I’ve felt inclined to voice my opinion on our clubs over 30s policy, although I agree with the overall purpose of the policy and it has good intentions, I feel that it is blind and will damage the team, in more ways than one.
The policy is, as I understand, once a player reaches the age of 30 (still young seeing as players peak around 27), if their c0ntract is up with the club, they will only be offered a 1-year maximum extension, along with a cut price wage package, or so I am led to believe.
So, with players such as Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard’s contract’s up at the end of this season, we are in a position now where they simply do not want to accept just a one year contract with the club or a cut in wages, if that is the case. I guess they see it as a bit of a slap in the face after the honest and hard working service they have put in for the club over the years.
The first thing that annoys me about this is, with Ashley Cole, he’s still only 32 years old, we all know he has at least two world class performing seasons left in him. We have offered him a one year contract, so if he was to accept, in a year’s time we’d be back in the same place again. The club will want to keep him, so once again they’ll offer another year. So why on earth did we not just offer him the two years he wanted in the first place? Unfortunately we won’t be in that position anyway, Cole want’s more than a year and rightly so.
Next, Frank Lampard is still one of our best players, scoring goals and he is our vice captain, yet it’s the same situation. We are only offering him a year’s contract, if we are even offering anything at all (some rumours state that Roman will let Lampard leave without even offering a 1 year extension).
This is simply ludicrous, let me emphasis the importance of having experienced players within a young squad. It’s good that we have a young team, really good, but within any young team in order for them to succeed, they need players with leadership qualities, experience and calm heads. This season we have played some of our worst performances when we were missing John Terry and Frank Lampard. No senior type players on the pitch and we visibly suffered.
Pushing aside the fact of their legendary status, the fact they’d give anything for the club, players like Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole would STILL be the first three names on that team sheet for most managers. I have always maintained that you need a couple of experienced heads in a football team, no matter at what level. Whether it’s the Premier League or amateur football, a team needs that senior calm head in it, the captain, the leader, the motivator.
I’m not here to moan at the club for treating our legends poorly, I’ll leave that to everyone else. I’m looking at it from a tactical point of view, we need to secure contracts for both Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, we need their presence on the pitch. By the time they leave, we’ll have players such as David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Juan Mata who will take over their roles as the leaders, but we are not prepared for them to leave yet, it’s too soon.
This is all before I even begin to talk about the negative affect allowing players like this to leave will have amongst team morale and supporters, but that goes without saying.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no illusionist, I realise that players get old, I realise they won’t be with us forever. I simply feel they still have so much to offer and we still need them as players, the time has not come yet.
Simon Phillips – News Editor
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