Whilst Craig Westcarr’s departure has shades of the loss of Ben Davies last January about it, we’re now forced to live in hope that the board has learnt from it’s mistakes on this occasion by having a ready-made replacement lined up.
Talk persists that we’re edging closer to a mystery striker, he who was a greater priority to Martin Allen than either Enoch Showumni or Paul Benson. Whether such stories are a smokescreen in an attempt to soften the blow of Westy leaving remains to be seen – his move does however free up a little more money for anyone that might be incoming.
Regardless, another member of the League Two winning squad is gone, moving over to Chesterfield for £75k apparently. It’s another decision that has split supporters down the middle. A player though who for long periods has been derided as being lazy is now being touted as the new Lionel Messi. They do say you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.
Time will tell whether those pleased to see the back of him will rear their head in two or three month’s time bemoaning a lack of a creator or scorer of chances.
Whilst questions often arose regarding a lack of effort on Craig’s part, his time at Notts didn’t come without many very memorable moments.
When Notts surged to their fourth tier title in 2009/10, Westy was on hand to score nine goals – coupled with 12 assists, a figure only bettered by Ben Davies during that campaign. Last season though during the lengthy absences of Lee Hughes, it was his goals County were left to rely on the most. His 12 goals (plus six assists) filled a massive hole in our squad and we’d probably be languishing back in the basement division without them.
His Meadow Lane career really burst into life the first game of Steve Cotterill’s managerial reign, where Hereford were to suffer at the hands of a Westcarr hat-trick. He kicked on from there and was instrumental in the title-clinching run.
Last season, Notts County’s third at Peterborough’s London Road was the one to eventually clinch victory in the “battle” that night. It was then his penalty kick at (don’t laugh) “Fortress Prenton” under Martin Allen that saw a run of nine straight defeats brought to an end. He was the first player to sprint towards the travelling support at the final whistle to share his joy at the occasion.
Aside from the league, he also chipped in with a few handy goals in the cups for us. His early opener at the Stadium Of Light set County on their way to victory over Sunderland in the FA Cup’s third round…and then there’s no forgetting his equaliser at the City Ground just a few shorts weeks ago, mere minutes after having stepped off the substitutes bench.
The move comes on the eve of an away game at Preston North End, where without Ricky Ravenhill and Neal Bishop you’d have backed Westcarr to start. How quickly can we get any new blood in now?
The decision to move him on having been so publicly chasing strikers for so long is a strange one. We live in hope that the money for his transfer goes towards bringing in a decent replacement. Transfer deadline day is now less than a week away now though.
Memories of an ultimately unsuccessful January transfer window with Paul Ince still linger.