Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Aiden McGeady - It's a Grand Old Team to Play For

The first major transfer of this window involving an Irish player looks an ideal fit for both player and club. For all the frustrations that his end product can sometimes bring, there's no doubting that, on his day, Aiden McGeady can be a classy player. The more I think of it, the more I think it's a perfect fit. No other club that end of the league would be in for him. Man City? No. Chelsea? No. Arsenal? No. Liverpool? Don't think so. Man U? No chance. Spurs? No. It would have been Everton or Newcastle really. And Everton are the better team for me. It's great for McGeady that Roberto Martinez was already an admitted fan, having tried to bring him to Wigan previously. I thought at the time that a move to a Wigan side battling relegation would have been a bad one for the player so whether through luck or judgement, the decision to stay the extra year with Spartak Moscow has been vindicated.

From McGeady's perspective it's a great opportunity to get involved at the business end of the Premier League. He's already used to playing in front of expectant crowds at Celtic and Spartak so playing at Goodison shouldn't hold any fear for him. While most commentators would agree that there is room for improvement from McGeady, Everton fans should look at the work that Martinez did with Shaun Maloney at Wigan. When Maloney first came to the Premier League with Aston Villa, he struggled with consistency and he only lasted a year before returning to Celtic with a very lacklustre season behind him. However, on his return to the Premier League under Martinez at Wigan, once he settled in his game was definitely raised and despite their eventual relegation, he was central to their survival in the league in 2012 and their FA Cup win in 2013. McGeady is a far superior player to Maloney and should Martinez have a similar influence then the end result could be something special.

From Everton's perspective, they've essentially got a player that cost £10m less than 4 years ago for a nominal fee thought to be around £500k.  Martinez is generally getting players in that feel they've something to prove. The likes of Gareth Barry and Romalu Lakuku for example, albeit they're just loan deals for now. Darron Gibson fits that category too even though he was a Moyes signing. That's the sort of squad Martinez is building and I think and hope McGeady will thrive in that atmosphere.

Added to that McGeady is joining a large Irish contingent at Everton with Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy already very influential in the team and Gibson due back from injury next season along with Shane Duffy who's done well in the Championship at Yeovil on loan so far this season . Given that none of the rest of the Irish squad are playing for a team in the top half of the table, it's a huge bonus for the national team to have 4 and potentially 5 players at one club for the foreseeable future.  Everton has always been a club with major links to Ireland and it's easy to forget these days with the huge amount of Liverpool fans in the country that pre Bill Shankly, Everton was very much the team that the huge immigrant Irish population in the city of Liverpool followed while Liverpool FC in fact counted members of the orange order amongst their founders!

An interesting post script will be the fact that when McGeady runs out at Goodison Park, it'll be to a very familiar song given that Everton also adopted 'It's a grand old team to play for' as their club anthem.  I'm sure their fans will hope that it can inspire McGeady to reproduce some of his SPL form on the bigger Premier League stage!