Why Reo-Coker could be disastrous
By Jon Szekeres
What's that old saying? Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it? (Or something like that, anyway). In any case, did the Vancouver Whitecaps learn nothing from their tumultuous experience with Scottish midfielder Barry Robson?
You remember the story; of course you do. For Christ's sake, it was all any fan of the Vancouver Whitecaps could talk about for the latter half of the 2012 season. If it wasn't discussion about Robson whining to the officials, it was Robson screaming at his teammates until his face went as red as his hair.
He was a much heralded signing for a club that lacked star power outside of YP Lee. So, he was brought in, expected to lead the franchise into a new era. He would be the core of the group, the fiery leader that would wear the arm band when Jay Demerit eventually left the squad.
Whitecaps fans were crushed when they saw the 'real' Robson on the pitch. It was more disappointing than undoing a push-up bra. The high priced DP eventually left the squad a few weeks ago, agreeing to a buy out and flying back to Europe while his former teammates prepared for training camp.
So, a season has passed. Robson is gone, disappointment has turned to excitement, and the Whitecaps decide to pull the trigger on what could be Robson's second coming.
Nigel Reo-Coker comes into the Whitecaps as an MLS rookie, just like Robson was.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it's easy to imagine that he's pulling in a hefty salary. Scarier, he's got a reputation for pissing off people wherever he goes. He's apparently got a gigantic ego. (Starting to sound eerily similar?)
Yes, he's talented (although an unproved commodity in MLS), but with all the baggage he carries, is it truly a good idea to toss him into a market like Vancouver? A market that chewed Robson up and spit him out when he acted immature? What if Reo-Coker shows the same level of immaturity? How long could he possibly last with media (including myself) and fans calling for his head?
Of course, the flip side to this argument is that Reo-Coker could shut me up very quickly. Imagine if he does well; then the 'Caps have an under 30 former PL player with vast potential. He could literally be that 'core' midfielder the 'Caps were hoping for. Plus, Reo-Coker made it publicly known that he badly wanted to become a Whitecap. That's a good sign right?
I mean, with all these bad signs hovering over this signing, one good omen would be nice to cling to.