One has to feel sorry for Robert Green. Castigated in the wake of England’s diabolically poor World Cup two years ago, centring on his terrible mistake against the United States of America, he was a national joke for a while. Green endured relegation with West Ham United and remained under the footballing radar for a year in the Championship. Now he has decided to step back into public life, with similarly hard to swallow consequences.
At 32-years-old, Green has forged a successful career in the top flight and the Championship with two different clubs, at which he is highly regarded by a significant proportion of the respective fan bases of West Ham and Norwich City. When the ‘keeper put pen to paper on a deal at Queen’s Park Rangers, many were suspicious. It is only right that with every new signing supporters, those most inquisitive beings, ask the difficult questions rather than just applauding gently and politely. Why was Green leaving the Hammers, a club now in the same league as the R’s ?
The answer seems rather obvious, even now – money. The ambition and infectious enthusiasm of owner Tony Fernandes was undoubtedly a contributing factor, but it is a widely acknowledged fact that down in W12 professional footballers are remunerated particularly well. However, Green ought not to be chastised for moving to a club offering a bigger pay packet. This makes him not a sinner but entirely normal in the football world. Far from questioning his motives, fans ought to be asking why the club actually signed the England goalkeeper in the first place.
This is not due to Green’s lack of ability, far from it. It is simply the logical reaction to a summer in which the club’s management has decided to play top trumps with its first choice goalkeeper position. First Paddy Kenny was ousted by Green, now the latter has been displaced by the arrival of Julio Cesar, formerly of Inter Milan. With Chelsea due to visit Loftus Road on a revenge mission, it remains to be seen whether Cesar will immediately supplant Green between the posts or the current “number one” will be able to remain in place and make up for a start that, despite being a little shaky, hardly warrants his exclusion from the side.
Losing 5-0 to Swansea City on the opening day was a debacle. The performance put in by Rangers brought up a host of concerns, namely that the new additions perhaps gave up a little too quickly on the game, leading to a midfield bereft of bite or presence, and four second-half strikes for the visitors. Green may have allowed Michu’s weak shot to beat him for the opener, leading to a chorus of groans and “I told you so” exclamations around the stadium, but he was by no means the worst performer on the day. To be driven out of the first team now would not only destroy Green’s confidence, which one can only imagine is fragile at best, but turn him into a scapegoat not for his own inadequacies, but the failings of the entire starting X1.