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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Who is Scott Wagstaff? The Addicks' take on our latest signing

Rarely can a signing have been made so under the radar as Scott Wagstaff's arrival at Ashton Gate last week.  Not a hint of a rumour until the day before, and not one of the more famous names around the leagues, Wagstaff's introduction had many a fan scrabbling around in their memory banks to work out who he was, where he played, and in some instances, when they'd seen him play.

Totally overshadowed by the signing of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and his #WED explosion onto City fans' Twitter timelines, Wagstaff has been portrayed in the local media as the sort of industrious wide man we haven't really seen since Michael McIndoe left the club - not that any of the more recent inhabitants were particularly lazy, but the balance O'Driscoll is clearly looking for certainly involves all of the midfield tracking back and being part of the defensive unit - something which leads me to suggest he'd be one of the least unhappy to see Albert Adomah leave Ashton Gate, as arguably the most talented player in the side doesn't fit that particular bill and gives the gaffer a headache he'd probably prefer not to have.

Whilst some of you will have seen for yourself a little of what Wagstaff can offer, having played 70 minutes of the home friendly against Glasgow Rangers, opposition fan reviews of new signings are amongst the most popular posts on these pages, so bearing in mind the low-key nature of 'Waggys' arrival, I thought it best to double up and get not only a first, but a second opinion.

Dan Webster, who goes by the Twitter moniker of Rambling Addick and has his own website featuring all things Charlton, "Ramblings of a Football Fan" is first to offer his views and suggests a slight contradiction with the above assumption.

"Charlton found themselves in a bizarre situation at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. After Chris Powell oversaw a clearout of the playing squad, 22-year old Scott Wagstaff became the club’s longest serving player. 

He was scouted at the age of eight, represented the club throughout the youth teams, and collected the young player of the year award in 2008 after Alan Pardew handed him his debut in the Championship. Most of his appearances were made during the three year period that Charlton found themselves marooned in League One, and his release came after a season where he struggled to break into a side whose fortunes fluctuated, but came good in the final run-in.

Wagstaff is an energetic right-midfielder, often running for the whole 90 minutes. The effort is unquestionable, but the lack of opportunities last season reflected the lack of confidence in his end product. That said, he did score when he made his first start of the season. 

Powell preferred both Lawrie Wilson and Bradley Pritchard on the right, who were probably more limited in terms of attacking prowess, but could tuck inside and offer more effective defensive cover. 

A lot would say Wagstaff was unfairly short of opportunities to show he was a capable player at Championship level.  He’s definitely someone who makes things happen going forward, with his pace as well as opportunistic positioning in the box, but he needs (and deserves) a good run of games to give him the confidence to push on. 

Hopefully signing for Bristol City helps him achieve exactly that. A man who deserves success."


Next, Al Gordon returns, a previous contributor to these pages when he introduced the Addicks back to the Championship last summer.  He offers a similar viewpoint on Wagstaff, with a gut feel that City have got themselves a decent player.

I always hoped Scott Wagstaff would become another Johnny Robinson.  Robbo wore his heart on his sleeve, ran down the wing taking on full backs as he went and crossed a useful ball into the box. He also chipped in with his fair share of goals from scrappy tap-ins to thirty yard screamers. The main thing about our Welsh wizard was that he loved Charlton, was proud to wear the shirt and gave his all every single week. I suppose in some ways Waggy has fulfilled my expectation.

A lot quieter vocally on the field than Robinson, his football although similar failed to make quite the same impact and he moves on having been released by The Addicks when his contract expired. He has of course ventured West, just like Robinson who left under similar circumstances and went to your dear friends in the Welsh capital a decade earlier.

Scott joined Charlton aged eight and during fifteen years in South London has represented the club at every level, by far and away our longest servant. He’s witnessed all the lows as we dropped down the divisions and played his part on the way back up. Bled into the first team (many believe a little too early) by the dreadful Alan Pardew, he would develop under Phil Parkinson and then blossom under Chris Powell becoming a regular in our final two League One seasons.

Last season, our first back in the Championship, he showed glimpses of what was on offer but a lack of opportunity and, ultimately, a lack of ability brought the curtain down on his time at Charlton. There was a three match spell during the last campaign when Scott returned from a loan spell at Leyton Orient and really gave his all as he set out to show the boss he was worthy of a gamble.

Heaven knows, the popular winger had the support of the crowd behind him, you should have seen his face when he scored against Blackpool at The Valley in January, I’m sure he was expecting to walk back into the dressing room and be handed a new contract to sign.

At only twenty three years of age there is still a lot of good football to come from Waggy, he’s got the legs, the desire and the will to succeed and will tear into League One defences with a fury. It may well seem to the uninitiated like a backward step at the moment but as he progresses as a player he could just have what it takes to grow hand in hand with a club and still yet become a player of true Championship quality.

I really hope he not only succeeds at Bristol City but has a long and prosperous time there. He’s far too likable and loyal to end up becoming another lower league journeyman."


My sincere thanks to Dan and Al for the time taken to write up these reviews.  

Whether or not Wagstaff becomes an integral part of the team remains to be seen, but what does seem clear is that City have signed a solid League One performer who'll work hard for the team, and hopefully see this as a chance to prove a point.


The Exiled Robin

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1 comment:

  1. Only ever saw him once but it is engraved on my memory got the ball inside his own half left 3 players standing as he shot down the touchline seeing no one had kept up with him went into the box and beat the keeper as well now my friend who is an Addick for his sins says that he has stopped attacking the full backs and beating them for speed this he says is the manager who doesn't want him to do that, mind you he also says that he does not look up before hitting crosses into the middle anymore either so there is something there to work on.

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