My name’s Neill and I’m a social misfit. It all started a few years back when Simon Haworth joined the club. I just can’t help myself; I keep defending him.
Don’t get me wrong, his behaviour during that game against Cardiff was despicable, I laughed when all his grand plans fell through and he ended up at Tranmere rather back at home, and his attitude towards the club since has been nothing short of pathetic; but I can’t get away from the idea that he was quite a good player.
His general demeanour on the pitch did him no favours, but (and I’m not comparing the skills level) neither did Chris Waddle’s. He’d probably argue that he left balls because he knew that he wouldn’t get them anyway. There were certainly some lively discussions about whether that was the case or whether he just couldn’t be arsed. Over the course of his last season and since it has become universally accepted that he was a feckless lazy git who let us down.
His goals and more importantly, for a striker, his goal scoring record go some way to disprove that. In my opinion he was played too often as a target man. Something he clearly never warmed to and yet his ration is better than 1 in 3, some of these were absolute crackers; but he wasn’t afraid of a tap in either.
He joined the club as a welsh U21 player, after previously being snatched from the claws of Cardiff by, the then, Premier League Coventry City (as snatched as you can be in a £1m+ transfer), he’d obviously struggled to make the grade at that level, but was still young enough to make it. He would later gain full international honours whilst with us. So as you can quite plainly see he came with a reputation and with plenty of potential. He quickly set about proving that, forming an integral part of Ray Matthias’ three-pronged attack.
He spent quite a bit of time injured whilst with us; and his time sat in the west stand saw him adopted as a Burberry Scarfed, Duffel Coated ‘lad’, a reputation helped by his asking questions about how ‘handy’ Wigan’s lads were, and stories of his attempts with the ladies.
So far, so good it seems. So where did it all go wrong? Somewhere along the way Simon obviously lost interest. I couldn’t tell you why for sure, but it’s too easy to lay the blame completely with the player. As a club we need to realise that young lads from Premier League Reserves are never going to be the finished article. There’s plenty of work to do in terms of attitude and skill. The club has some responsibility in this development, especially if we expect them to give their all. The next time you think about Simon Haworth think about why only two youth players have come through to the first team since Whelan came on board, if not longer, and only one of them successfully.
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