Saturday, 6 June 2009
The Lee Bowyer Obituary
Lee Bowyer has had two spells with the club and, frankly, has hardly covered himself in glory on either occasion. In fact, I reckon he was as much to blame for our relegation in 2002/03 as Roeder and Breen. In a similar way to Neill having an effect greater than his playing performances in helping us to escape the drop, so the negative effect Bowyer had on our dressing room was, I believe, far greater after he joined the struggle against the drop than any mistakes he might have made on the pitch. David James came as close as he could to saying that "the black lads" in the dressing room didn't want Bowyer at the club but their concerns were ignored. But Paulo Di Canio was probably delighted to see another blackshirt in the dressing room I suppose.
I must confess that I find it difficult to be objective when it comes to Bowyer. I don't want to risk a legal action so I copy and paste from the net:
"AFTER being cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to an Asian student, Leeds United footballers Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate learned yesterday that they could find themselves in court again when the family of Sarfraz Najeib announced a civil action against the players and their club.
The family of Najeib, who was "within inches" of being beaten to death by a drunken mob, plans to allege that the attack was racially motivated, an element which was ruled out at two lengthy criminal trials which ended last week.
Although the two players were cleared by a jury of causing grievous bodily harm to Najeib, both admitted they were drunk and Woodgate was found guilty of affray. They could now be punished financially in a civil action, where the burden of proof is based on balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt. The players already face legal costs of up to £1million from the criminal trial.
While one of the players’ friends was sentenced to six years in jail for causing Najeib’s injuries, Woodgate was given 100 hours community service - a punishment which the Najeib family described as "shocking."
Najeib, 19 at the time, suffered fractures to his nose, cheekbone and left leg as well as a bitten cheekbone after being chased by a gang in Leeds city centre on 12 January, 2000. He spent eight days in a hospital.
Suresh Grover, spokesman for the family, said Najeib was still suffering 23 months after the attack.
"He finds it difficult to proceed with normal life," Grover said at a news conference. "He was within inches of being killed. The mental and physical scars will live with him for the rest of his life."
Grover described last week’s court verdicts as "illogical." He said the family would continue its search for justice by pursuing damages against the players and the club.
"The family believes that this action is necessary now to ensure lasting justice for Sarfraz and [his brother] Shahzad but also to ensure that these incidents are treated with the seriousness they deserve and that they do not occur again," he said.
"The family also believe that Leeds United football club failed to control their players and were involved in a cover-up."
Najeib’s father, Mohamad Najeib, said the family was stunned by last Friday’s verdicts.
"After consulting my lawyers, we have decided that my sons have no choice but to proceed with a civil action and to bring those responsible for the attack to justice," said Najeib snr.
Bowyer is a thug on the pitch and, seemingly, a thug off it too. Who can forget that disgraceful on pitch brawl with Kieron Dyer back in their Newcastle days? In 51 starts plus 9 as sub, Bowyer managed to rack up as many as 18 yellow cards and one red. The only surprise about that statistic is that he saw red just the once - but I wonder how many of his 19 substitutions were to prevent the probability of a second yellow?
In his first spell with the club, Bowyer failed to contribute a single goal but second time around he did a bit better, chipping in with 5 goals in 40 starts. However, a glance at the opposition he scored against puts this into perspective: Wigan, Miserableborough, Derby County and Macclesfield. His second spell has been blighted by injury (inevitably) and he has been asked to play out of position, wide on the right or left, far too often. He lacks the pace to play wide and his greatest strength is arriving late in the box to get on the end of crosses, so successive managers have failed to use him to best effect.
Bowyer's best game for us was probably that 5-0 victory at Derby, when he scored twice. Less happy memories include the six goal thumpings at Man Utd and Reading.
I can't see many tears being shed about Bowyer's departure. Mind you, the Newham branch of the BNP might fly their Union Jack at half mast on the day he finally signs for Birmingham.
Posted by Hammersfan at 12:47