So, by now, the Wednesday fans still paying attention to the football will have seen the comments Barry Bannan made to the press about being able to achieve more if his a team played to suit his style. Before going on to mention Brentford as a side perfect for him to play in. Others have had their say on the situation, so, I thought I would throw my opinion out there.
I think the first point worth making is that Bannan has given the football club nearly five years of service. And, while it has been the case that Wednesday haven’t been good at moving players on, he’s undoubtedly been one of our better performers during his time here. In my opinion, Bannan established himself as one of the second tier’s leading midfielders during the 2015/16 campaign, where he often began in left midfield to free him up to have a positive effect on the game when coming inside.
Wednesday made it to the play-off final that season, as everyone will know, by finishing sixth in the league. The next campaign we finished fourth, and Bannan found himself playing in the middle of the park rather than slightly to the left. However, his numbers did improve, and he was an integral part in us bettering our finishing position the year prior. It only helped to raise Bannan’s stock further in my opinion, with other clubs casting an eye, but he stuck with us, even though we lost in the play-off semis.
As far as I’m aware, Bannan last signed a deal with us in August of 2018. I think it was in this year we were hit with a transfer embargo, the squad had become somewhat stale and Wednesday’s time as a team challenging for promotion seemed to be over for the time being. Bannan was 28 at the time, and with his contract due to expire the following summer, and as a player who believes in his own talent, he could have walked away. But he didn’t. Instead, he penned a deal to stay at the club until 2021.
In my opinion, it shows how committed Bannan is to the club, and how much it means to him. Something else which shows Bannan’s commitment is his willingness to play through the pain barrier for Wednesday. We heard about it recently, and, it’s not the first time this has happened over his nearly five years here. While some may not be willing to fight for the cause and make sure they’re available to be on the pitch, this doesn’t apply to Bannan.
I’ve seen comments suggesting Bannan goes missing in games and that he’s played crap for ages. Has he turned in some below-par performances over the last several seasons? Yes, of course. But who hasn’t? For the most part, as a collective, we’ve been poor in that period. Bannan is undoubtedly marked out by opposition managers as a player they must stop, as when he’s given the time and freedom to affect the game, he can do so to devastating effect. So, it’s worth remembering that teams more than likely have a plan to try and reduce his influence on the action.
Some supporters have also referred Bannan digging players out on the pitch. It’s something I’ve probably mentioned myself over the years, especially when he’s throwing his arms up in the air instead of getting on with the game. Look, I’m not personally a fan of it, but that’s Bannan as a character. He’s probably a player who likes a whinge, and, let’s face it, at least he shows the passion many claim is lacking.
Bannan won’t be the last footballer to make comments to the media they probably regret making after seeing the response. His choice of words wasn’t fantastic, but, a lot of what he said does make sense. I just think we need to be a bit more sensible when reacting to what he said, rather than fly off the handle.