Date:Monday May 8 2006
Mario Melchiot leaves St Andrews today along with seven others. He by his own admission did not have the best of seasons but in the final year of his contract never gave less than a committed performance.
While several in the squad sought shelter in the treatment room, when he was injured he tried to get back to the fray. He was willing to turn out on a wet night in Solihull in front of 50 spectators and only a few 19 year olds for company. mario was a player of the highest calibre but not too proud to take his place in the 'ressers'.
Blues fans will not be surprised that two of our staff refused to play at Bolton. The fans have a good idea who they are and that they have already gone. Mario, well aware the game would be his last gave his all, and thanked the fans accordingly. In spite of a few negative reactions Mario tossed his boots into the crowd. He kept his shirt as he has said that he was proud to wear it and will proudly keep it.
He was outstanding last year with the highlight of the season his mickey take of Lee Hendrie, which the Villa man took exception to. Hendrie had every right to be offended because that was why it was done!
Melchiot is a top class footballer, who with his Ajax pedigree possessed skills that made him our best footballer. Sadly he was not always defending with the same authority and his errors were often the result of trying to exploit his skills when a hoof into row Z would have been a safer option.
Seeing him leave reminds us that our days of shopping in Harrods is over at least for a while. His replacement will likely come from with the current ranks or from the Championship contenders.
His signing, like that of Dugarry, showed that we were really a Premiership club and a big club to boot. Certainly none of our local rivals or many of the rest of the Premiership,could compete in the market for that level of player.
On behalf of the fans I would wish to say thank you for what you did for us and the dignity which you kept. Wherever you go I'm sure you will speak kindly of us. Good luck and thank you.
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