He’s had more comebacks lately than Lazarus and was seen as a hero by two of his recent employers and supporters alike. But he is a player that our own vice chairwoman and owner’s son has publicly slated as a transfer disaster: What do you do with a problem like Robert Snodgrass?
Under Pellegrini he has been given a lifeline and with recent team selections he is certainly one that has taken the Chilean’s eye but does he have a future at the new ‘next level’ West Ham? Let’s look at the facts. Robert Snodgrass has been a success at every club he has played for, that was until he started wearing the claret and blue of West Ham.
What didn’t help was the fact that he was sold to supporters as a replacement for Dimitri Payet. Rather than being the manager’s choice, he was bought by David Sullivan and almost immediately it was clear that our then manager, Slaven Bilic, was not his greatest fan. Not only was Bilic not a fan but he constantly played Snodgrass out of position – a fact many fans were unaware of and ultimately he was seen as a transfer bust.
This was compounded by comments from Karren Brady and it seemed inevitable that with a loan move to Aston Villa, his time was up at the London Stadium. But rather than accept his fate, and the fact that he was not wanted by certain sections, he seemed to want to prove a point and was one of the clear stand outs of our pre-season fixtures.
A closer look at Robert Snodgrass’ career history shows the reason why he initially arrived at the London Stadium. He has been a constant performer throughout his career. Although not a prolific scorer, his goal assist and overall performances has made him a constant first team choice at firstly Livingston and then Leeds, Norwich and Hull, he was arguably Hull’s best player.
Then came that move to West Ham and 17 mixed performances that yielded his first drought of his career. The loan move to Aston Villa seemed to be the perfect tonic for a faltering career. It was the perfect fit under a manager who knew how to get the best out of him.
His record of seven goals and 14 assists in 39 appearances marked him out as one of Villa’s star performers. In fact he holds the record for the amount of goal assists in the Championship last season.
The only disappointment was the play off final loss which ultimately resulted in Villa being unable to offer a permanent contract and instead offering an extended loan deal which was not of West Ham’s liking. It seemed the obvious move to off load but then came the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini and suddenly Snodgrass became a wanted man.
Immediately it seemed that our new manager was impressed in training with two players it seemed the board wanted to cash in on, one was rumoured to be Josh Cullen and surprisingly to many, the other was Robert Snodgrass who rather than look for a move seemed determined to prove his critics wrong. So does he have a future at West Ham? Well it seems that surprisingly he does.
My first sight of Snodgrass was at the friendly held against his loan side Aston Villa Walsall. He was hailed as a hero by the Villa supporters and his performance not only impressed but also resulted in a well-taken goal.
Of course, a pre-season friendly performance is not always a good indication of regular season success. But then came our first game mauling at Anfield where Robert replaced a largely ineffective Antonio, and despite the loss was one of the bright spots showing effort and determination.
It seemed inevitable that he would start the first home game of the season against Bournemouth and once again showed effort in what was ultimately yet another losing performance. One thing supporters love at West Ham is a trier and that’s what Snodgrass is; He tries his hardest and shows that he cares.
His comments at the end of the game showed that while he was critical of the team’s defending, he admitted that the whole team had let the manager and supporters down. Despite two defeats in his first two appearances this season, he has not been one of the villains of the piece, there were far worse performances than those from the Scottish international.
Early indications show that the future is bright for Robert Snodgrass, he has turned a corner and his determination is beginning to pay dividends. When the team is up against it there is a need for those who may not be the most gifted but work hard and never give up despite the odds. Robert Snodgrass is such a player.
At 30 years of age, this is Robert’s last time to shine and it is clear he has taken the bull by the horns. He may not always be in the starting line up but he is a player that could come off the bench and is guaranteed to give his best.
I believe that Robert Snodgrass has a future at our club, a statement I would not have written a few months ago. We need players who lack egos and will fight for the team, Robert is such a player. Snodgrass is clearly a Pellegrini favourite and despite recent results, in Pellegrini we trust. He sees Snodgrass as an important member of our team and, with that in mind, who am I to argue?