Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

September 23, 2009, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

Just one month into a suspiciously long five-year deal, Solzil Jeremiah Campbell has decided to suddenly quit Notts County.

The scenes are remniscient of Campbell’s infamous half-time resignation from Arsenal during a Premier League game against West Ham United.  Ever since that unprofessional display, questions have surrounded Sol’s mental state and ability to handle the pressure of playing professional football.

Sol Campbell Leaves Notts County

All of this seems a crazy accusation to throw at someone who has played football (to an excellent standard) at the highest level.  Why would someone who made two successive World Cup Best XIs leave fourth division Notts County because of stress?

So why has he quit?

There are three possibilities.  The first is too libelous to be published, but Sol’s private life has long been a subject of public intrigue and can easily be found with a quick google search.  It’s entirely plausible that the defender is bored with being plagued by rumour and insinuations, and has decided to up sticks and finish his career abroad, away from the unfortunate whispers about what he gets upto behind closed doors.

Again though, that seems quite an unlikely turnaround.  Although Campbell is prone to some outrageous short-thinking gaffes (as Spurs fans will attest) he seems a fairly bright and intelligent man, and he must have been able to understand the gossip-mongerers would follow him, no matter which division he’s playing in.

More likely is the ‘big time Charlie’ syndrome.  Although Sol had some experience playing against teams in the bottom division, he would only have done so in ‘electric’ cup matches.  Playing the ‘baddy’ for a decade in Giant Killing matches must leave an intrigue over the romance of playing for the ‘little’ team.

Big Sol's smile got quickly turned upside down at Meadow Lane
Sol’s smile turned upside down at Meadow Lane

Yet anyone who follows the lower leagues knows that when the cup games aren’t there, that exciting atmosphere isn’t either.  Maybe Big Sol rocked up at Morecombe for his one and only game and realised that a match flatter than a steam-rolled pancake isn’t comparable to the bright lights.

The final hypothesis for Campbell’s latest act of disloyalty is that it dawned on him that he made a genuinely bad decision.  This seems to be the most plausible explanation, especially considering Notts County’s Executive Chairman Peter Trembling’s press release;

“We obviously wish Sol the best with the remainder of his career and hope that he is able to obtain a place where he can play at International level ahead of the 2010 World Cup.”

Although most would rightly scoff at the notion of Campbell playing for the national team in the next six months, it’s not the most crazy thing in the world.  Again, he was in the last two World Cup Best XIs, and with neither Upson or Lescott impressing in recent games there’s still some room for a centre back to get into the reckoning.

Campbell claims he had offers from five Premiership clubs, and Newcastle United also courted him publicly in the summer.  If then it is an unsurmountable task to get back in the national team, it is definitely still plausible that he can have another couple of years playing against international standard players in the league.  If Sol has decided that he made a genuine mistake we’ll see him moving back to the upper levels of the game in January

Whether it turns out he’s been disloyal, short-sighted or he is indeed crazy, all three of those things were the case when he walked out of Highbury at half-time in 2006.  And he still managed to squeak out three excellent years at Portsmouth, so what’s to stop it happening again?


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