Schlong song

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Do I need to remind you of my feelings towards Paul Scharner?  Things will be so much easier if we can leave that at my never having rated him, he was my favourite left back, provided that he was left back in whichever suburb of Washington is reserved for c-list footballers.  He might have played like Cryuff in his head but on the pitch it was a different matter.  When it comes down to it, he was pretty much a pillock off the pitch as well.

His farewell to Latics was typical ‘trying to too hard to be wacky’ Scharner.  Just as he arrived with blue and white hair he departed like a seven year old who has been given free reign on the coloured hair spray stall at the school summer fair, with the added bonus of the word “thanx” shaved round the back.  Still, untypically for the Austrian, he left his other (chosen?) personality trait at home and we didn’t get a pointlessly outspoken goodbye interview.

It was going to come sooner or later though and in the same week that we get Lee Cattermole thanking the club for his time here, Mr Scharner pops along to tell us that i) the chairman has given up the ghost, ii) he was let go as a cost cutting measure and for good measure, iii) Latics ate going down because they’ve not got enough experience (read, because he does play for us any more).  As a first press statement it certainly knocks “I’d like to thank every one at Wigan for their support but I’m delighted to be joining such a massive club as West Brom” into a cocked hat.

I’ve not got a clue what Paul Scharner actually thinks of the club that gave him his introduction to the Premier League other than, perhaps, us never quite matching his desire for a club small enough to be bullied by his constant threats of buggering off and regular side swipes about positions and tactics.  Who knows whether there was ever any truth in the links with Fulham, Everton and Villa, but the tale that he scuppered a move to the latter, last season, with an insistence that he be played in midfield is very believable, and carries a delicious amount of irony.

The truth about Paul Scharner is held in the fact that pretty much no-one wanted him this summer.  His ‘dream’ move to Fulham scuppered by Hodgson tripping off to Liverpool and the then expected interest from the scousers never materialised on account of him not being good enough.  He’s no 30 and comes with pretty much no resale value to any club that signs him.  After two years of pissing and moaning about successive managers, being a bad influence within the squad and generally not playing very well, he’s pretty much a risk for any club, let alone one in such a fragile state of development as Latics.

I suspect that is more like why he was deemed surplus to Bobby’s requirements, of course the not insubstantial reduction in  the wage bill will have been more than welcome, but there’s no way the decision to bin him was purely an economic one.  Mr Whelan may have decided that economic stability trumps half cocked stabs at a Europa Cup place but throwing the towel in?  Hardly.

I’m not even sure that accusations of inexperience are properly levelled.  Of course it’s a concern for the club and we’re at a difficult stage of development but this isn’t a side completely of 19 year olds and it’s more a question of how the likes of Alcarez translate their experience to this league.

Of course the bigger questions are not in what he said, but why Paul Scharner has chosen to ignore the traditional ‘polite nod back, let’s move forward’ line usually reserved for these situations.  I reckon it’s all about ego.  it could be the obvious lash out at people who’ve rejected him, but I reckon that it’s a bit more deep seated than that.

My view of Scharner is of someone who has taken a great deal of care in cultivating a ‘cult’ hero status.  The last few months of his Latics career took the edge off that and he’s seen an opportunity to grab back some credibility in Latics start to the season.  He strikes me as a man who likes to read his own press and I’m guessing is plugged in and not beyond the odd trawl of the internet.  His comments reflect the mass panic prevalent before the Spurs game and I reckon that they’re carefully aimed at sounding like he’s on the side of the fans, that he’s been chucked by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, backed care about the club anymore.

Hopefully he’s misjudged the mood, mostly because I want to get last month’s panic out of the way and move onward and upward, but also because I can’t stand the thought of the Austrian staying any longer in the Latics consciousness than is absolutely necessary.  If I baulked at the idea of Stuart Barlow having anything like cult status, then I’m not going to stand for Paul Scharner getting it.

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