Almost certain now that Michael Brown is going to join Wigan for around £2 to £2.5million. It represents another decent deal for the club, with us receiving at least what we paid for him if not a bit more. It was hard to see Michael getting many games with Diop, Smertin and Davis already competing for the two central positions and Jimmy Bullard due back around November time.
I liked Michael Brown a lot. There was a point, around about the end of 2006, when he was probably my favourite player. It seemed to me that MB was the only one really trying, and whilst he was never spectacular he was always committed, reliable and occasionally quite fierce. There were those "horror tackles", v Sean Davis, v Ryan Giggs and v Ashley Cole, that were impossible to defend. Once may have been put down to exhuberence, twice maybe unfortunate timing but three times - well if it looks like a fish and smells like a fish ... its a fish. To some extent you probably don't get players that are that committed who aren't also capable of the indefensible, but it doesn't make it any easier to watch. That aside I think we owe MB a huge debt in the efforts he made to retain our status.
I first saw Browny play against us, when he was still in his early twenties, for Manchester City at Maine Road. I was impressed then by his energy and enthusiasm and he made a big impact on the game, one I think we lost 4-0. He moved on from Maine Road when first team opportunities became limited and became a cult hero at Sheffield United, I wonder if it was his time under the dubious tutelage of Neil "Colin" Warnock that added that nasty side to his game. With United failing to reclaim a Premiership spot, Spurs took an interest and he moved to White Hart Lane in 2004 when Jaques Santini was still in charge. Sometime between the fallout from the end of Santini's reign and Martin Jols eventual accumulation of every available midfielder in the country, Brown fell out of favour but whenever he did get an opportunity he put in a performance. I was very pleased when we managed to pick him up last year, and whilst it's only been 18 months since we signed him, feel that he's played a major role in retaining our top division status in the last two campaigns. He did go off the boil as last season descended into panic, but by then the wheels had well and truly come off the carriage. I think it's the right time for him to move on and wish him well at Wigan where I hope he finds a more long lasting home. I just hope he doesn't break any one's legs when we come up against him next season!
One last news item, it also looks certain that we have managed to complete the signing of "New Kevin Doyle" Roy O'Donovan from Cork City. Both the The Irish Times and the Irish Independent are reporting we have verbally agreed terms with O'Donovan being loaned back to Cork for the remainder of their season. I really quite like the "Current Kevin Doyle" so if the nomenclature is accurate I reckon we could have picked up a bit of a steal here.