Twitter and the messageboards blew up today when it was “reported” that Danny Murphy, Andy Johnson, and several others were released.
As nuance is never social media’s strong point, the list everyone was referring to (as can be seen here) was simply a list of every play who is out of contract at the end of the season. If we were to apply it to American sport, it would simply be a team’s list of unrestricted, restricted, etc free agents. Or, if anyone works in a field that utilizes a lot of seasonal workers (like I do), it’s simply everyone that is out of contract at X-date.
So this list is not an admission of Fulham saying Murphy et al will be released. Or be resigned. Or given a cookie. Just a statement of fact that’s probably required in the Premier League’s bylaws.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, just who is out of contract anyway?
Richard Michael Barroilhet (Who?)
Jonathan Graham Cosgrove (Again, who?)
Grygera Zdenek (Not surprising)
Courtney Harris (Hmm, name sorta sounds familiar…)
Andrew Johnson (Yay!)
Daniel Ben Murphy (His middle name is Ben? Why hasn’t he gone by D.B. Murphy? D. Ben? Danny B?)
Pavel Viktorovich Pogrebnyak (Eh)
Bjorn Helge Semundseth Riise (Wait, he has another name??)
Outside of Danny Murphy, losing any of these players would elicit nothing more than a shrug (though, Pogrebnyak deserves his own post arguing the pros/cons of extended his loan deal). But in the case of Andy Johnson, I really hope he’s gone. Like, right now.
Rich wrote about his goal-scoring “feats“, but I especially liked this wonderful nugget:
AJ’s goals have come against Wigan, Newcastle, Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday, Kettering, Portsmouth, West Brom, Bolton, FK Vetra, Amkar Perm, Wigan, Villa, Wolves, NSI Runavik, Crusaders, Split, Twente, Odense and QPR.
Add Wisła Kraków to that list, (scored against them in Fulham’s home fixture, which occurred after Rich’s post was written. It’s also the last goal he’s scored for the club) and you basically have the ROI on a 10 million quid player. If that’s not enough, below are charts of his league playing time each season since he’s been at the club. (Note: I excluded the Europa League and other cup competitions as it skews the data. If you wish to see how he fared in each of those, go here.)
Now, if we just assume that each team averages about 4 matches per month, and each match is 90 minutes, a decent, if not forgiving, benchmark for a starting forward would be 300 minutes played (comes out to 75 minutes per game), no?
Well, as you can clearly see he’s met that benchmark just once since his inaugural season. He’s cracked 200+ minutes in just 9 of the last 30 season months. It must be said though that he actually did participate in this season’s Europa League, playing in every qualifier and 5 of the 6 group stage matches. Though, he missed the finale against Odense due to a red card received the match before at Twente. Hmph.
It’s one thing to not renew a forward’s contract because he cannot score goals; or just goals against lowly opposition. It’s another to not renew because said player couldn’t even get on the field because of continual and various injuries.