Ben Barrett Sports Writing

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Blog - Williams or Wont-iams?

Posted by Ben Barrett on August 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Williams or Wont-iams?
Returning hero or unwanted Judas?

Today, (Thursday) it emerged that Yeovil Town had made a “tentative enquiry” about getting Andy Williams back, from Swindon Town.

Careful you don’t cut yourself on that open can of worms… and get ready to clear up the mess now that a cat has been flung among the pigeons.

Williams is a controversial figure at Huish Park, after two years scoring the goals that helped keep Yeovil in League One, he signed for Swindon Town – turning down a contract described asthe Glovers “biggest ever” in the process.

Tough to take, sure, but we’ve had players leave for nothing to divisional rivals before; Huntington, Bowditch, Welsh, Smith – you get the idea.

Why was this different?

For starters, Williams was signed after being tossed on the scrapheap by Bristol Rovers, he quickly became one of the Glovers’ key men and as Gary Johnson had taken the helm, was seen by many to be the man who would lead Yeovil up the table rather than scrapping at thebottom of it.

Did he owe Yeovil some loyalty? Is loyalty a part of football anymore? There’s a whole essay in that alone.

But, in this article, Williams isquoted as saying that he needed to “consider my family and how far away I am from them so that comes into the equation”…

Fair enough, Huish Park is pretty much twice as far from his home town of Hereford as Swindon is, but it’s still only a couple of hours drive.

It would also be a factor in decided whether or not to re-join Yeovil, should it come to that.

So, it must have been the money… nope, he said that it wasn't due to the money.

“The offer that Yeovil gave me has been matched by other clubs, so it's not a financial decision.”

So, that’s that then… but hang on, if Yeovil and others matched each other, why did Yeovil fall short?

The Swindon interest was a long procedure, on signing for the Robins, Williams confirmed that there had been an enquiry during the January transfer window of 2012.

Williams said that he had wanted to test himself and see how far he could go; if we’re taking his word as golden he means that he thought Swindon had a better chance of progression into the top half of League One and onto the Championship.

If you’ve all switched on your ‘irony-o-meters’ we’ll begin; Yeovil went on to finish fourth, two places above Swindon. The sides avoided each other in the play offs, and well, you all know what happened there.

Of course, there was no way anyone could know that was going to happen.

Consider this, too, Williams had the chance to work under Paolo Di Canio, a striker with buckets of Premier League experience and the showmanship that is sure to tempt anyone in that position.

One thing was for sure, Williams would have led the line pretty much every week at Yeovil, with players like James Collins and Rafael De Vita at the club and Adam Rooney joining later on, would that be the case at Swindon?

It would actually; Williams played the vast majority of the league games for Swindon under all their managers.

So, he’s got to move closer to home, still play at League One level in a side that made the play-offs and probably on a substantial wage rise.

I’m nearly starting to understand where he is coming from, but allow me to put my Green and White glasses on.

The return of Gary Johnson has reinvigorated Yeovil, the club was buzzing, the fans were in dreamland and all we needed were the players to believe in the club and the project.

In the summer of 2012 it wasn’t just Williams who needed a new deal. Ed Upson, Luke Ayling, Gavin Williams, Paul Huntington, Dom Blizzard and two loanees from Middlesbrough were deliberating over deals.

The ‘boro lads chose northern clubs close to their parent club, and Paul Huntington had made no secret of his desire to return north – the proper north, Preston.

But key players, Upson and Ayling had signalled their intent to stay and be part of the project. Gav Williams and Dom Blizzard (eventually) followed suit. With Marek Stech joining, we had a spine of a side that needed a front man.

Williams could have been that man, supporters all wanted him to stay, but alas, he didn’t.

Could there be some hard feelings about that? Did Williams not believe in what Gary Johnson was doing? – I have no answer to these questions; I’m just putting them out there.

So, he’s a Swindon player, he’s said some pretty respectful things about Yeovil, but he would put them all behind him when the sides met in November of 2012.

He scored. Others may call it ‘doing his job’, which is fine. But those few seconds after he scored seem to have set emotions blazing.

He may or may not have kissed the Swindon badge; he may or may not have celebrated like he won the world cup. But he did not make one of those respectful and quiet walks back to the centre circle.

Should he have celebrated? Again another debate for the pub, personally I’m not a fan of celebrating against clubs that mean a lot to you. James Hayter didn’t against Doncaster and the one that sticks in my mind is Jon Obika, never a Yeovil player on a permanent basis, but on returning to Huish Park on loan for Millwall refused to celebrate a last minute equaliser. A nice touch.

We’ve explored why he may have left a sour taste in the mouthof Yeovil fans, but if Williams was making decisions “purely based on football”, so can I.

Yeovil’s search for a new front man raises questions of its own.

Do we need another striker? Madden and Hayter aren’t exactly firing at the moment, not that they won’t eventually. Back-ups Michael NGoo and Kieffer Moore haven’t been given much of a run yet and Sam Hoskins has been used predominantly in midfield.

Would a fifth out and out striker get much action? Unless one of the four we have is leaving, Moore out on loan for example or Madden to a Premier League side with a few million pounds burning in their pockets.

If the Glovers are looking for a goal scorer, it should be noted that Williams has only notched 13 goals in a Swindon shirt and of course as much Championship experience as the players he’d be trying to push out of the Yeovil team (bar Hayter).  None.

It’s also no secret that Williams’ wage is considerably higher at Swindon. Could we afford to match, or better that wage – we’re a Championship club now?

Let’s say we do, he may become one of the highest paid players which would bring its own pressures.

Based on current form and possible cost, I’d argue that Williams wouldn’t be value for money.

What about others, would Ireland international Paddy Madden be keen on someone coming in, stealing his place and getting paid more? A phone call or two from an agent could lead to that going one of two ways, a new deal or a new club. – Again, this is purely devil’s advocate stuff written in a 'worst case scenario' style.

Williams’ contract runs until the end of this season, so unless Swindon are looking to offload for free or secure a loan deal there would be a fee involved.

There are a thousand different thoughts and opinions, but itis a fascinating topic to look at.

The whole deal is at a very early stage and if we are looking at a late addition it’s safe to assume Williams isn’t the only person we’ve asked the question of.

Furthermore, Yeovil seems to be a place where players can have more than one spell. This applies more so to loanees with those like Shaun Macdonald, Owain Tudur Jones and the aforementioned Obika have been four times each.

But of course, Gavin Williams and Darren Way have both left to further their careers only to return.

Andy Williams isn’t in the same league as these two with regards to legendary status, and I don’t mind admitting he still leaves that sour taste with me. He had his chance to be part of the Johnson revolution and was tempted away by a fancy name in PDC.

I’d rather look elsewhere if we need an extra front man, but I feel that we have all the firepower we need right in front of our eyes.

With Madden, Hayter and Ngoo class is permanent and form is temporary, they’ll keep us up.

Looks like the final 10 days of the transfer window might be interesting for Yeovil Town.

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