To begin, when we were relegated, he stayed loyal to us. Unlike the likes of Scott Parker and Matthew Upson, he did not ask for £80,000 a week, nor did he leave for Premier League football. He stayed, and truly steered the claret and blue ship back to the Premier League. As well as scoring 15 goals and becoming our top scorer for the season (Vaz Te doesn’t count as most of his 22 goals were for Barnsley) and was an absolute pain up front. The Championship Play-Off Semi-Final was clear proof of this. Ben Turner and Mark Hudson could not handle him. He also broke the deadlock in the Play-Off Final and sent the fans into the heavens!
Now, I understand several people will express “that was in the Championship” and “what has he done in the Premier League?” Well, in my opinion, a lot. He has been our top scorer in all competitions for the last four years (not including this season). Yes, he did get off to a slow start, nine in 43 games. But he really picked himself up, scoring 10 in 2008-09 (yes, that was all for our top scorer) and the one more the next year (in a season when the top scorer, Didier Drogba, only scorer 16 goals). Even in our season in which we fell, he top scored with 10. This is why I believe we’ve been, as fans, far too harsh to him and I believe that credit must be given to him.
Saying this, I strongly believe that this is his time. It’s a battle of the wealthiest in the Premier League now, and we cannot have players who play eight games all season and who have been in the reserves all season. He must move aside, to make space, if the rumours are true, for Carroll and Lukaku. Him staying will be no good for him, on and off the pitch. But, I don’t think this is the end for Carlton. I’m positive he’ll be snapped up by a Championship club and will continue to battle for his next club. He still has that spark, proved in his performance against Chelsea in December and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him in the Premier League again, whilst guiding another team to Championship and Play-Off glory.
Thus, I bid him farewell and good luck for his future in football and for his days to be filled with joy and silver and goals.
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