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By The Beard of Gorkss

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Samson had His Hair, Dumbo had his feather and so It struck me on Saturday, in the shadow of the building site that is one quarter of Vicarage Road, that Kaspars Gorkss may have his beard.

Mark Thompson


A couple of weeks of face rug growth appeared to yield a solid defensive performance that harked back to the 2011/12 title winning season. The avoidance of the razor blade and mirror even inspired a nicely taken and eventually match winning goal. I began to think back to the dark days of last season where encounters with top level players led to them simultaneously picking his pocket and secreting therein a half season ticket to Wolverhampton. A ticket that most of us saw as one way only. Yet here was the Latvian, between the odd slip on the wet turf, doing a decent job in stopping the increasing Watford attacks.

So I racked my brain.....

At the end of last season I was sure that by the time the Championship was won he was shrouded in a thick beard worthy of the most fashionable East London hipster. Yet come the start of the Premier League season he was clean shaven. And it was only a couple of games before the mistakes and complaints came creeping in. QED it would seem.

Looking back in the sober light of Sunday morning it was worth a second thought. Taking the view that Gorkss' form is not related to his facial bush (please note that there is no evidence to disprove this) it is fair to say that the bloke was due his round of applause from the away fans. There is no doubt that his return to the first team last year was greeted with dismay from pretty much all of the home crowd and strong derision from the more vocal and vicious. Gorkss' time in the Premier League was close to a disaster and it is hard to find anyone who would argue against that view. The fact that the ever loyal McDermott (who stood firm with certain players to the point where he paid with his job) packed him off on loan is the clearest sign that he was not able to survive at that level. His retention in the squad was understandable and presumably flowed from his affordable contract terms and the need to retain cover - acutely apparent now. His return to the first team was unexpected and follows the long term injury to Morrison. Let's be clear. He lacks pace. He is not blessed with the ball at his feet. There is no doubt that Gorkss is not the best centre half at the club but it is concerning that you would struggle to identify who is and it is for that reason that we should be giving Gorkss some credit, if not at the least our support.

Just as Gorkss takes the brunt of the fans vocal and online abuse so then the focus and pressure is taken away from Pearce and Morrison, both of which are far from the finished article. Indeed for Pearce we have had to draft in an experienced hand in both Gorkss and Zurab Khizanishvili (thanks Google) to shore up the defence. Indeed there is some evidence to suggest that Pearce might never be the player to lock down our defence.

21 year old Michael Hector has had as fine a loan spell at Aberdeen as any of our players have had in recent memory and whilst he was on the bench on Saturday there is a niggling sense from the manager's comments that he will be sold on. The club has made a surprising (given the ownership issues) offer to take Hobbs from Hull but it seems that Hull and the player are trying to ensure that he instead transfers to Forest. A new centre half is essential, although you could make that argument for all the outfield positions. Until the takeover is complete and the manager nails his colours to the mast in terms of both how he sets up his team and the players he wants to do that we will require Gorkks to turn out and give it his best. You would think that this is his last season at the club and with the transfer window opening you would also suspect that these are his last few weeks of first team football in Berkshire.  If so he will leave with consecutive Championship winning medals in his cabinet., that has to count for something.

2014. New Year, new owner, new direction. Taking the positives we are on the brink of a new dawn for the club and just as the fans showed last Saturday, we are at our best when we pull together.

Now all we need to do is keep Kaspars from the Gillette for another few weeks.....