Granty – The Perfect Fit Second Time Around?
As part of 30 days, we’ve asked a few of our friends and fellow DCFC disciples to get involved with putting some stuff together.
Kicking that aspect of the campaign off, herewith a great piece on the signing of Lee Grant and the Rams general goalkeeping situation from our resident expert on all matters between the sticks, Simon.
“What do you reckon to Granty coming back?” was the talk amongst friends at last weeks match. To be honest, and for once in my life, I didn’t have an answer and neither did anyone else in the group. None of us though disagreed that the club needed a new custodian, so freshening up this position was generally seen as a positive move.
On a closer inspection, Grant follows Clough’s fondness for picking up strong characters that have been named player of the year at their previous clubs. So far all have come off apart from space cadet Crofty! The award was an amazing achievement considering all the favourable press that Charlie Austin gets.
The keeper’s situation seems to have been something that has slipped under the radar, instead the spotlight has been on Conor all season. At the end of the day, we missed out on the pay-offs by seven points, the missed chances were nothing in comparison with the amount of soft goals we conceded – most of which have come from poor decision making by the goalkeepers. Frankie started the season off putting his defenders under pressure in games against Sheff Wednesday, Burnley and later in the season against Blackburn and Peterborough, while the initial good form by Legzdins soon evaporated as he joined Frankie in a race to the bottom – both became about as safe in the air as a Graf Zeppelin. Clough moved fast to secure Grant, not believing his luck in securing the deal.
I personally held Grant in high regards during his first spell. To make your debut as a teenager, at a club that was in a catastrophic free fall, overcoming the kind of horrific mistakes that a young goalkeeper is always going to make, then going on to play a pivotal part in staving off relegation in two consecutive seasons, only enhanced his reputation. Grant seemed to play on his tip-toes – I can’t recall him ever being left flat footed, had great handling and could ping a ball all over the pitch. Like most young keepers, he struggled on crosses (we will come back to this), something that comes with experience. Watching him play second fiddle to first Camp and then Chocolate Wrists annoyed me. Letting him go for free enraged me even more, ranking alongside the Huddlestone deal for pure basket-case business dealings.
Grant has had an eventful time in his six years since leaving – player of the year awards at two different clubs, on the England radar, linked with Manchester City, looking the part against the Rams but still looking suspect on crosses, being relegated and then sold to pay a tax bill – the latter of these I’m sure contributed to his ropey form in his early days at Burnley when goals seemed to go through his body. He sufficiently recovered to make himself a firm favourite with the fans.
So what are we getting now? Well the stats speak for themselves – 300 appearances, most of which were consecutive – more than Camp and Toilet-Water made in the same period, the awards, staying injury free and now at a golden age in goalkeeping terms – if all goes to plan, Grant should be our keeper for at least the next five years. Welcome back Granty – you were the perfect fit for the club in your first spell, unfortunately the management at the time could not see it. Let’s hope you come and catch a cross in the 94th minute…….