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Are Wednesday Short Changed By Purse?

Wednesday fans love a scapegoat, it almost doesn't seem right without one, and the latest in the line is recent addition, and captain, Darren Purse.

Well, the former Cardiff City man is enjoying sharing that accolade with defensive partner Lewis Buxton, it wouldn't be right for him to shoulder all the blame now would it?

But for most Wednesdayites, and the media, the Owls club captain has come under most criticism of late, mainly due to the high expectations put on him at the start of the season, and the fact that boss Brian Laws handed him the captain's armband almost immediately.

First thing's first, Purse has been below par since his arrival, below the expectations of most Wednesdayites, not just as a the supposed tough-tackling centre-back we all knew from his time with the Bluebirds, West Brom and Birmingham City, but also as a leader.

He came to S6 fairly early in the close season and gave Wednesday fans plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

An experienced, tough, Championship centre-back who would no doubt be an excellent partner for Mark Beevers or Richard Wood at the heart of the defence, someone for the latter two players to look up to and follow.

Expectations were high, and he was all set for a fall.

An interview with the editor of Vital Cardiff before the season outlined some concerns - that he gave his all for Cardiff, was superb in some games for them, but he got dropped due to mistakes at the back and never really got his place back as a regular first team player.

The concerns were there, but nevertheless, us Owls, myself included, thought he'd be a solid addition.

Whenever a player has such big expectations, especially in a such a key area of the pitch, it's going to be difficult to match up to them, and Purse has proved just that.

He made a solid enough start against Barnsley and Peterborough, despite Wednesday getting just a point from each match, when in reality three would have been on the cards before the season had started.

But since then it's been a slippery slope, with the performance at Pride Park last weekend looking like it could well be the straw that broke the camels back, as far as boss Laws is concerned when picking his side for the clash with Coventry City next weekend.

I've heard some thoughts as to why Purse has struggled, expectations aside, with one being the fact that he's having to cover for Woody, and more so, Buxton, as well as carry out his own defensive duties.

I have to say I don't buy into this one bit.

If anything, Buxton looked quite solid for us last season at the back, and has struggled since the arrival of Purse.

Where else can we point the finger? Are the midfield not doing enough to help out at the back? Focusing too much on the attack and struggling with support for their defence? I don't buy into this one, either.

Have people just stopped to think that Purse maybe just wasn't the top quality Championship defender people made him out to be?

I'm not rubbishing his qualities, I've no doubt he's had a good career which has included promotion with Birmingham City and West Brom, but promotion's where he's been surrounded by top quality players from back to front, his mistakes maybe haven't been noticed as much.

At Cardiff, too, he was part of a fine defence which included Roger Johnson at the heart of it, and even then he was often placed on the bench.

Purse is a Championship-quality defender, there's no doubt about that, but whether that's a top end defender or an average defender, that remains to be seen, hey, some reading this will no doubt think he's a bottom end defender from what they've seen so far.

But the ball's in Purse's court now, he has it all to prove, and if he comes through the next few weeks having changed some opinions of Wednesdayites, then he could well have passed his most difficult test yet.

He might have to fight for his place back yet, with Laws threatening to change the side for next weekend's clash, and Purse could be one player to get the chop, with Beevers and Richard Hinds both looking to make a start.

But his next few performances in the blue and white stripes could be his most vital performances in recent seasons.

Leon Clarke shook off the scapegoat tag last season with hard work and the right attitude, and I'm hoping Purse does the same...




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 9 2009

Time: 12:57PM

Your Comments

Hate to say I told you so! I think Purse has been found out, is too slow and wont take you to the play-offs. Still, he's a top guy. Don't think you can be short changed when you got him free though!
bluebirdshroom
I for one never said he'd be a solid addition, if you go back to May just before we signed him, i was totally against him coming to Hillsborough, but like other fans because he pulled that blue and white shirt on i gave him a chance, now 10 games into the season the only thing that as surprised me is that he has'nt been sent off.
ecco owl
I am also aligning myself with the "I told you so" brigade (so much so that I upset Auckland over the pole that was being taken. Inspite of that I tried to give him a chance but what can I say....... nothing polite I'm afraid.
robc
Nick - great article once again. I am not one of the 'I told you so brigade'. I think I am actually one of life's optomists so when we signed Purse I thought that Laws must know what he is doing and Purse must make us a stronger team. Unfortunately the truth is that he has not just unsettled our defence but the whole team. Witness the spat earlier in the season when Woods scored, he didn't appreciate the congratulations from Purse. More recently we have had the argument between Grant and Purse taking place on the pitch. It's clear that the rest of the team think Purse is taking us backwards too. Let's hope a couple of games on the bench will give Purse the kick up the behind he deserves, he has been less than impressive so far.
CLIFFANDJ
Nick - great article once again. I am not one of the 'I told you so brigade'. I think I am actually one of life's optomists so when we signed Purse I thought that Laws must know what he is doing and Purse must make us a stronger team. Unfortunately the truth is that he has not just unsettled our defence but the whole team. Witness the spat earlier in the season when Woods scored, he didn't appreciate the congratulations from Purse. More recently we have had the argument between Grant and Purse taking place on the pitch. It's clear that the rest of the team think Purse is taking us backwards too. Let's hope a couple of games on the bench will give Purse the kick up the behind he deserves, he has been less than impressive so far.
CLIFFANDJ
I think Purse will come good, to be fair I'm more concerned with Tommy Miller. So far he has produced nothing at all. Purse is obvious because he's at centre half and his mistakes are there to see but Miller can't even get in the team and when he does emerge from the bench the game passes him by. Is he unfit or just not upto it?
Hirsty's Shinpads
Be fair Hirsty's shinners, Miller may be poor but hasn't played enough to be judged. Purse has and as judgements go I'm afraid it's a black capper. Maybe he will come good but how long should he be given whilst better players aren't given the chance to perform?
robc
The only debate about Purse and Miller is if they are good enough to be on the bench, let alone on the pitch. Nicks article tries to be fair and I can see why, but we are talking about a 30 plus player, he will deteriorate not improve. To give the owls a chance he has to be replaced.
caversham
It is safe to say he has unsettled the defence at least! Could you imagine being Woody, or even Grant to some extent, that the captaincy has been given to someone who has only been there 10 minutes unlike Woody who has been there 10 yrs!! That's bound to put anyone's nose out of place! I can only imagine that this is going to Tommy (Spurr!!) his decision to leave?? Grant appears a good commander of people so he probably felt slightly aggrieved to some extent not to be given the captaincy also?? Our back four last season was brilliant with an average of about 23 so this proves that age counts for nothing and like caversham says, he's just gonna get older!!
Owls That!
 

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