It’s now getting to that stage of the season where countless clubs are releasing players as they look to rebuild for next season, and there are always some interesting and top players included in the dreaded list. No player really wants to be on it a ‘released players list’, but when they are, there’s really no going back.
Oldham released six, Bristol Rovers released eight, and Chesterfield released a mighty 12 players after their relegation from League One. Norwich City are arguably the most notable club to make their list public, with the inclusion of former England shot-stopper John Ruddy and full-back Steven Whittaker, whose one highlight at the club comprises of an assist for Nathan Redmond’s goal in the 2014/15 Championship play-off final win over Middlesbrough. It’s an impressive feat no doubt, and certainly, more than I’ve ever achieved, but nothing to write home about really?
However, it is, of course, the release of Kyle Lafferty that has got everyone talking, with several clubs (hopefully) lining up to buy the big man from Norn Iron. Interestingly, Lafferty has admitted his desire to re-join former side Rangers and has set his sights on another adventure up in Scotland once his contract with Norwich expires this summer.
He needs no introduction to the Ibrox faithful, who know all about the slightly, shall we say, controversial talisman, who banged in 31 goals in 104 appearances for the Gers. It’s his longest spell at any of the five clubs he has represented throughout his rollercoaster career, but at just 27-years-old, he still has plenty of time to reignite his promising footballing journey.
Rangers fans won’t forget when the giant forward broke their hearts as he left the club during their 2012 financial saga, but with three Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish League Cups and one Scottish Cup to his name, he would surely be welcomed back with open arms.
Now more importantly, across the water, his former team-mate Nacho Novo has just been released by Irish Premiership outfit Glentoran….can you see where this one is heading?
The Spaniard has left the Glens after a somewhat unsuccessful stint in Northern Ireland where he scored four goals for the East Belfast club. Despite his on-field struggles, the frontman was a fan favourite for his charitable efforts in the community. As much as I respect him for his off-field generosity, he did, however, end his spell in Belfast with a six-match ban for attempting to head-butt an opponent, but that was later halved to three games to be fair to the guy…
Now if you don’t feel comfortable calling Lafferty a Rangers legend, you can’t say the same for this man, who banged in 25 goals in his debut season at the club, guiding them to another SPL title. A true hero in the eyes of thousands of football fans, well, except for fierce rivals Celtic, but you can’t please everyone Nacho.
Slightly older than his former team-mate, young Nacho battles on at 38 years of age, but if Kenny Miller can continue to bang them in up north, then Novo certainly can too. I propose that the former Glentoran man follows in Kyle’s footsteps and announces his interest to re-sign for the Glasgow side, and hopefully next season the two can once again lead the line for The Teddy Bears like the good ol’ days.
Let’s face it, wee Kenny (or the Scottish Jermain Defoe if you will) can’t keep carrying that side for much longer, and these two fiery figures will certainly heat up a Glasgow derby that has unquestionably been lacking in that much-needed spirit that such an important and adored footballing derby deserves.
The two boast impressively contrasting yet somehow similar CVs, with the ‘journeyman’ tag seemingly more appropriate than ever, with Lafferty’s ventures taking him to Switzerland and Turkey, and Novo’s to Poland and America, and now hopefully back to Scotland.
So lads, get yourselves back to Rangers for another year for a laugh if nothing else. Novo might not have much left in the tank, but Lafferty undeniably has so much more to offer, and certainly needs the game time to keep banging in the goals for Northern Ireland as the 2018 World Cup rapidly approaches. Come on fellas, you know it’s the right thing to do!