is not well between Muzzy and Bristol Rovers football club.


  1. Totally agree with you mate , well said .
    If he doesn't want to play for the club (which he clearly doesn't ) lets sale him ASAP & invest the money back in the squad . UTG

  2. Thanks mate.
    It's unfortunate that it has come to this but we need to do what is in the best interests of the football club and move on. In McGhee we trust!

  3. Spot on Nath. If he doesn't want to be here, then 'good riddance' when he goes. It will just be a sickener if we don't get market value for him though.


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