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Sad to see O'Connor leave Owls

Sad to see O'Connor leave Owls

Vital Wednesday contributor Robin May has his say on the impending departure of James O'Connor to take up a coaching role in Major League Soccer...

I was shocked to find the news that JOC was off state side and that his playing days were over.

I had discussed to great length with my dad about the possibly 'dead wood' that may go in the transfer window and again at the end of the season when contracts run out and let's face it JOC was definitely on everyone's list to go if the team continued upwards.

But it does make me sad to see such a player just go. I still have the matchday programme from 2008 when we thumped Burnley on the opening day 4-1 (Tudgayx2, Sodjex2). In the programme was a large three to four page spread about the summer capture of JOC and reading it now it's almost written as if it was a coup at the time.

He never dazzled fans and in his intentions he never set out to, but when people talk about the way he always put in 100 per cent you would be doing him a disservice.

Few could have seen at the time what a loyal servant JOC was when he first arrived after a plethora of uninspired performances, but they were always performances. Which brings me back to what I was saying, there was no '100 per cent' for the likes of JOC, and instead simply he operated in either 'on' or 'off' modes, to not put in total effort was unheard of and in rare (very rare) instances this came to fruition.

The near hat-trick against Notts County and in latter times the near spectacular overhead kick which, had it of gone in, it would have been met with a rapture of total stunned gasps.

Although arguably limited in ability and again to some extent a limited 'footballing brain', JOC is a player I will really miss.

He's the type of player that despite his ability he does command a position, not necessarily because of the things he does on the pitch but also because of the things he does off it.

I remember an interview with Gary Megson where he talked about the attitude JOC had and the way he conducted himself was so professionally admirable that he was able to retain a place in this Sheffield Wednesday team which, let's be honest, is one of the best we have seen for many many years.

Robin May

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Robin May
Date:Wednesday December 21 2011
Time: 8:00AM


I agree with the writer. JOC always put in maximum effort and was always prepared to commit a timely foul if it helped the defence (last weeks midfiled and defence take note!) We were often baffled as to why Ginger Morinio played him every week, but we don't know the effect he has in the dressing room and on the pitch as we can see him shout at other players but never hear what he says. We now have a vacant position at right half, I wonder who will replace him?
21/12/2011 08:43:00
Says it all about JOC that people are now sad to see him leave after he became a bit of a scapegoat.
21/12/2011 09:58:00
He did a job for us and although he didn't set the world alight with his silky skills, he never claimed to. A solid, dependable servant to SWFC and possibly a loss on the training field and in the dressing room. I hope he finds success in the states And commend him on his professional attitude, where most would leave with sour grapes he leaves with his head held high. Shame he didn't get a better send off and it was through injury. Good luck Joc. WTID UTO.
21/12/2011 10:43:00
Excellent article Robin, puts into word what a lot of us are feeling I think.
21/12/2011 10:45:00
Glancing down his career stats it's interesting to note that JO'C won the Player Of The Year award at Stoke in 2003 and was then snapped up by GM for £250k to become part of West Brom's promotion winning side that following season. Reading between the lines, I can imagine Meggo arriving here last Feb and immediately identifying JO'C as an ally in the dressing room and choosing to reward his commitment and enthusiasm with a regular place in the team. If the spirit currently evident around the camp is any guide then I'd suggest it's a strategy that's paid off. And for that I reckon the player deserves his share of the credit.
21/12/2011 11:01:00
totally agree ourmaurice. last season we had a similar situation with purse whose influence on the squad was not taken into account until he'd left and the wheels fell off. hope that doesn't happen this time. so i suppose the question is who will become the new target for those who need one?!?
Hirsty's Shinpads
21/12/2011 22:51:00
People seem to focus on those 100%, BUT there are other facts out there: JOC is our second longest serving first-team player (after JJ) in times when very few would even consider coming to play for the club and also he agreed to what was stated as a "considerable" pay cut to sign a new contract and stay with us. What a great guy to have on and of the pitch, very disappointed to hear he's leaving.
22/12/2011 16:12:00
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