Honesty: the best policy?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

For the most part this site is resolutely non-partisan, shying away from inflammatory articles and the bilious, monosyllabic responses they attract from spittle-flecked, talkSPORT-listening meatheads in favour of carefully considered argument and reasonable, civil debate. In fact, the only thing that seems to get the eminently agreeable Lanterne Rouge hot under the collar is a certain mob from Milton Keynes, worthy winners of this year’s TTU Award for Crimes against Football. So, Lanterne Rouge, I beg forgiveness in advance for what follows, in which I speak relatively kindly about one of the MK Dons’ number, Sam Baldock…

The story began with a succession of bids for the striker from Peterborough, who’ve just yo-yoed back into the Championship. Not only did Posh beat Franchise FC in the play-offs en route to promotion, but they appeared determined to rub their noses in it by stealing away one of their prize assets. The first two approaches were rebuffed but it was third time lucky for Darragh MacAnthony’s side when their persistence was rewarded with acceptance – or so it seemed.

As it turned out, Baldock was rather less receptive to Posh’s advances. He’d had plenty of time to mull over the prospect of a move before meeting Darren Ferguson, and has confessed: “As soon as I got there it confirmed my suspicions that it wasn’t right for me. The problem, he claims, lay largely with what was on offer: “The best piece of advice I have been given is that to move somewhere on a four-year deal it has to excite you, and it just didn’t do that for me“.

Ferguson has since retorted that the feeling was mutual: “It was apparent to me that I wasn’t going to sign the lad after a very short period of time. There was no enthusiasm to come and sign for Peterborough“. Both parties, meanwhile, have been trying to save face by claiming it was they who pulled the plug on the deal.

Now it’s understandable why Fergie Jr would be nettled – Baldock’s declaration is a definite slight on Posh, all the more significant for the fact that they’ll be playing at a higher level than Franchise FC next season and so should, you’d assume, automatically be a more attractive proposition. But perhaps when the dust settles, he’ll realise that Baldock’s honesty has done Posh a favour.

How many times do players genuinely feel the delight about a move that they profess to in a stream of tedious platitudes while waving a scarf or shirt when unveiled in front of the cameras? How many times do those inane smiles mask an expression of grim resignation at having been forced out of a previous club, the horrified realisation of having made a huge mistake or nothing but a smirk at the thought of the accompanying salary? Any of us can look into our own club’s recent history and reel off a list of players who, after loudly proclaiming to be excited about a move, then went on to give sterling impressions of not giving even the remotest toss.

Baldock could have sized up the opportunity to play Championship football (and no doubt also thicken his wage packet) and made a hard-headed decision to take it. As it is, Posh have been spared being saddled with a player whose heart would never have been in it. Of course, Baldock may yet be angling for a move to another club at that level or, as Fergie has intimated, simply trying to screw an improved contract out of his current employers – but my point is that in this instance his honesty should be applauded. And there can’t be many people who, offered an escape route from Milton Keynes, wouldn’t snap your arm off…

Ben is a long-suffering Newcastle Utd supporter (is there any other kind?) who co-founded and co-wrote Black & White & Read All Over, a blog that, over the course of a decade, chronicled the ups, downs, chaos and calamity of the club he has the misfortune to follow. Since the blog hung up its boots in May 2014 (note: not as a mark of respect for Shola Ameobi leaving St James’ Park), he has contented himself with sporadic, splenetic Twitter outbursts and shamefully rare contributions to The Two Unfortunates. He is currently haunted by visions of Joe Kinnear returning to the club for a third spell and pondering whether he’ll live to see another victory over the Mackems, but at least has a cardboard coathanger with Robert Lee’s head on it for consolation.


  1. BathWomble
    July 2, 2011

    'Facts' about the move? Don't make me laugh. The FA Commission decision on 28th May 2002 rubber stamped the move to MK. After that, what continued trading as 'Wimbledon FC' for a while longer was a team representing Milton Keynes. They were supposed to play the 2002-3 season in MK. Is it the fans fault they screwed the move up for 18 months? No. At the start of June 2002 we had to re-form our club or face the coming season with no team to support. So yes, let's get the facts straight – ALL of them and in context. Let's not have this stupid Franchise attempt to re-write history. The club deserted the fans, not the other way around and every time a Franchise customer makes the 'desertion' accusation lie, all they do is reveal their own moral bankruptcy and lack of understanding of the facts.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    July 2, 2011

    Puzzled as to what brought about Baldock's lack of enthusiasm although it's possible Winkleman is coughing up sufficient readies to keep him and others at the club, despite seemingly more appealing options elsewhere. That would be no surprise given the Don's existence is predicated on money talking.

  3. BathWomble
    July 3, 2011

    “Wimbledon are MK Dons now, get over it.”

    Silly thing to say. Wimbledon are Wimbledon. Not only have we got over it, we've got back in the Football League. :) Nine years, it only took nine years!

  4. Ben
    August 28, 2011

    Turns out that, when given a better offer, Baldock did indeed jump at the chance to get out of MK.


    But of course he's a local lad so I'm sure he did it with a heavy heart. And a heavy wallet.


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