Football clubs are showing a fine contempt for traditional newspaper reporting. And, despite the pages of free advertising they receive from the national press, they’ve decided to manage their affairs by courtesy of their websites – whilst giving the printed press as little detail as possible. So, now, fans must rely on stage-managed press conferences and generally meaningless interviews.
Our website, therefore, is determined that some form of transparency is returned to our national sport. To this end, we have signed a new and significant blogger – a man who understands the game and knows the little things the clubs don’t want you to know. We’ll call him the Secret Squirrel. Today we launch his first column.
GRAEME Shinnie has been hailed as the best signing Aberdeen have made in years.
But when Gordon Strachan announced his squad earlier this week for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Germany, Shinnie’s name was conspicuous by its absence.
Fans of the 24-year-old defender’s previous club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle consistently petitioned the Scotland manager to recognise Shinnie’s talents without being listened to.
A model of consistency with pace, a sharp football brain, and a tenacious tackler with the ability to adapt to various roles, Shinnie stands out above the majority of his rivals.
Surely after merging as the leader on the pitch, Shinnie could look forward to international recognition at long last in the wake of I.C.T’s remarkable achievements last season in winning the Scottish Cup after finishing a record-high third in the SPFL and qualifying for Europe.
No player gave more; none offered greater inspiration. The I.C.T captain truly led from the front and was the catalyst for the most remarkable season in the club’s comparatively short history.
If Strachan had been put off by I.C.T’s lack of stature, Aberdeen’s standing in the game cannot be questioned, and just a handful of matches into his Pittodrie career, Shinnie has not disappointed. Indeed, he has very quickly emerged as a favourite with the fans.
Yet, a change of club has clearly not changed Strachan’s mind. Shinnie is still waiting for the chance to enhance the strength of the senior Scotland squad.
Exactly what does this outstanding candidate have to do to add to a measly two appearances for the country’s under-21 side more than three years ago? A change of manager, perhaps, for Secret Squirrel can reveal that Strachan is not a fan of the full-back.
When asked by a leading sports personality and avid football fan last season why Shinnie was not already featuring in the international squad, Strachan advised his inquisitor to stick to what he is good at and leave the football to him.
No explanation was offered or given for Shinnie’s glaring omission. But Strachan isn’t the first to have reservations about the player.
Bolton were tipped off about Shinnie prior to him signing a pre-contact with his home town club but manager Neil Lennon expressed reservations about his lack of inches, in the belief that 5’9” defenders are at a distinct disadvantage in the Championship.
PICTURE BY: JSH PIX