Yesterday’s departure of Julian Bennett to Sheffield Wednesday was swiftly followed today by Little Robbie Earnshaw’s move back to Cardiff City.
Neither departure was a massive surprise, with Jules clearly having fallen down the pecking order following his career-threatening injury two and a half years ago, and Forest having stated that it would be best for him to seek pastures new; Earnie’s departure looked increasingly likely after Mark Arthur’s statement that the two parties were “some way off” in terms of negotiating terms, and especially once it became clear that the Bluebirds were interested.
Most Reds fans will wish Jules well – part of the “Meadows Mafia” back line that saw us promoted from League One, when he won the Player of the Year award and kickstarted our promotion party with a cracking goal in the final match against Yeovil (pictured above), he obviously loved playing for his boyhood club. Bennett now rejoins Gary Megson, who originally brought him to the City Ground from Walsall.
Feelings towards Earnshaw may well be rather more mixed; I suspect that the majority of Reds fans will realise that he would have had to take a significant pay cut to stay at Forest, and with an obvious parallel to Andy Reid, it must have been difficult to resist the lure of the team where you made your name. However, many were disappointed with his scoring record last season (which we believe may have been due to Billy Davies’ rotation policy and the absence of Dexter Blackstock), and as ever, when contract negotiations begin to drag, supporters’ patience starts to wear thin. However, I do think that Earnie did enjoy playing for Forest, and indeed living in Nottingham.
We wish both players well for the future, but their departures go to emphasise how thin the squad is, and as such all kinds of rumours are flying around (if you look in the right places), involving Jonathan Greening, Nicky Maynard, Joe Mattock, and some bloke called David Beckham. Erm, right. It should be said that I do not think that Forest would let so many of the more senior players go unless they had signings lined up (I really hope so anyway).
In the meantime, Steve McClaren has upset the Hibs chairman by saying that the City Ground is the “only place [Colin Calderwood] wants to come”. Oops.