|Green swaps east for west with QPR move|
Thu 21st Jun 2012 19:27 by Clive Whittingham
England international goalkeeper Rob Green has left West Ham United and signed for Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer.
Robert Green is a 32-year-old goalkeeper from Chertsey who has 12 senior England caps to his name – the most recent coming in a 1-0 friendly win against Norway in Oslo prior to this summer's European Championships where he is part of the squad serving as back up to first choice Joe Hart.
He came through the ranks at Norwich City initially, keeping a clean sheet in a derby game with Ipswich Town on his debut in 1999. He took the number one jersey at Carrow Road from Andy Marshall two years later and starred in the 2001/02 campaign that ended in a play off final defeat against Birmingham City . He kept 18 clean sheets that season, and went one better in 2002/03 but City missed the play offs and finished eighth. A year later they were promoted as champions with Green ever present and conceding just 39 goals in 46 league appearances and keeping 18 clean sheets. He was named the division's top goalkeeper and called up to the England squad for the first time, going onto make his debut a year later in a friendly against Colombia.
Despite Norwich's struggles the following season – Green conceded 77 goals on the way to relegation – he remained a fixture in Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad. He stayed with the Canaries in the Championship but endured his worst campaign for the club and at the end of the season agreed a £2m move to Premiership side West Ham. By that time he had lost his England squad place to Scott Carson who deputised for him at the 2006 World Cup after he ruptured his groin stumbling over the taking of a goal kick in a B International against Belarus.
Green kept nine clean sheets in 26 appearances in his first season at West Ham, including one on the final day at Old Trafford when a 1-0 win for the Hammers prevented him suffering a second successive relegation at Sheffield United's expense.
Green was voted West Ham's Player of the Year in 2007/08 as the club finished tenth in the Premier League. He also developed a reputation as an adept penalty saver, blocking three of the four he faced that term. He was recalled to the England team for a friendly against France in June 2008. Green was a mainstay of the West Ham side throughout six years with the club but in 2010/11 the club was relegated and Green dropped out of the top flight for the second time in his career. His England career had also turned sour again by this point. In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa he started as first choice but made a horrendous mistake in the opening group match against USA costing England two points. He was replaced temporarily by David James for the rest of the tournament and by Man City 's Joe Hart ever since.
Green played 42 times for West Ham last season as they won an immediate Premiership return via the play offs. The club couldn't agree terms on a new contract with him however, with chairman David Gold publicly blaming the player's wage demands, and QPR have now swooped in to take the play on a free transfer with a two year contract offer.
"It was important we brought another quality keeper into the group. Rob is obviously someone with vast experience at international and Premier League level and his pedigree speaks for itself. He's got all the characteristics of a top keeper and he'll be a huge addition for us who will stimulate the goalkeeping group, which can only be good for the squad as a whole." -Mark Hughes
“I'm delighted to be here. I'm excited about the challenge ahead and hugely encouraged by the direction in which the owners and Mark Hughes are looking to take the club. It's an exciting period for everybody connected to QPR and I can't wait to get started." -Rob Green
“I think it is excellent that we are getting our business done early which is the complete opposite of last year. All the signings will get a proper pre season under their belts and should all know each other for the start of the season.” RangersW12
I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Robert Green, even before the error against the United States in the 2010 World Cup for which he’s best remembered. He just seems very, very accident prone to me, costing his team goals with errors far more than an international, Premiership goalkeeper ever should. He makes me nervous, but the testimony about him from fans of his two former clubs tells me I’m being unfair.
Green is well liked and remembered by supporters at both Norwich City and West Ham. Hammers chairman David Gold is almost as prolific as our own Tony Fernandes on the social networking sites and he was besieged by fans pleading with him to cave into Green’s wage demands and extend his contract this summer which has to be a good sign for QPR who have now moved in and taken him from them. My general perception of a player based on two appearances a year against QPR and television matches cannot possibly be as fulsome or reliable as that of a band of generally knowledgeable and loyal supporters like Norwich or West Ham who saw Green 40 games a season for several years and rated him just fine.
We’ve been linked with several goalkeepers this summer and on balance Green is probably just about the best of them given the lack of a transfer fee. Had we gone after Swansea’s Michel Vorm in a big way then the Swans’ sound financial position and hardnosed bargaining ability of chairman Huw Jenkins would have eventually seen us pay way over the odds for a goalkeeper who could yet succumb to difficult second season syndrome this term. Fraser Foster plays in Scotland and should therefore be discounted immediately as a potential signing by all teams above the middle of League One while Shay Given’s reputation is on the slide after a difficult season with Aston Villa and dreadful European Championships with Ireland. I’m not sure my hardened arteries would have survived a season at the mercy of the “spider trapped under a glass” (c Jasmine Sandalli) Heurelho Gomes either.
The big miss for me is Ben Foster, who could probably have been picked up from cash strapped Birmingham for £5m or less. He was outstanding on loan at West Brom last season, not least against us at The Hawthorns towards the end of the campaign, and I cannot help but feel we really should have been looking to take advantage of Birmingham’s money problems and the lack of a manager at The Hawthorns to steal in there and hijack that deal. Foster is not only a better goalkeeper than Green, he’s also three years younger and could have kept goal at Loftus Road for the next six seasons at a push whereas Green has probably only got another three good years in him. Green is £5m cheaper, but wanted in excess of £40k a week to stay at West Ham which one can only assume we have offered to bring him across London. If we’ve signed a decent 32-year old goalkeeper on that sort of weekly wage rather than an excellent 29-year-old one for £5m then that’s a false economy in my book.
But I’m coming at this from the wrong angle. Rather than compare Green to the other goalkeepers available this summer, I should be more concerned with whether he’s an improvement on what we had last season. Paddy Kenny, now 34, struggled badly at times in the top flight last term and it was inevitable a long time before the end of the season that he would move on in the summer. Kenny has always been an unorthodox goalkeeper, but in many matches last season he just didn’t look quite good enough for the top level. Green is certainly a better keeper than Kenny in my book and so in that respect we’ve improved our team season on season without paying a transfer fee which is good business.
Pictures – Action Images