Date:Tuesday June 28 2011
It's a rare occurrence that a transfer in modern football can be seen as a good one for all parties, but Tommy Spurr's is one of the few exceptions.
The defender completed his switch from Wednesday to Doncaster Rovers today for a fee believed to be around the £200k mark.
It's a good move for all three parties, none more so than the player himself, whose progress in the famous blue and white stripes had sadly come to a drastic halt over the last year or so.
Spurr burst on to the scene when he made his debut against Reading on April 22 2006, winning the sponsor's man of the match for his performance and in turn fast becoming a crowd favourite at S6.
The fact he came through the Owls Academy, being named Academy player of the year at the end of the 2004-05 campaign, helped him gel instantly with the Hillsborough faithful, and his '110 per cent' performances helped him form a strong bond with Owls fans.
Tommy played every match as if he was a school kid picked for a one-off game, a competition winner if you like, and although the cynics amongst us would compare some of his latter performances to that, you know the gist of my comparison.
His enthusiasm was infectious, and it was that that perhaps defined his time at Wednesday. If only the other ten players on the pitch alongside Tommy, for most of the last few years at least, had performed to the same intensity and determination as he did, Wednesday would perhaps find themselves further up the football pyramid.
Sometimes that enthusiasm masked some of the poorer performances he endured during his time at the club, but it was still a positive attribute.
What you saw with Tommy was what you got - he was the same when I interviewed him at Middlewood training ground a couple of years ago. I should have been the one slightly nervous, interviewing one of the players I go and support week-in, week-out, but instead it seemed like he was the nervous one just happy to give an interview. God only knows what he was like when talking to the Beeb or Sky...
He was a player who, for the most part, genuinely enjoyed pulling on the blue and white stripes and running out at our grand old stadium.
For all of the above, I'd hope that he'll be one former player who will get a real warm welcome if ever he was to return to Hillsborough with an opposing team. I'm sure he would.
But for all the above qualities, it was time to move on for Tommy. A sad departure perhaps, but one that needed to happen to get his career firmly back on the promising track he was on just a year or two ago.
When things aren't going well at Wednesday, it's difficult to get the fans onside. It was no exception for Tommy. Although his passion and determination did give him some extra time with some Owls fans, the majority had soon turned against him, or at least his guaranteed place in the first team, and perhaps rightly so.
He was a player that needed a break from first team action, that needed to get his confidence and his focus back.
With the changes that Gary Megson, the Wednesday manager, is currently making at S6, the timing was right for that break - but away from Hillsborough.
With Megson needing to radically change the squad to forget about the horror show that was last season and mount a serious promotion push next term, drastic changes needed to be made.
With Lewis Buxton, Michael Morrison, Mark Reynolds and Daniel Jones already in the ranks - and the potential for more defenders to arrive at the club in the coming weeks - Tommy was surplus to requirements.
I'm sure it's what he needs. Doncaster Rovers are a good club, with a good coaching set-up. Although playing at a higher level, for next season at least, the pressure will be nowhere near that of playing for the Owls and that will suit him down to a tee.
It's a fresh start for him and one that will hopefully see him return to the form that he showed when he burst on to the scene.
It's a great price too for Rovers. In this day and age, especially when young British talent is going for silly money, £200k will prove to be an absolute bargain for Donny, no doubt about it.
If there's one thing that could have been different, from Wednesday's point of view at least, it was the fact that we turned down an offer from QPR, understood to be in excess of £750,000, not too long ago.
Whether that would have been a good move for Tommy with all the cash Rangers now have to spend, and their position in the Barclays Premier League, is another matter - but it's a loss as far as Wednesday are concerned.
There have been lots of comments about Tommy since his departure, some good, some bad and some indifferent.
Hopefully Rovers will give him the opportunity to show that he's good enough to be a Championship player at least. He got stick in his latter days at Wednesday, but he's certainly not a bad player. Interest from QPR, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United in recent years certainly shows he has the qualities and potential for Championship level.
Oh, and don't forget that goal at Bramall Lane - I certainly won't.
Good luck for the future Tommy.
Date:Tuesday June 28 2011
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