McCann sale would be two steps back

Burnley Football Club Burnley Football Club
Jamie Smith July 10, 2012
I think Ian has it spot on. I like McCann, ... 3 years ago

Norwich City are rumoured to be interested in Chris McCann, writes Jamie Smith.

Well, this all feels very familiar. Last summer, we sold a good chunk of our first-team, including Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles and Danny Fox, while Jack Cork also left the club after a successful loan spell. This year, Jay Rodriguez has already gone and it looks like Club captain Chris McCann could be the next out of the door, while rumours persist with linking Kieran Trippier with a move away.

Norwich City and Stoke City are thought to be sniffing around the midfielder, with a fee of over £1.5 million mooted by the gossip sites Yesterday, Chris Boden of the Burnley Express stated he expects the Canaries to make their move for our skipper in the coming days.

It’s disheartening to say the least. Burnley are now a selling club, that much is clear. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when it’s your best players going every summer, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm. Arsenal fans are sick of it and they still finish in the top four of the Premier League every season.

The signing of Jason Shackell provided a massive boost. He fills a key position and I speculated on these pages last week that he could take the armband from McCann for the new season. But if we then lose another of our better players, it leaves us two steps back. Taking into account the sale of Jay, it’s not been a good summer in terms of transfers.

Eddie Howe faces a mad scramble once again to secure players to boost his options. He was rushed last summer and we ended up with the likes of Keith Treacy and Zavon Hines. Howe spoke of wanting to get his squad together for the start of pre-season. Shackell arrived just ahead of that deadline, while George Porter and Luke O’Neill are also new to the Club, but only Shackell is expected to start most games next season.

That leaves us having already lost one first-team player and only having brought one in. It’s not the rebuilding we hoped for. With McCann entering the last year of his contract, the Club obviously faces a decision over whether or not we can afford to turn down an offer and risk losing him for nothing in 12 months.

Questions need to be asked over why McCann and Rodriguez have been able to enter the same summer with just 12 months on their deal. Looking back now, it seems inevitable we would lose them both.

It must be incredibly frustrating for Howe. He knew – to an extent – what he was signing up for when he came to Turf Moor. But he can’t have imagined he’d lose Fox, Eagles, Cork, Mears, Rodriguez and McCann within the space of a year. Put those six into a Championship side and you have a title challenge.

Simply put, it’s not possible for Burnley to compete when the first 11 is decimated year in, year out. You can’t expect to sell stars in multi-million pound deals, replace them with young lads from the lower leagues and still be in the hunt for a top six place.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the reality for Burnley these days. The Club must look back to Owen Coyle’s reign, when the ex-Claret boss was able to bring in Eagles and Martin Paterson to replace Kyle Lafferty and Andy Gray. Those two were big money transfers and instrumental in our subsequent promotion and two cup runs. Porter and O’Neill appear to be sensible additions at a good price, but it’s hard to see them having anything close to the same impact.

If McCann wants to go to the Premier League – and to be fair to him he could have probably moved on last summer – then there’s little we can do to stop him. But the money HAS to be reinvested in the team with signings of the quality and experience of Shackell, or any hopes of a promotion challenge can be extinguished before a ball has been kicked.

Rumours keep linking us with Brian Stock and I like him as a player, but his CV reads Bournemouth, Preston, Doncaster. It’s not inspiring.

If McCann goes this week, that leaves us with two midfielders on the books – Dean Marney and Marvin Bartley. Honest, workmanlike professionals, but not likely to lead us to a top half finish.

It’s a big few days for the Club. Let’s hope we see more incoming players than outgoing ones.

Could Burnley turn down £1.5m+ for Chris McCann? Comment below.

  • Chris Stanworth

    Why were both players allowed to enter the summer with one year on their deals? Because they would only commit to 2 year deals the year before, not longer deals, as they had aspirations of playing in the top flight, while it allowed us to make sure we’d get fees for both. Simple as that, really.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Chris Stanworth

      Probably. Perhaps we should have sold Jay last summer instead then?

      • Chris stanworthin reply to Jamie Smith

        We wouldn’t have got as big a fee (indeed we weren’t offered as big a fee reportedly) as he hadn’t proven himself quite to the same extent. We got the benefitof a brilliant season from him and the fee. Best we could have hoped for

  • Mike Mada

    No problem with him going for £1.5-2 mill. His performances last season were not up to scratch often enough. maybe he was carrying the captaincy too heavily on his shoulders. If he does stay, then with Shackell having the armband, maybe he will shine. I think Eddie can do better with that amount of money.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Mike Mada

      I don’t. Chris didn’t excel last year, but he still played almost every minute of the season after two years out with a knee injury. That’s impressive. I’m sure we’ll see something more like the old Chris McCann next season whoever he’s playing for. Remember that before his injury he was arguably the division’s outstanding box-to-box midfielder.

  • Richard Moore

    I trust Eddy.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Richard Moore

      My worry is, like the Fox deal, he won’t have much say in the matter.

      • Ian Chasein reply to Jamie Smith


      • Ian Chasein reply to Jamie Smith

        I totally disagree it is two steps back.

        Mcann was very poor last season contributing very little to the team and hasn’t played consistently well now for over two years.
        We can’t afford for him to walk away for next to nothing at the end of next season so we have to sell just like many other clubs if he won’t sign a new deal.

        We can do better if Eddie is allowed to re invest the proceeds but fans have to realise we are a small club on low gates and can only afford the likes of Shackell by selling our best players to survive at this level.
        Eddie is ambitious and we as a club must have sold that ambition to Shackell as other clubs were interested.
        We have to buy on the cheap in most cases and develop players like trippier and jay as that is the only way we survive.
        Get used to it as its what we have done for the last forty years!

        • Mike Madain reply to Ian Chase

          I think Ian has it spot on. I like McCann, but he didn’t do that well last year.

          We have to (whether we like it or not) come around to the understanding that first and foremost, we are a business who happens to be a football club and balance the books. Not the other way round.

          Sound business decisions have made this club relatively solvent over the years. Taking the risks that others have is a call the board have to make all the time. Mostly they’ve got it right and where we are probably reflects this.

          I propose that at some point in the next 10 years, the recklessness of a number of clubs will see a number disappearing, which we don’t want.

          The McCann and other decisions have to be made in the light of that, whatever the clamour from fans.