|A Touch of the Farmer Gios|
written by TheBlueStig Thursday, 7th Mar 2013 20:08
Today on my lunch break at work I found myself in the staff room talking to my boss about Ipswich Town’s ‘heyday’. My boss is a Leeds United fan and talking to a Leeds fan they have that persona which means anything you say cannot trump their team or their history. But in his defence, I struggled to even think when we’ve been at our best in our modern history. So I replied with, “What heyday?”
After a brief silence the subject came up about the amount of loan players the club have signed in recent seasons. I have never been the biggest fan of the loan market in the football world, especially when there are the summer, January and the 'emergency' loan windows. And also the fact that at the end of the day (so to speak) you have to give the player back. In my eyes I think you should stick with a squad for the season and be done with it.
Don't get me wrong, a team can unearth some real gems, and Ipswich Town have done that very well in recent times. Take Jimmy Bullard, Jack Colback and DJ Campbell, for example. However, this can backfire.
As a Blues fan, I had the ultimate honour of seeing Giovani dos Santos pull on a Town shirt, and what he did in his time with the club, was magnificent. His début came against Reading at the Madejski Stadium, and I would be confident in suggesting that the number of people who turned out that day, was significantly swelled simply because of that young man.
We had all seen him strutting his stuff at the Camp Nou for Barcelona, not more than a year before. He was considered the next big thing to come out of an academy with never-ending young, exciting talent.
Of course, when he completed his move to Tottenham Hotspur that summer, it seemed of great surprise. For whilst Spurs are a big Premier League club with a decent record regarding big name players, the fact of the matter was that it always looked to be a catastrophic step down. From sunny Barcelona to rainy North London is just the icing on the cake.
Needless to say, he was quickly branded a White Hart Lane flop, by all corners of the media when his first season did not quite go to plan.
However, this meant Gio needed to play first team football at such a tender age, his time at Portman Road saw him write his name into Ipswich Town folklore, and become one of the club's favourites who is still spoken of to this day.
I remember fondly when the news first broke on TWTD that we were set to sign him on loan. My first reaction was to look twice at what I was reading and thinking how an earth has rookie Jim Magilton managed to pull this off!
This may sound a bit of an over-reaction for a loan player who only played eight games for the club. But the fact is those eight games helped me come to the conclusion of that Gio is probably the best player I have seen pull on an Ipswich shirt in our modern day history.
His pace, skill, accuracy and all-round game was obviously too good for this league without even kicking a ball. He was affectionately known on the terraces, he did the business while he was here. He was a player we had been crying out for.
Even now we hope Mr Evans gets his chequebook out for someone of his calibre. His winning penalty in the East Anglian derby against Norwich City is without doubt the main reason he will always be loved by Ipswich fans – but there were other crucial moments. His late equalisers against Bristol City and Burnley, as well as an emotional goal to help Ipswich beat Coventry on the last day of the season will always be remembered fondly. Since then we haven’t replaced or even come close to signing a player of his quality.
The hard bit comes when you have to return the borrowed goods. Indeed, that is where the loan system disappoints me – but like a good book you borrow from the library, giving it back is inevitable.
Since the in-different spell at Tottenham, dos Santos went out on loan twice more to Galatasaray and Racing Santander before signing permanently on the dotted line at Spanish side Real Mallorca. I wonder what it would take to get the Mexican back at Portman Road? Would he be the type of player Mick McCarthy would be after?
If only McCarthy read these blogs… I just wonder if I started up a poll to see who would like to see Giovani dos Santos pull on the Blue shirt of Ipswich again, whether the response would be a resounding YES. Quite frankly, you would have to be pretty deluded to say no.
Wishful thinking… Come home GIO!
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