Can I say pleasant things about someone who has just slung his hook for a whopping pay rise? I suppose it all depends really. We’ll have to go down the whole rigmarole of arguing over whether the money he was after effectively priced him out of getting a new contract at Wigan Athletic, or whether no new contract was forthcoming because we knew he was looking for £70,000 a week or even the third view which is we should be shelling out £70k a week to keep our best players.
We’ll never know and now Hugo has gone so let’s look at the memories, the memories which we can assume are the reason people voted for him. He was signed by Steve Bruce on 25th January 2009 on a three and a half year deal from Mexican outfit Necaxa for a fee of £4,500,000. He replaced the outgoing Emile Heskey who had moved to Aston Villa three days previously. His debut came on 28th January 2009 in a home game against Liverpool when he came onto the field of play as a substitute for Amr Zaki. The Blues drew 1-1 with his fellow debutant, Mido scoring the penalty that secured the point. Those last few lines were taken direct from Bernard’s archives but I also recall he nearly smashed the crossbar in half with a free kick that night in what could have been an even more memorable debut.
He scored some decent goals for us, most notably the season before last and also including the most important goal of all, at Stoke in May 2011 as Wigan Athletic survived yet another last day attempt on their Premier League lives. If that’s not a reason to wrestle him to the ground and kiss him all over I don’t know what is. Take a friend with you if you’re also planning to do the same to David Unsworth as well mind you.
His first League game under Roberto Martinez also saw him score a screamer of a volley to ritually humiliate Villa on their own patch on the opening game of the season. He also scored the only goal against Spurs in the 9-1 revenge victory at White Hart Lane; a crucial, unspectacular but ecstatic winner at home to Burnley and seemed particularly fond of netting against Liverpool.
What other way to remember a player like Hugo but for the goals? Sadly, he appeared to be on the wane last season, through injury and frustration on the sidelines and too often fluffed goal attempts and seemed unsettled when he was in the team. A shame as this is a player with unbelievable, natural skill even if finishing isn’t always his strongest one.
He will be sorely missed by Wigan Athletic fans as he has become a firm part of several chapters of the Premier League story, and his ahem, boisterous family will be missed at away games. It’s difficult to wish him too well for the future as we’ll be coming up against him before we know it. I’m gauging the mood here but until he does something daft when he plays against us, I think he will get a decent reception….we’ll see anyway
As at the end of season 2011/12 he had made 92+20 Premier League appearances, scoring 24 times. His goal scoring record is the best ever in the Premier League beating the previous best of 20 which was secured by Henri Camara.
Bernard’s bit of Hugo Rodallega trivia – did you know that Hugo played as an emergency goalkeeper during Copa America 2007?
THE TNS TOP 50 RUNDOWN
41. Hugo Rodallega
42. James McCarthy
43. Mickey Worswick
44. Noel Ward
45. Simon Haworth
46. Gary Caldwell
47. Mike Pollitt
48. Bert Llewellyn
49. Bryan Griffiths
50. = Graham Barrow
50. = Maynor Figueroa
50. = Paul Jewell
50. = Graham Kavanagh
50. = Henri Camara
50. = Lee Cattermole
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