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McCarthy: Forest Game Could Be Berra's Last for Town
Friday, 5th May 2017 14:46

Town boss Mick McCarthy admits that Sunday’s game at Nottingham Forest could be central defender Christophe Berra’s last match for the Blues with the 32-year-old Scotland international keen to return home for family reasons.

McCarthy says the Blues are yet to take up the one-year option on Berra’s contract which otherwise is up this summer.

“Possibly, that’s not been taken up,” the Blues boss said when asked if the match at the City Ground might be the final time Berra wears a Town shirt.

“It’s been widely known that Christophe has got a desire to be back up in Edinburgh because of his daughter.

“And I met her on the pitch on Saturday and I said to him ‘I can see why you want to go back to Edinburgh’.

“They’re still discussing that between him and Marcus. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to keep a player that wasn’t happy and not wanting to play.

“But we all know that if we did take up his option I think Christophe is also resigned to the fact that he’d play. He wouldn’t come back and down tools, he’d probably still be the best defender and he’d want to play.”

Regarding the option, the Blues boss added: “We have to give him a letter to take up his option by the end of May. There’s not a decision been made on that yet.

“People don’t always like options but I think [owner] Marcus [Evans] has been double shrewd and clever in terms of us having all these players on options this year and had we been relegated, we’d still got the options and their wages would have been seriously cut.

“I think it’s a great motivating tool when you’re coming to the end of the season. I’ve seen it, I pretty much saw it when I turned up here, there were one or two not bothered because they weren’t going to be here anyway, their contracts were up, they could walk out, they were going to get relegated, they’ll probably get another job in the Championship.

“That’s stops that - ‘By the way, if we get relegated you’re still here and you’re going to be on 50 per cent, 40 per cent, 30 per cent of your salary’. If that’s not a motivation to run around and make sure the club stays in the league, I don’t know what is.”

Might Town look to take up the option then look for a fee with Berra’s former club Hearts - from where McCarthy signed Berra for £2.3 million in 2009 when Wolves manager - repeatedly having been linked and Rangers also reported to be keen?

“That’s really Marcus’s shout, to be honest,” the Town manager added. “I get that. I guess if there was a deal to be done with another club even if it was a swap deal and they said ‘Right, we’ll sign him and we’ll swap him for somebody’ but that’s not the case.

“It’s a difficult situation and it’s kind of a sad one because we’ve got a really good defender but I get it. Football is not everything, he’s got a family. And, as I said, I saw his little girl on the pitch on Saturday and if she was my daughter - or my granddaughter as the case may be - I’d want to be spending time with her as well.”

McCarthy says that purely based on football he’d certainly keep hold of Berra, who he brought to Portman Road on a free transfer following his release by Wolves in the summer of 2013.

“Yes, no question he’d be here,” he continued. “As a defender, he’s one of the best I’ve worked with. Consistent, plays games, he’s quick, he’s good in the air. He’s just been a pretty much ever-present whenever he’s been fit.

“There was as spell he didn’t play at Wolves but I don’t know how many games he’s played under me, quite a lot I think, 300 maybe.”

He added: “He’s a really top defender, he’s been a really good servant to both clubs, certainly while I’ve been there, and he’s a good guy as well. He’s just a really top professional. I can’t speak highly enough of him actually.”

Berra has made 183 starts and one sub appearance for the Blues, scoring 14 goals.


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xrayspecs added 14:52 - May 5
quick?
5

theblueginger added 15:05 - May 5
Solid CB but probably for the best to see him go now.
7

bbg added 15:07 - May 5
Would like to see Berra stay along with Chambers for his experience and aerial strength, but certainly not on the left of 3. If he leaves we may need Taylor's experience to replace him.

For me Smith has a lot to do to return as first choice CB, whether in a 2 or 3. He certainly does not lack for commitment or bravery, but lacks a bit of mobility out wide in a 3. A lack of pace can be compensated by good reading of the game, but he has not shown enough evidence of that for me.

Knudsen has done very well on the left of three CB's, which would leave an opportunity for Kenlock or Nydam at LWB.

I expect we will look for Watkins from Barnsley to replace Lawrence in the inside left position, which would be another very good free signing.
2

12th_Man added 15:08 - May 5
No real loss if he leaves bee poor this season
2

chrisw2045 added 15:09 - May 5
He is actually deceivingly quick
1

Pencilpete added 15:14 - May 5
Those of us who have seen Drissa Diallo, Georges Santos and Ibrahima Sonko appreciate just how solid and dependable Berra has been over the last 4 years, solid, no nonsense and has popped up with his share of important goals as well. Having said all that he is 32 and his heart is understandably not in it anymore so I would let him go but I still respect what he has done in the blue shirt. Good luck Christophe !
20

Bluetone added 15:19 - May 5
Wish that had read
Berra: Forest Game Could Be McCarthy's Last at Town-
10

iaintaylorx added 15:22 - May 5
Berra has been a solid signing for us and I would have no qualms for him staying. However, if it means freeing up some wages for a couple of younger signing like Webster, then it wouldn't be a bad thing!
6

Matt_Portman added 15:23 - May 5
I get he's not Venus on the ball, but people fail to understand how good his positioning and reading of game is defensively. For previous two seasons he's been remarkable in always being in right place and helps his partner to do likewise. Wobble in form this year is there for all to see, whether or not due to age, daughter or whole squad performance is open to debate.
8

Radlett_blue added 15:23 - May 5
So, we should be thrilled that Evans has been preparing Town for life in League 1?
No real surprise; that's the limit of his ambition.
3

ITFCGloryDays added 15:25 - May 5
“I think it’s a great motivating tool when you’re coming to the end of the season. I’ve seen it, I pretty much saw it when I turned up here, there were one or two not bothered because they weren’t going to be here anyway, their contracts were up, they could walk out, they were going to get relegated, they’ll probably get another job in the Championship.

“That’s stops that - ‘By the way, if we get relegated you’re still here and you’re going to be on 50 per cent, 40 per cent, 30 per cent of your salary’. If that’s not a motivation to run around and make sure the club stays in the league, I don’t know what is.”

Oh that's heartening to read.
3

Hegansheroes added 15:26 - May 5
If he's quick my God we've got some lame donkeys and as for being the best defender, on the evidence of this season we must have some utter crxp. As for Evans being clever, well yes he is at ripping people off not only with season tickets but also in his other businesses, have a look at the many web sites. Re the one year deals I would have thought that was basic common sense these days.
3

Devereuxxx added 15:39 - May 5
Out of the back 4, he's probably the one i'd let go. When playing a back 2 rotate between Smith, Chambers and Webster - and perhaps get in 1 more option for when playing a back 3.
5

bontcho added 15:44 - May 5
Been a good servant, just feel he's aging and a move is good timing. With Chambers, Smith, Webster and (probably) Taylor - plus Knudson and Emmanuel if we play 3 centre backs- I reckon we could spend our budget elsewhere.
7

phillo added 15:49 - May 5
Quick 😂😂😂
Seriously though a good servant but just over his best this year so go with our thanks & blessings and perm 3 (or 2) CB's from Smith, Webster, Chambo, Knudsen, possibly Taylor & either a youngster or a new CB. That's plenty & will allow us to play 2 or 3 formations and allow for any injuries.
On another tack have you noticed how Mick has started to drop in comments about how "that's up to Marcus" or "I believe we haven't taken up his option". Does he genuinely want us to believe he doesn't know these things/isn't part of the decisions !!!
It's almost like he's trying to say it's out of his hands (which I agree is the case where a player wants to go) but he did the same over Chambo in Jan and has done this previously.
I cannot believe that it's his huge ego he would accept a situation where he isn't involved in player decisions ... so why try to pretend !!!
All part of his "deflection" tactics in my view - trying to move away from any criticism and/or pulling others in.
Poor management in any industry in my view .... take responsibility, be prepared to accept criticism & respect others (fans) and you may find people have a bit more respect for you sir !
5

happybeingblue added 16:01 - May 5
Berra has been a good player for us but think his performances have dipped this season so probably time for the scottish pub league :) but Edinburgh is a beautiful city so can understand his family issues
4

PackwoodBlue added 16:05 - May 5
"Marcus [Evans] has been double shrewd and clever in terms of us having all these players on options this year and had we been relegated, we’d still got the options and their wages would have been seriously cut.

How negative it is that this is how Evans views the club. Just covering his own wallet.
-1

DurhamTownFan added 16:10 - May 5
Call it clever if you want, Mick, but it shows a shocking lack of ambition from the club. I'd be saying different if we went down I'm sure, but we shouldn't even be thinking about going down!

Shows how far the club has declined under Evans' ownership
1

jas0999 added 16:37 - May 5
I think Berra would like to go and if that's the case we should let him. Great service and player for the club. I suspect Evans will look to trigger the deal, so he can command a fee, which won't be reinvested. I hope I'm wrong.

If Berra does leave then a replacement of similar quality must be brought in. Not a player who has never played, on half the wage for free.
2

PortmanTerrorist added 17:04 - May 5
Top defender but reliability has dipped. Genuinely top guy and don't think it is age, but we need to improve. The current crop have proved incapable of taking us forward so we need to be better. Hopefully Webster adds something.

However it is further forward that needs massive surgery !
2

Ferguson added 17:31 - May 5
Got that one covered. Shame to lose and international all the same. Lamg may yer lum reek and au revoir Christophe. A VOTRE SANTE !
2

Swn98 added 17:31 - May 5
Good luck Christophe the fact that Rangers are interested is evidence of your worth as a player even at 32.
-1

howdonblue added 17:39 - May 5
Good luck Berra !!

Wish it was you and Evans leaving Mick !
1

howdonblue added 17:42 - May 5
They’re still discussing that between him and Marcus. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to keep a player that wasn’t happy and not wanting to play. -


Well Mick there's 20,000 fans who don't want to keep you so take the same approach and leave yourself !
2

Cheshire_Blue added 18:03 - May 5
howdonblue, don't you mean a handful of posters on TWTD?
-2


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