Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAndy's Plight Down the Apple and Pears - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Andy's Plight Down the Apple and Pears - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Andy’s Plight Down the Apple and Pears

Andy Carroll, England’s next number nine, England’s next Alan Shearer, England’s next biggest centre forward, or is it a case of too much too soon yet again? Or will the cult of his ponytail save him at West Ham


In June Andy Carroll soared above Olof Mellberg to score the goal everyone hadn’t expected of him, a strange observation for a player standing at six foot, three inches, a man who prides himself on his heading ability, more so than the rest of his game. The goal that came against Sweden capped a poor season, a season marred with poor form and criticism drawn from pundits, press and football fans everywhere. A flutter of goals at the back end of the season gave some promise of a better season to come, a winning goal coming against Everton in the FA cup semi-final, gave Liverpool fans and himself promise as did the consolation goal against Chelsea in the final, but as has been the case in his year and a half at Liverpool, more disappointment loomed. Dalglish out, Rodgers in, a new philosophy which significantly lacked room for the big man, Liverpool’s £35 million pound man was on his way out and they weren’t exactly swamped with offers for him. There was no consolation in that.


Born in Gateshead, he was Newcastle through and through, that being said his affection for the Magpies is common knowledge, so you’d assume the once recipient of the “Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy” to re-join his boyhood club? A club he claims “forced him out”, well he didn’t, he joined West Ham, on loan with a reported £17 million buying fee inserted in the loan contract, and again looking in this might seem like a strange move, a failed big money move under his belt at an equally failing “Big Club” and a missed opportunity to return to Newcastle, he joined the Hammers and under big Sam it seemed to make sense, Carroll’s best friend, Kevin Nolan, captained the side, Carroll was all set to be top dog up front, his two goals in nine caps for England showed he had class and was seen as a massive coup for West Ham. Nolan played his part in the selling of the club to Carroll, these two having lived together due to conditions of big Andy’s bail, yes bail, they were good friends and with the persuading skills of Nolan, Carroll signed up on a season long loan, a shrewd move on the Hammers side. A move to West Ham seemed to be the best thing for all parties involved, in theory, but theories don’t always work out do they?


Back to the bail part, at twenty three, Carroll has courted trouble countless times; his fine taste for a pint, poor footballing form and ability to fight made him the a red tops favourite number nine to write about. An already eventful career for the wrong reasons has already been blemished with insult and assault, most recently a reporter in Dublin had his eyes gauged by an intoxicated Carroll, suited up in all white and celebrating a win over Chelsea he didn’t take part in due to injury, he gauged an eye of a photographer a man, seemingly just doing his job. He also broke his hand in the process of breaking team mate Steven Taylor’s jaw in a training session while at Newcastle. Andy Carroll is a journalist’s dream that is unless he’s gouging their eyes out, but my personal favourite story about the pony tailed striker, has to be the ‘drug-fuelled orgy’ after a “fourteen hour bender” story which was reported by the “News of the World” a paper which has since terminated publishing due to a scandal with them over stepping the mark on phone tapping, they reported Carroll yelling “ride me, ride me” and cocaine on a table, how they got this information nobody knows.




Back to footballing terms now, and currently Carroll at this point in time is injured, again, having scored one in ten for new team West Ham, that for a striker isn’t good enough again common knowledge, but having watched these games, you can see the potential there, but now he’s injured, and Carlton Cole having taken his chances, you see that it might not be as easy for Andy to walk back into the team. His time at West Ham has been equally as frustrating as his time at Liverpool take his first goal for instance, 3-0 down to Tottenham, he scores a typical centre forwards header, albeit a consolation goal, he does score, but he can’t celebrate due to the score line, a frustrating experience, his post-match interview showed a degree of relief, “It was about time, to be honest, I’m just grateful to have got off the mark and hopefully there will be more to come this week.” There wasn’t more to come that week, he got injured, stunting any form he may of being able to replicate, but no matter on how much he “puts himself about” on the pitch or how many lumps up field he gets his head too, strikers, especially number nine’s are judged on goals, end of.  




So what we’re talking about here is a man who was valued at £35 million for half a season in the Premier League, near enough two years ago, he is worth nowhere near that now. So is it a case of too much hype? There were goals back up the potential, albeit it with a team he signed with as a schoolboy, his potential was there, but taken out of his comfort zone and the Geordie fish bowl, he’s faltered, with form, with expectations and with that price tag. Liverpool can’t justify the £35 million spent on him, but West Ham was supposed to be a clean slate, so far, it hasn’t, and Andy’s pony tail doesn’t glisten in the Cockney sun as it did in the Northern rain, his confidence has taken blow after blow, but injuries do account for a big part in his disruptive settling in periods, every time he’s moved, he’s been injured whether this can be an accountable excuse for and his goal scoring form, I don’t know, but settling, is Carroll’s biggest problem. He never settles, the transition period is a difficult one for any player but when injured it’s twice as hard. His comfort blanket was Newcastle and whether he will ever recapture that form he had two years ago, remains to be seen, at West Ham he has all the tools to succeed, friends, a manager that believes in him, fans who will stick with him and a system that suits him, it’s really on a matter of Andy settling, for the goals to start coming again. It’s up to the big man himself now.


Michael King