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Time for some Sol searching, Campbell

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Robbo Robson | 10:15 UK time, Friday, 25 September 2009

Well I'm all ears, Sol. Why the sudden U-turn? How on earth can a narrow defeat at Morecambe convince you that life at the majestic Meadow Lane was not up to much?

Admittedly it doesn't help when the Morecambe team dress up as Arsenal just to remind you of where you once were. And actually Morecambe isn't that much to write home about. I lived there for a couple of months and all I can remember was a force nine gale and windows bathed in sea salt.

But what the hell was Campbell up to? They've got the big time Charlies pumping the cash in and he takes a decent whack of it for 90 minutes and he's off. Is he going freelance a la Flintoff? A kind of roaming Red Adair of a centre-back who can give you 90 minutes of solid resistance and move on to his next big challenge? To be fair he's not in tip-top shape I reckon.

There are questions Notts County need to ask - like is Ian McParland going to last? 'Cos no one really thought he would once Sven swaggered into town. It must be hard to be heard above all that sheer animal attraction. There can't be a tea lady in Nottingham who doesn't swoon over her custard creams every time the suave Swede sweeps by.
Sol CampbellCampbell walks out for his first and last game
And any road why would you listen to Ian McParland when a former England manager not called McClaren is sitting in the big chair upstairs?

That's for them to sort out, but Mr Campbell? We've been here before, a bit. In February 2006 the lad went AWOL and there were all sorts of mutterings from the Arsenal camp. At the time, Robert Pires said "He certainly has a big worry on the private side and that is what is upsetting him."

We've never been able to work out what that was and the lad has a right to a private life as much as anyone else does (apart from that numpty uni lecturer who claimed female students were a perk of the job - I reckon that bloke needs his whole life out in the open for serious assessment. I mean any old baldy bloke that tells the truth about that sort of thing is going to get seriously larruped isn't he?)

Now if he was Mark Hughes's player, then his behaviour could be explained away as emotional. As in, Emmanuel embedded his studs in that lad's temple 'cos he cares, and Craig Bellamy gave that United fan a clip 'cos he's passionate.

Personally I wasn't too fussed by Bellamy's actions. Then again I was quite pleased when I read up on that South London nana that Cantona Kung-Fued a while back. The lad wasn't exactly a terrace favourite and even Palace fans welcomed Eric's Scholesesque assault.

I've never quite bought the 'he's a fully committed and emotional footballer so we need to give him a break' argument. (It's the Rooney rationale - 'cos a bloke can be brilliant and bloody dangerous we should overlook the mad bit for the sake of the common - or United - good.)

It's not so different from that argument you get from some bull-necked low-rung-on-the-evolutionary-ladder dog-walker who explains to you that his pooch is barking and snapping at your intimate areas 'cos he's 'a highly-strung breed what likes to be a pack leader'. You can either answer 'well, may he always be so ferocious in defending his character' or you might say 'neuter the little bleeder, I'm sure he'll still be able to sniff a backside and chase the same twig for 90 minutes.'

Emotion is not an excuse for rubbish behaviour. Serena Williams was a mite hacked off at Flushing Meadows but there's no need to threaten to asphyxiate an official on the fur of a tennis ball. Is there? Drogba was most narked at Mr Ovrebo (not heard him mentioned much in Uefa circles just recently) but did he have to bawl into a camera like he was auditioning for Inglourious Basterds?
Sol Campbell at the 1998 World CupCampbell in the thick of the action at France 98
Sol is a fine footballer. I still remember them rampaging forward forays v Argentina in 1998, when he looked as good as that previous master of Nottingham centre-back play, Des Walker. He strolled onward like an elephant stomping through the underbrush in the Jungle Book.

But you just wonder what he was expecting when he turned up in League Division Two. Here's what he said: "The hard work starts now but I am confident that something special is being created at the club which will yield a club and a team able to match the ambitions of the new owners, management and proud fans."

Blimey. Hard work? Five-year contract = 1 game? I'm hoping the lad will come out and tell us exactly what Notts County don't have that, I dunno, Portsmouth do. (Nothing as far as I can tell, in fact County can actually buy good players if they want to).

I mean I've sometimes made the error of spending an evening in a pub other than the Blue Bell. You know, one where they've only wallpapered one wall, the pool table's got a pink cloth, there's not a net curtain in sight and some two-bit student is perched in the corner singing some squeaky Coldplay nonsense to a guitar. Thing is, though, unlike Sol, I've lived with my decision and stuck it out til last orders.

Wenger may reckon he's still good enough for the Premier League. But who's going to hire Sol Shambles again?


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