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Slipped Through the Net: Tommy Widdrington
By: Dan Humphrey
Hate him or rate him, Tommy Widdrington certainly provoked a reaction from fans. Some thought he really was Premiership standard. Arriving from Southampton, following the same route as Alan Shearer to professional football, "Widders" was supposed to be the linchpin of Brian Laws' new look GTFC.
Instead he became infamous for lunging late tackles, near-invisibility, or just running around looking lost. In other words, very inconsistent.
Two Widdrington performances spring to mind. The relegation day at home to Southend when he tackled some pitch invaders and stole their banner before anyone could read it - he wasn't popular before he did that, and he didn't gain anything from his actions. Secondly, the away game at Sunderland a couple of seasons afterwards, when he seemed to win every challenge, was always first to the ball and much to the surprise of the 1000 travelling Town fans, looked like he was a top quality player. Cynics suggested that the Geordie upped his game because of his hatred of the opposition. Then, typically, Kevin Ball the Sunderland 'ball-winner', failed to win the ball by about 5 seconds with a challenge that saw Tommy stretchered off.
Widders hardly played for Town again, presumably because Buckley made it clear he preferred the Groves:Burnett combination. Off he went to Port Vale, where he helped them to relegation, and has become pretty much a regular. Last time I heard he was even club captain..... although he missed the crucial Potteries derby, through suspension.
A return to the Premiership looks unlikely. Indeed Widdrington falls into a category alongside many a Town expensive transfer signing (see also Ashcroft, L., Nogan, L.) Another for the 'they promised so much' category....?
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