The Monday Profile: Ryan Garry
It’s difficult to clarify under which exact terms a football club can be classified as ‘unfortunate’. Indeed, there’s a million miles between outfits such as Morecambe and, say, Nottingham Forest, yet we still group them together under one, all-encompassing umbrella on this site. Part of that is to try to foster some sense of community and common interest across this disparate group of 72, but we’re well aware that in many cases the comparison runs dry beyond shared Football League status.
Even so, there are some factors that unite us to varying degrees. One of those is that any one of our clubs’ managers could be poached in no time should a bigger club come sniffing. That’ll mostly be to another club within the 72, but the point nonetheless stands that success at any Football League level has its cons should the stars align and another club knock on the door when yours is at the top of its game. Supporters of sides as varied as Norwich, Doncaster, Brighton and Bournemouth will all be aware of this downside right now as they hope to keep things exactly as they are.
Another sure sign of unfortunance (yes, I did just make that word up) is the reliance in the transfer market on bringing in (a) ‘troubled’ players, (b) those who once had a bit of success but have long ceased to offer any obvious qualities and finally, and perhaps most commonly, (c) those players whose careers have been disrupted by injury. All three types and plenty more are to be found at my own sorry lot, and I’m sure that readers will be able to relate to what I’m trying to get at as they match up players in their club’s squads with these categories.
One Football League player that is firmly established in the third group is Bournemouth’s centre-half Ryan Garry, who some may recall from his early days at Arsenal in the early-to-mid noughties when the likes of Daniel Karbassiyoon, Sebastian Svärd and Graham Stack were on the books. A highly rated full-back at the time, the Hornchurch-born southpaw seemed to always be on the peripheries, and eventually left the club in 2007 after making just one first-team appearance in the league.
Having been diagnosed with shin spints, Garry’s main cause of woe not only cut short his prospects at Arsenal, but also hung an injury-plagued sign around his head. Kevin Bond gave him a shot at Dean Court, though, signing him up for six months initially ahead of the 2007-2008 League 1 campaign. Garry established himself in no time only to continue his rotten luck with injuries by breaking a shin early in the season. The fact, however, that Bond extended his contract in January 2008 indicated that he’d left enough of an impression.
2008-2009 saw Garry suffer more injury problems as his side dropped to League 2 but a deal of his 21 starts came at the season’s tail end when the Cherries impressively managed to avoid relegation to the Conference following a 10 point deduction. The good work was continued a season later and, despite missing the run-in, Garry played a key role at the back, partnering captain Jason Pearce in the centre of defence for much of the season.
This season marked the first occasion that I managed to catch up with Garry’s progress first hand when I saw Bournemouth draw 1-1 at Brighton a few weeks ago. Lining up alongside Pearce, Rhoys Wiggins at left-back and Lee Bradbury (yes, the same one) at right-back, Garry looked comfortable in a back four that is now reasonably established. All bar Bradbury are left-footed and could be described as ‘liking a pass’, so I wouldn’t label them as the tightest of backlines. That said, every ball that wasn’t simply whacked up long encouraged thoughtful passing and movement ahead of them, and one can see why Eddie Howe has managed to earn himself a reputation for fostering good football.
The Cherries have conceded a few goals this season, but Garry, Pearce and Wiggins have each got on the score sheet, the latest strike from the defence coming on Saturday when this week’s profiled player volleyed in a well-worked corner-kick routine at Wednesday. The gulf in wage bills must be huge, but the point earned at Hillsborough moved the Cherries up to second place. There’s a long way to go and I have my doubts about the size of their squad, but Bournemouth’s success is built on decent foundations at the back. He may yet be poached, but if Eddie Howe remains in situ all season then don’t be surprised to see the Cherries maintain their position towards the top of the table, with a (hopefully) injury-free Ryan Garry in the thick of it.