Wilson’s Wisdom: Managers have the right to make the call

David Connolly celebrates a goal for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
David Connolly celebrates a goal for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
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At last a saga came to an end this week.

David Connolly finally departed Fratton Park.

The veteran striker cancelled his contract by mutual consent and accepted a settlement on the outstanding time left on his deal.

The club will have saved themselves a chunk of money, although you could argue they have also been paying an employee for only doing part of his job for the past year.

But he was no longer wanted, he was never going to force his way back into the manager’s plans and at 37 years old, a career in coaching or management beckons at some stage after his stint at AFC Wimbledon.

Considering he has not kicked a competitive ball for the club for a year – his last outing was in the 1-1 draw with Mansfield on January 18, 2014 – his absence continued to provoke plenty of discussion.

Our live online match-day coverage of Pompey would rarely pass without someone firing the obligatory question along the lines of ‘why is David Connolly not involved?’

Some felt he was a better option than some of the other strikers at the club and questioned the wisdom of his absence.

But perhaps it was more to do with finding out the gossip of what goes on behind the scenes at a football club.

When asked about Connolly by the media, the straight answer from Andy Awford was he wasn’t selected.

The manager felt there were better options available to him.

As manager, that is his choice.

But many felt there was considerably more to it than that.

If there was, Awford never divulged the details and has kept his counsel throughout, even once the striker’s departure was confirmed.

And perhaps that was the fuel to the fire that something else went on.

Awford will often discuss players on the fringes of his team but never once did he go into his decision on Connolly.

There was never a suggestion on how he could force his way back into the plans – work on his fitness or add something to his game.

The door remained firmly shut.

But it’s not the first time a manager has made that type of call on a player – it happens at every club in the country and it has happened at Pompey many times.

Many wondered what exactly Mark Burchill had done to be ignored by Harry Redknapp.

Why wouldn’t Paul Hart give Theofanis Gekas a chance?

Most of us were all baffled when the defensive rock that was Arjan De Zeeuw was not part of Alain Perrin’s plans.

Perhaps you may remember when Scott Hiley was ostracised by Tony Pulis or Alan Knight was sidelined by Terry Fenwick?

Was there more to it or did those managers simply decide they had better options at the time?

While those sparked much debate at the time, there have been many more down the years who failed to make their way into the first-team plans at a club and never got the same attention.

The reasons behind a judgement may not be instantly obvious.

But sometimes we just have to accept it’s down to the bloke who gets paid to make those decisions, even if he won’t tell us why.