A man wins the lottery. He tells the local newspaper it wont change his life. He leaves his wife, he takes a younger girlfriend, he gives his old banger away and buys a fast car, he moves into a luxury Villa and he dines at exclusive restaurants. But once a week he returns to his old town and pays 99p for a portion of chips. Why? The shop is small and has been there for years, it doesnt do a good trade and the man could afford to eat anywhere he wants. To this man though, these are the best tasting chips in the world. So why pay more for less?
Voronin was at Gladbach until he was 21. He played 7 times (1) goal. His last two years there saw them relegated to the 2nd division and finish 5th there the following year. The year he left for Mainz Gladbach got promoted !
Mainz are a team that are known as the architypical 2nd division team. They got promoted to the second division in 1990 and stayed there until 2000 when Voronin arrived. He played 79 games in the next three years. The first season he played 10 games and the team finished 14th and just missed relegation. The second and third season he was ever present and they finished 4th twice, just missing promotion. Voronin played 79 (25) in the second division. 20 of those goals came in one season where he topped the 2nd division scoring charts. He was now 24 and decided to move to Cologne, who had just got promoted, ahead of Mainz.
Not an inspired move. Cologne were relegated with a massive 9 point gap to the next team in the Bundesliga. They played one of the worst seasons ever seen in the Bundesliga. Voronin played 19 (5) games.
He moved to Bayer Levekusen who had finish in third place the year before. But they were and still are in decline. Players of the calibre of Ballack, Ze Roberto and Placento left them (not to mention Berbatov) and they have since finished 6th, 5th and are currently lying in 8th place. Voronin has played 69 (27).
In total he has played 177 (58) That’s 0.327 goals per game. Not exactly setting the world alight. Or one in every 3 games. He has played 79 of those games in the seond division. He has played 79 games in the second division and has been relegated twice from the Bundesliga.
His biggest claim to fame is topping the second division score charts once and playing in the same team as Shevchenko!
So why has Rafa bought him, when he has so much money that 99% of players are within his spending power, although rather than shell out 100 mil on Ronaldinho, the astute manager will probably want to get as much for his money as possible, but, does that really include dining at the local chippy when he could be eating caviar? Why take Voronin on a freebie when a couple of mil would surely get something better?
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but for most people, the reason Rafa has given Voronin a contract is a mystery. At this point it might be reasonable to mention Steve Heighway. On of the best left wingers ever to grace the game, arrived without a trumpet fanfare from that great team Skelmersdale United. Seventies superstar and future European player of the year, Kevin Keegan was from that other great northern bastion of football: Scunthorpe United. To this list I could add the most decorated man in football: Phil Neal (Northampton), Craig Johnston (Sydney City), The most prolific striker of all time: Ian Rush (Chester City). But the comparison ends when you realise that most of these gems were young, and certainly not 27/28 which Voronin is.
The Fowler theory.
One theory is that he is here to replace Fowler. Ha ha ha, ho ho ho… erm, sorry. But really, despite the fact that noone can replace God, this is a ridiculous comparison. Fowler has topped the premier score charts for years. He has played for a top European team for years and scored in a European final, he was once the most wanted striker in Europe. He has a very impressive strike rate at Liverpool that not many players can better, and isnt lightly called god. Using religious comparisons, Voronin is a young Altar boy ! Rafa has said that if Fowler doesnt lengthen he will be replaced by someone similar, or someone with HIS goal sniffing talents coupled with Bellamy’s speed. That, by any stretch of the imagination isnt Voronin.
A replacement for Bellamy? The same applies. Bellamy is a class striker. Rafa would only repalce him with an equally good striker with at least the same pedigree. Rafa has obviously some other reason for buying voronin and I reckon I know what it is.
Who were we missing against Everton? Who have we missed since he has been injured? Who havent we really been able to replace? Garcia. Voronin isnt an out and out striker. He is more a hanging striker like Garcia, and I think he can perform a similar role. He can play wide or behind the strikers, he can play between the lines. We have had a big success with playing 3-4-3 against smaller teams of late. If Garcia had been fit, I think he may have filled one of the outer, forward positions. I think that Voronin could do that too.
But, I hear you cry, couldnt we have not got someone better for a bit of cash? Well, the problem with being rich is that you have such a good first team that no one wants to sit of the bench! Witness the troubles at Chelski. Sometimes it is not wise to spend money on a first teamer, who then creates waves because he is only played 10 to 15 times a year. Zenden is one of those players who isnt quite good enough for a main role at Liverpool, but is good enough to play 10 to 15 times a year and to work hard and keep his mouth shut and do his job. I think Voronin wont be called upon more than 10 times next year, and I reckon he is someone who will keep his head down and try his best, and will be there when we need him in minor games or when Garcia is inujured.
Still, one thing I know is he wont be the first player to come unnoticed to a big club and make a surprise impact. But, he certainly wont be the last who comes unnoticed and goes unused, and, we have had much bigger names come here and fail in the last five years… cough cough Diao cough cough…