Alex McCarthy leaves the Palace

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Alex McCarthy has joined Southampton, for a fee believed to be four million pounds, and signs a three year contract.

McCarthy, 26, who signed from QPR in the summer of 2015 had been a massive fan favourite, I mean, popular with the fans much derided, vilified and ridiculed!

McCarthy was quoted as saying he was “over the moon at joining a club like this”, which is not a surprise given the treatment that some Crystal Palace fans gave him during his time at Selhurst Park. The fans fury was never more intense than after our 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool where McCarthy slipped while kick a ball in the 72nd minute, only for it to go straight to Roberto Firmino who promptly scored to level the match 1-1.

The fall out on social media afterwards was astounding. Never have I seen a player receive so much abuse since David Beckham got sent of against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. We were only one small step away from there being effigies of McCarthy burnt outside Sainsbury’s while the baying mob indulge in sausage roll and a carton of juice.

“With the stature of the club, I’m honoured to be here and I’m looking forward to getting working with everyone.” I’m sure he is, Southampton have Europa League football to look forward play this season and maybe he’ll get a few more games.

Southampton’s Executive Director of Football Les Reed added: “blah, blah, blah!” Followed by more of the same until he said “Working with Dave Watson, our keepers can only get better and, who knows, we could have two Saints stoppers at the World Cup in two years’ time.”

Someone drugs test Les Reed!

In all honesty, I think we’ve sold the wrong goalkeeper. Whenever McCarthy received stick last season I pointed out that he would be one for the future and that he maybe needed 1-2 years on loan to a Championship side before getting a chance to be the number 1. If he doesn’t get game time then he will never develop as a player and Southampton are already his 9th club.

Still, I think the fact he came, he left and we made a profit all within 12 months shows how fickle football is and how inflation has hit the transfer market.

Whenever a football club has a player who is thought to be a fan favourite, a legend, if you like then replacing them can be a poison chalice. It was perceived that McCarthy was bought to replace Julian Speroni. Why? Because when the season began, Speroni was injured and instead of Wayne Hennessey starting in goal, McCarthy did.

Later, after a few mistakes which cost us points when Speroni was fit again, Hennessey started instead. This confused and bemused quite a few of us and as the season went on and both goalkeepers had made their share of mistakes we wondered what Speroni had done to not get a look in.

So I see people bought to replace cult heroes in the same was as I do new James Bond actors. Sean Connery, good! George Lazenby, awful. Roger Moore, good. Timothy Dalton, awful. Piece Brosnan, good.

Then came Daniel Craig who was denounced as awful before he’d even made a film then when he made the film, people loved it and were forced to re-evaluate the previous bonds.

Brosnan was now awful because he was too wooden, Dalton was actually good because he was a Shakespearian actor whose Bond was close to Craig’s. Moore was awful because he played Bond too much for laughs. Lazenby was actually good because it was a good effort by someone who had no acting experience. And, the original, Connery was now viewed as a wife beating, England hater who wants Scotland to take over the world so, he must have been awful!

So now we have signed Steve Mandanda and everyone will love him, because he is not Alex McCarthy! What about Wayne Hennessey? While I believe he was bought to replace Speroni, it never happened. He was the number 2, he deposed the pretender to the throne.

Good luck Alex, I hope if you play against us you show us what you are capable of and shot a few people up who, I believe, never gave you a chance.

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