Sunday, 20 March 2011

Big Fin in a small pond

You know, I feel a bit sorry for Jussi Jaaskelainen....

And not just for the fact that a large proportion of his life has been spent living and working in Bolton, or even that for most of that period, he also had to listen to and (horrendously) look at Sam Allardyce.

Jaaskelainen celebrated his 500th appearance for Bolton on Saturday by doning a pair of oil soaked gloves, and spilling a shot at the feet of the Bulgarian workhorse Dimitar Berbatov, to gift a 1-0 victory to Manchester United
Of course, besides this and a couple of other minor hiccups along the way, Jaaskelainen has proved himself not only to be one of the biggest bargains in premier league history (signed for £100,000 from Vaasan Palloseura in 1997) but also proved himself to be a player of immense quality and presence.

Which brings me to my point.....

Mr Jaaskelainen, Surley must feel a touch aggrieved that he has never had the opportunity to challenge for any major honours in his career. Not only that, but any chance of even pitting his wits against the talents of Europe have been restricted to handful of Uefa cup appearances.
We must assume that it has been the decision of Jaaskelainen to stay put at Bolton for all this time, and for that I do not blame him in the slightest. To be a big fish in a small footballing pond must be a very gratifying experience, but when your retired and have the wee little Jaaskelainen's on your knee, what would you rather be showing them, your Champions League and FA Cup winners medals, or your key to the Smithills brewery and your free pass to any concert at the orchard theatre?
Famously, the position of goalkeeper is a notoriously difficult one to fill. Look at the struggles Manchester United went through to find a replacement for the great Peter Schmeichel. During that transitional period, who was one of the names that was being banded around the Old Trafford corridors? You guessed it, Jussi Jaaskelainen. Wisely, they went for Massimo Taibi instead. Thank god that all went to plan.
But United weren't the only ones. Celtic, AC Milan and Juventus were also doing more sniffing around than a police dog going through Peter Doherty's bins,

Maybe I am being too cynical. In a world where loyalty amongst footballers is a particulary rare commodity, 14 years service and 500 appearances is in itself the reward. And at least the good people at BWFC gave Jussi the most fitting of testimonials for one of the greatest servants in the clubs history. "Only the best for you Jussi" they said, "your off to Easter Road to play Hibernian!"

And will Zinedine Zidane ever beam with pride as he tells the tale of the day that he walked up the hallowed steps of Bolton City Hall to collect his 1997 Supporters player of the year trophy?

Pffft, he wishes !


Post a Comment