Following in the wake (or should that be ripples?) of Garry O’Connor’s move to Lokomotiv Moscow, news breaks that Rangers Kenny Miller is on the radar of new Russian champs Rubin Kazan. Cue mockery of the locale, disbelief of the accuracy, and doubts about the player’s willingness to move.
As you’ll see from the report in The Sun above, Ghana’s Stepehn Appiah (ex-of Udinese, Parma, Juve and Fenerbache…a slightly better pedigree than that of Miller) is happy to relocate to the banks of the Volga, no doubt to be well recompensed but also experiencing another culture, another way of life.With it’s rather impressive weather, uncluttered population and intriguing mix of Islamic, Stalinist and neo-Modern architecture, 18 months in Kazan, playing football and coming home a couple of million dollars richer sounds like a good deal to me.
Why would they want Kenny Miller, of all people? He suffers at the hands of the Rangers fans, there’s no doubt of that. And with cause – even his biggest defenders, of whom I’m one, must admit that he does everything right except put the ball in the net. From a distance, though, bald statistics paint a rosier picture. Playing in an underwhelming Scotland international team he’s done the business when the business is likely to be noticed – against Italy, against Germany, and especially for an Eastern team, against Croatia and the Ukraine.
Add to that the fact that he’s scored goals for an unnamed side in the UEFA Champions League, and you can see why teams on the lookout for a relatively cheap striker with a decent track record would be interested.
Would he go, though?
The reluctance of Scottish or British players to move around the footballing globe leaves me amazed. Perhaps not the players such as Miller who have already made a good living out the game, and are set for life. But there are plenty of good, solid professionals in the SPL who could quite easily carve out a career through their twenties, traveling the globe or finding somewhere they fit in and settling down. In a worst case scenario, they will become more self reliant being away from home, earn a lot of money but not get many games. What’s not to like?
What’s the appeal of our repetitive leagues, our awful, sould crushing weather, our obsession with the trivial. Unless you have a chance at the Old Firm or a settled family I fail to see what any player finds to hold him back. How good it would be to see Scots venturing all over the globe, learning new methods, making new contacts, just plain seeing what the world has to offer. I’ve had enough of kick and rush, and I’vegiven up hope of Scottish coaches ever going for a skill based, footballing approach. If it takes our players globe-trotting for a generation to re-instill the basics of passing fitba to our country, I hope Kenny can be the trailblazer.