Date: 17th July 2007 at 9:45am
Written by:

It’s been a funny old day.

One moment I’m sat peacefully at work, occasionally sneaking a glance at NewsNow when no-one’s looking, reading the same old rumours from TribalFootball recycled and re-quoted across hundreds of sites, wondering when the hell we’re going to see a rumour with a glimmer of truth in it.

I go home for lunch early, have a sandwich or two, finally manage to exorcise the ghost of Saturday nights’ mixed grill kebab (much to my relief), drop down at my desk, hit my favourite Internet Explorer bookmark…

…and my blood turns cold.

Three words scream and bounce around inside my skull, I’m in a state of shock, oblivious to the world around me.. a client calls, trying desperately to give me his credit card details and all I can think is:


…but as the afternoon progresses, somewhere in between reading rants and raves and abuse and grown men attempting to make a former Marine cry, I start to think to myself..

‘Is this really such a bad move?’

And for all the negativity I’m reading, and my own personal dislike of the player – I’ve never been a Harewood fan, nothing to do with the lad himself, more due to the fact that he hasn’t stopped scoring against us since West Ham arrived in the Premiership – I can see all kinds of logic in his signing.

I remember him bulldozing his way through Villa’s defence not once, not twice but three times in a recent match at Villa Park. He could have scored more.

I check Wikipedia, to see he has a career record of roughly one goal every three appearances (104 goals in 341 appearances) . Not bad, not brilliant, but not bad. For reference, Craig Bellamy, who is a year older and the player the Hammers have signed for twice Harewood’s reported fee, has approximately one in four (94 goals in 373 appearances). Darren Bent has one goal every 2 1/2 games (78 in 190).

I remind myself that at the moment, Carew is the only one of our forward line who has a real physical presence, and that should we lose him through suspension or injury, we’ve got no real options to replace him.

I realise that Michael Chopra, a player who struggled in the Premiership with Newcastle, had one good season in the Championship, has recently changed clubs for £5million, Nugent, untried at Premiership level, for £6million and everyones favourite golfer, Craig Bellamy, for £7.5million. Darren Bent, a player who was relegated with his club, for £16.5 million. Hell, Kieran Richardson has just moved for £5.5million. In a world of ludicrous figures like these, I start to think what a bargain the reported £3.7 million could be.

I wonder how many goals each of these players is going to net this coming season, and whether when all is said and done there really is over £11million pounds worth of difference between them. And the more I think about it, the more of the reaction I read on the forums starts to sicken me.

Even if we were in a position to do so, even if we had the carrot of European football to dangle in front of prospective signings, not every player we sign would be a world beater.

This is a player who can come in for a realistic fee and do a solid job for us at a time when we need bodies in the squad. I don’t remember Doug Ellis being barracked into hiding when we signed Julian Joachim. He never played every game, never set the world on fire, but gave us options and scored some important goals.

Harewood could quite easily do a similar job. I see him as direct competition and cover for Carew – however the pair of them played together could wreak havoc on a tiring defence, and give us another option. And his arrival’s not likely to put Moore or Gabby’s noses out of joint, either.

I’m not going to try and persuade you that Harewood’s arrival would be a coup, that it would be a fantastic signing, or that he can be the man to fire us into Europe. Nor am I going to comment any further on the player until I’ve seen a: if he signs and b: how well he does. What I will say is that anyone who was thinking we are going to go out and splash £10 million each on players to replace those who have left, or who thinks that without European football we can attract players WORTH that kind of money – is deluding themselves.

Harewood would be a solid signing. Not awe-inspiring, not gasp-inducing, not bums-on-seats megastar, but ham and cheese, work hard, run all day, knock you over solid. And at for that type of player, for £3.7million, is the kind of reaction – no, scratch that, backlash – we’ve seen today really justified?

So I’m not particularly pleased to see him in talks with the Villa, I’m not overly annoyed either. I’m willing to give him a chance to win me over, and I’ll support him while he tries to take that chance. Can’t you?


Just as an addition, Neil Baker posted these facts in the forum:

From 05/06 season:

Shots on target/goals (excl. pens)

1 Henry (Arsenal) 58/20
2 van Nistelrooy (Man Utd) 64/19
3 Bent (Charlton) 40/14
4 Rooney (Man Utd) 72/14
5 Bellamy (Blackburn) 32/12
6 Harewood (West Ham) 32/12
7 Keane (Tottenham) 37/12
8 Drogba (Chelsea) 34/11
9 Lampard (Chelsea) 62/11
10 Crespo (Chelsea) 27/10
11 Mido (Tottenham) 27/10
12 Yakubu (Middlesbrough) 35/10
13 Pedersen (Blackburn) 17/9
14 Giannakopoulos (Bolton) 20/9
15 Camara (Wigan Athletic) 27/9
16 John (Fulham) 28/9
17 Cole (Man City) 30/9
18 Nolan (Bolton) 31/9
19 McBride (Fulham) 37/9
20 Moore (Aston Villa) 15
21 Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough) 22/8
22 Beattie (Everton) 28/8
23 Ronaldo (Man Utd) 41/8
24 Defoe (Tottenham) 44/8
25 Owen (Newcastle) 13/7
26 Viduka (Middlesbrough) 22/7
27 Roberts (Wigan Athletic) 25/
28 Luis Garcia (Liverpool) 29/7
29 Vassell (Man City) 29/7
30 Baros (Aston Villa) 33/7
31 LuaLua (Portsmouth) 40/7


27 Replies to “Is Harewood Really So Bad?”

  • I have to agree. I actually voted i wasn’t keen on his arrival, but having seen him tear us apart with those 3 goals, i always dreaded seeing him play against us. For his price, he certainly could be a “decent” signing and we as fans owe him at the least, the chance to do a job for us.

  • For me Mido might have been a better option. It isn’t wrong to say top players won’t come to a club who aren’t in Europe – however what has Storey-Moore been doing all of last season? presumably he was scouting potential targets. Where are they? Not all of them would turn us down because we aren’t in Europe. I have to believe there are better options out there than Harewood. He gave no ‘options’ the the’ammers last season – what makes you believe he’ll give us any – I just hope MON can bring something out of him. He truely would be a magician if he could.

  • My initial thoughts were exactly the same as BBB’s, as were many other peoples I expect. BUT, the bloke hasn’t kicked a ball for us yet, the time to decide is at the end of the season, not the beginning. Only time will tell if he will be a good or bad signing.

  • He’s not a good enough squad player. If he is, then how come the ammers don’t think so? His goals have come in the lower leagues. Come on – lets hope he opts for wigan

  • A thought for a second here, say he does sign…comes off the bench in the local derby and puts a brace past the bluenoses!?! Scoring goals is one thing scoring the goals that count is another.If we WERE to buy him and he did nothing but score the winning goals against the blues I would be more than happy. Team game guys, we need numbers and he would help make them up.

  • An excellent article with some very valid points. Good stuff BBB, it made for an enjoyable read.

    However, these points can only be used a couple for a couple of players in a squad before the quality of the players at our disposal starts to slip backwards. I won?t be unhappy if MH signs but I will if we fatten our squad out with lots of his calibre purely to get the numbers on board.

  • that is the thing isn’t it Beefy, we do need quality, need to see we are aiming higher. Harewood might be ok, his scoring record apart from last year (was he injured all the time or just rubbish?) is ok but do we just want ok now? I think the anger isn’t about Harewood, rather that our expectations are higher now. Maybe they can’t bring in who they actually want? Targets might have had better offers, offers from clubs in Europe or might just not fancy us until we progress a bit more. Maybe next season is another consolidation season where we hopefully push further and harder in the top half? Would be good to see 2-3 quality signings, if that happens then Harewood or not, it won’t have been a bad summer and I don’t think any of us will mind if Harewood is in the team and is scoriing. Just would prefer Moore/Gabby, so hope they don’t get pushed to one side. Still, it is MON who makes the decisions and whose job is on the line if they go wrong. The success done the Leicester way won’t fit the modern game or Villa though and Celtic are a different proposition I think!

  • There is too much being made of this, we can argue till we are blue in the face but as I have posted in all the other debates about this……….£3.7m on a squad player, who (like the whole shambles that was West Ham from the boardroom to the pitch) had a bad season last year. Its not a lot of money. He scored something like 15 the season before that, 17 the season before that and 14 before that. As I’ve said in other posts, I would have liked him on the bench last November when we only had 15 fit seniors, even if he had only scored 4 goals. It may have given us an extra 8 points. What if Carew gets injured ? MON always plays a target man, wheres the cover ? its time people started getting real with all this transfer s**t, to get world class players you need to have a world class team, with a world class manager, playing in world class competitions, unfortunately we haven’t got any of these attributes yet. I watch Milan 7 or so times a year and have done for 20 odd years, as my family are from there, do you think they got where they are with a 5 year plan? where do you think the Kaka’s and Messi’s want to play ? In birmingham ? As as season ticket holder for over 22 years I have watched my beloved Villa slip backwards as other big clubs moved on. we are slowly moving forward now, so for gods sake give the board and manager a chance. We have spent £26m in the last 11 months, and I’m sure there are more to come in the next six weeks, when was the last time Villa did that ?…………if MON thinks Harewood can do a job, then fine, he knows a little bit more about football than any of us. I remember a certain Peter Withe coming to Villa and everybody slated him……….he didn’t turn out too bad in the end…….

  • he’s not a bad player, he’s just not prolific enough to win trophies for you. maybe if you signed SWP to supply him with crosses that may change………..

  • I agree with you about SWP. We have Gabby and Young who are similar players and cost us nothing. We need to sign a RB and a class CB. From there on in any players we buy must be quality players to replace those in the first team.

  • We need cover for Carew, Harewood fits the bill. Luke Moore can make the grade and become a quality striker, Gabby can only get better, Ashley Young is an amazing prospect, and Maloney isn’t a bad little player. so up front we aren’t that bad. Midfield is ok, could do with a decent playmaker, there may be one in the wind, who knows. Its at the RB and CB positions we are weak, and I’m sure someone will come in soon.

  • Good article, and I think Harewood would be a decent addition to your squad. The fact that he had a poor season under a new manager shouldnt count against him. MON can surely handle him better than Curbs did.

  • Hopefully, 24 hours on from the initial hysterical outbursts that greeted the news of his possible signing, the enraged supporters that tore into the player himself, MON, Randy, the board, in fact anything to do with AVFC, will in the cold light of day, have calmed down enough to at least comprehend that we haven’t signed the anti-christ, just a mere very useful addition to a very under-staffed squad. Those who have been crying out all summer long for the arrival of European super-stars will of course remain disappointed, and until they realise that we are not yet the big attraction or star name that will attract the top drawer players, then that emotion will remain. MON obviously believes that Harewood can do a job for us, help us continue our major rebuilding work, and play an important role in helping the club improve on last seasons eleventh place finish. For heavens sake, lets give the guy a break, and more importantly, lets give him a chance.

  • yeh i agree to, cant say im not disappointed, but if he scores against the blues he will be a legend lol

  • ok let me put it into perspective. davis out for 4mil, harewood in for 3.7mil. need i say more?

Comments are closed.