He was our cultured polyglot, a man more interested in Durham Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall than ringing up Anthony Stokes for a list of North-eastern nightspots. A never-say-die midfield rock who’d not shirk at the toughest tackle, or worry unduly about the ref’s cards. And now he’s gone, after just a season. Pete Sixsmith wishes him bon voyage …
My brother, who now lives in extreme penury in Thessaloniki, speaks well of Albanians. Hard workers, great work ethic, but inclined to bugger off for more money/ better working conditions at the first available opportunity.
Lorik Cana seems to have lived up to this particular national stereotype. He had a decent season with us, re-established himself as a first choice player and then upped and offed to Galatasary who lured him with the promise of Champions’ League football and copious air miles to Pristinja.
I was rather surprised to see this as the local media had nary a mention of it. The Northern Echo is running a competition to see how many more Scots Gordon Strachan can sign (he is currently lining up Drs Finlay and Cameron as his full back partnership and then he is hoping to bring in Chic Murray as a playmaker), while The Journal is speculating that the Mags may well sign Raoul Moat as a calming influence on Andy Carroll.
Why has he gone? Well, the official line is “to be closer to his family”, which is believable and may well be right. There will be oodles of conjecture, so let The Fat One weigh in with his twopennorth.
I suspect he realised, or had been told, that he would not have a guaranteed place for next season, with the arrival of Riveros and Al Muhammadi (I know he’s a full back, but he can play in midfield)..
Add to that the fact that the shambles in South Africa means there has to be more room for English players and it gives Bruce and Black an opportunity to pair up Cattermole and Henderson in the middle of the park, with Colback “training on”.
It also means that we have an opportunity to be a little more expressive and a little less aggressive, as Lorik was rather a fierce character. There will be dancing in the streets and squares of North London as Gooners celebrate the departure of the dirtiest player since Ghenghis Khan kicked some poor prisoners head into Fulwell Road – although they will have to come up with another excuse for defeat in September.
Cana was a good signing and did a good job for us, particularly in the first half of the season. Fans liked him because of his all action style and his ferocious tackles, although some of us became concerned that he had been found out as the season went on. He cost us a years wages and did what he was there to do. For this we thank him and hope that his time in Istanbul is as enjoyable for him as the North East was. I am sure that he will be scanning Amazon for guidebooks to St Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.
As for the future; Michael Turner is the natural choice for captain. He is a good one and I remember him bringing Meyler into the Spurs game when the young Irishman had not been anywhere near the ball for the first ten minutes. That’s a good captain.
Of course, it could always go to Big John Mensah. Well, an old man can dream, can’t he………..