Soapbox: thanks Lorik – and all the best

soapbox


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………..

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16 thoughts on “Soapbox: thanks Lorik – and all the best”

  1. I suspect that Campbell would sign for Billingham Synthonia if they could scrape the cash together. Surely we should be doing a lot better than this?

  2. Campbell’s missus already lives in Northumberland, doesn’t she? Hence why he’s actually entertaining the idea of moving here so he’ll be close-by.

    Also on the Westermann front, I think we and Schalke are both agreeing on the deal. The sticking point is, Westermann wants to stay and play Champions League football next season with Schalke so isn’t to keen on moving.

    That’s what I know anyways.

  3. I was just on the Northern Echo site, which says of Campbell, “Sunderland are keen to do everything they can to lure him to the North-East, where he has property.”
    I don’t like the sound of that. The Sunderland Echo, meanwhile, says Bruce also has a bid in for Heiko Westermann, who was kept out of the German World Cup squad because of a foot injury. As long as that doesn’t turn into a chronic condition, maybe he’s our best bet.

  4. Campbell is certainly not the answer. I can’t believe Arsenal is thinking about offering him another year but he says they’re talking about it. I just hope this and Celtic’s apparent interest isn’t swaying Bruce. Maybe it’ll all be academic, though, if the new Mrs. Campbell decides the Metro Centre doesn’t offer attractive-enough shopping!

  5. Increasingly it’s looking as if we won’t end up with Mensah. Regardless of his injury hit season, the results obtained when John played and when he didn’t show what a huge contribution and difference he made. With the best will in the world, if there’s not to be a return for Big John, I really don’t think that Campbell comes within a country mile of being the answer. We reallly ought to be doing better than this. Campbell thought that Notts County was about his mark last season, lets not forget!

  6. Increasingly it’s looking as if we won’t end up with Mensah. Regardless of his injury hit season, the results obtained when John played and when he didn’t show what a huge contribution and difference he made. With the best will in the world, if there’s not to be a return for Big John, I really don’t think that Campbell comes within a country mile of being the answer. We reallly ought to be doing better than this. Campbell though that Notts County was about his mark last season, lets not forget!

  7. The persistent-injury question is always a troubling one. It’s why I think we might wind up with Sol Campbell rather than John Mensah. Mensah had a great World Cup but how much of a grueling Premiership season can his back stand up to?

  8. All the comments above are spot on. A good signing for last season and if we are to progress then we can’t have another season of Clatter ’em all and Cana going for the same ball etc. Turned out better than it might have done last season as young Lee was injured a lot so we saw more of Cana. Swashbuckling style had wide appeal but no creativity or goals from him.

    As for Campbell. Past it and has been for some time.

  9. I liked Cana’s uncompromising approach to the game but in a sport where any form of contact is a prelude to auditions for the local amateur dramatic society where those tackled seek to emulate dying swans, a hawk in the guise of Cana was always likely to become something of a liability.

    With so much of our game requiring speed and an ability to turn quickly I am far more worried about the possible arrival of Sol Campbell than the departure of Cana.

    I wish our Albanian wolf well and thank him for his seasons entertainment, the hunger and commitment always went down well with the faithful.

    In the meantime, by the time Sol has read the game and the brain cells have ground into gear as to the appropriate action to be taken, the youth of today have scampered past him. Great servant though he has been to football it is a bit like keeping on a geriatric family retainer.

  10. He epitomised all what the SAFC fans wanted to see with passion in the team and I’ll miss him this season. The dip in form was probably all it was, a ‘dip’. His performance against the Liverpool was the singularly best performance from a defensive player I ever seen (not just in an SAFC shirt).
    But let’s move on and I’m excited with Riveros after watching him in the WC. Calm, calculated tacking & comfortable on the ball.
    Good luck Loric, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the CL in the coming season.

  11. It was good deal getting him and I think a good one moving him on.
    He was likeable and I hope he does well in the future.
    But, a captain and a loose cannon all in one was at times as scary for us as for the opposition!
    I think it will be good for Cattermoles game. Loric was never a calming influence.
    So good luck to him but as me granny used to say.”He was no Jimmy McNab!”

  12. The speed at which is happened makes me think all parties involved thought it was the best idea.

    I think Bruce’s notion to toughen us up backfired a bit because we ended up with almost two identical players in the middle of the pitch: Cattermole and Cana. Cattermole is English, cost more, is younger, and more adventurous (remember his overlap and left foot cross against Blackburn for Kenwyne Jones’ equaliser?) so it makes sense that Cana is the one to go.

    Good luck to him.

    And as much as I feel we should be helping “nurture the English youth to help the national team” with Bruce at the helm I also find myself screaming “more Bolivians!!” I guess that’s what you get when you have to pay £15m for an average English player these days and you can sign someone like Lorik Cana for £5m.

  13. Wow, what a start to the day! Good – not great – player who will be missed. But not that much. I’d rather we (almost) got our cash back on him after a good year’s service, than he has an average season and leaves for £5.42 and a tube of spangles, which is a distinct possibility after seeing him in the winter months of last season.

  14. It’s a bit of a shock as there was no mention about it until he was gone! Good luck to the bloke, he would of struggled to hold down a place in the coming season. FTM

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