Lest We Forget
One of last week’s more interesting stories was that of Ipswich ‘keeper Shane Supple’s decision to quit football at the tender age of 22. The young Irishman’s reluctance to stick it out after a hapless few years will have no doubt provoked some derision on the forums, but he is not the first player to have, quote, “fallen out of love with the game”, and nor will he be the last. While millions of us can’t get enough of it (and if we actually can, Sky will always be there to remind us of its perpetual wonder), one has to empathise with Supple’s voluntary exit. A bit-part squaddie, the Irishman was overlooked on countless times in favour of Lewis Price, Neil Alexander, Stephen Bywater and Richard Wright, and he seems to have been kept on purely to provide cheap and ready cover from the bench.
The final straw probably came when Jim Magilton decided to replace Supple as best second best ‘keeper by bringing in Bartosz Białkowski on loan at the end of last season. Literally frozen out by being sent to that infamous ice rink Boundary Park on loan, Supple must have spent the summer weighing up whether a reasonable if not spectacular wage was really worth living out of a bag in a Greater Manchester Travelodge. His negative decision reminded me of Wayne Quinn, the ex-Blades, Newcastle and West Ham full-back, worth as much as £800,000 in 2001, who at 28 years old decided to join Step 7 Cornish side Hayle F.C after being released by the Hammers. Flatly turning down overtures from Plymouth, Quinn showed that, like with Supple, Colin Bailie, Darren Bastow and many others, this high-pressured and unforgiving game isn’t what it’s always cut out to be.
Who’ll be next?