It’s been an eventful few days for Peter Odemwingie. After rescuing a point for Albion against Aston Villa and declaring his love for the club, it’s fair to say he’s since committed nothing short of career suicide.
After QPR and Harry Redknapp declared their interest in Odemwingie, in a move which would double his wages, the Nigerian forward made clear his desire to swap The Hawthorns for the bottom placed club. Money can only be his own motivation.
Let’s be honest, anybody who is offered double their salary to do the same job will accept. However, unlike your average 9-to-5 job there’s an emotional attachment with football clubs and their players. Rightly or wrongly, football players are worshipped from the terraces. Some more so than others, but Odemwingie is one of those players that we’ve taken to our hearts. It shouldn’t, but it hurts when a fans’ favourite turns their back on the supporters and the club. There’s a sense of betrayal.
Albion fans have always been good to Odemwingie. We welcomed him with open arms after learning of the racism he suffered in Russia. I was there away at Sunderland when our terrace anthem first caught on. For a good 45 minutes Albion’s away following at The Stadium of Light bounced up and down to Depeche Mode’s melody. Goals against Villa and a wonderful hattrick at The Molineux will live long in the memory. But, for all of the good memories Odemwingie has given us fans, it’s his Twitter meltdown on Saturday night which he’ll now be remembered for.
After his transfer request was denied by the club, Odemwingie’s petulant attack on the club and fans has seen him burn all bridges with the paying public. Realistically, if Odemwingie stays, will you still sing his name like before or have the same opinion of him? If he’d come out originally and admitted he’d been offered a deal too good to turn down then there would be no complaints – at least not from me. But his attack on the club and the fans is unforgivable. There’s no way back now.
Odemwingie forgets he was the one who agreed the contract he so desperately wants to terminate. He has used the power of social media to try and argue that with only 18 months of his contract left, he should be allowed to speak with QPR. That the club has failed to inform him of enquiries from clubs which may have been of interest and that the fans – yes, the fans – had questioned his commitment to the cause.
He was subsequently fined £78,000 when he arrived for work this morning. It’s ironic really that Odemwingie is so driven by money, yet he’ll probably not blink an eyelid at losing the best part of 80k.
His outburst also puts the club in a tricky situation. Albion insist that none of their “core players” will be sold in January. It’s good to hear that the club has taken such a stance. But with this strategy we are now left with a disgruntled staff member earning nearly £2 million a year. Albion simply can’t afford to waste that sort of money. Some fans have the opinion that we should let him rot in the reserves. That’s fine to make a point. But, with only 18 months left on his contract, if the club do wish to cash in on Odemwingie then now is the best time. It’s clear he won’t sign another deal and so his value will decrease daily. The only option, I believe the club realistically has, is to cash in on the want away striker. One thing is for sure, after Albion have now turned down two bids for the striker, Jeremy Peace will continue to play hardball.
It’s going to be an interesting few days...
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