Ambition still burns in Bowyer
”IT’S important that we get the right players in, the right characters.”
These were the words uttered by the man in the Ipswich Town hot-seat a little over a year ago.
It is ironic that Roy Keane’s failure to locate these “characters” ultimately cost him his job, while Paul Jewell has, for whatever reason, had no such problems.
Further irony comes from Jewell’s latest signing Lee Bowyer. Where just a couple of years ago Owen Garvan gracefully took up the centre of the park, the Blues now have a snarling, tenacious midfielder who has many of the hallmarks of Keane, the player.
There are some footballers who make themselves both known and heard during a match while displaying an off-the-pitch persona that not everyone agrees with.
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Step forward Mr Bowyer. The on-field aggressor has been brought in by Paul Jewell to add some bite to a Town midfield that has been largely toothless in recent years.
His appearance as new signing number five seems to have been largely welcomed by Town fans who prefer to focus on the steel and grit he will add to the team rather than his off-the-field – and rather public – indiscretions.
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He has been too often involved with court cases, while the sight of him brawling with Newcastle team-mate, and former Town hero, Kieron Dyer is one of the less savoury sights in Premier League history.
Statistics wise, the reputation fares little better, with the 34-year-old booked more times than any other top division player since the start of 2010.
You can’t ignore what he has done both in and out of the game. But it would also be unfair to forget that Bowyer brings with him fantastic experience, leadership skills and a fair amount of attacking threat.
He has a young family and got married this summer and in recent years he has just focused on the game.
Footballing Marmite, Bowyer will surely be booed by every opposition fan come August.
But for Ipswich supporters, he remains fiercely competitive, yesterday saying: “It was clear that I’m joining an ambitious club. I have the same ambitions. I’m not looking to join a club that is happy in mid-table. I have always played to win and I’m no different now.
“I know I’m 34 but fitness is not a problem for me. My Pro Zone stats stood up against much younger team-mates of mine at Birmingham last season and in the opposition as well. I have played most of my football in the Premier League and it would be nice to finish my career at that level – with Ipswich.”
Fighting talk in keeping with Bowyer’s image. Town fans will be hoping the search for the “right characters” is now over.