Date: 6th October 2006 at 11:52am
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Any lingering hopes Blackburn Rovers fans might have held out for the club being able to retain the services of Lucas Neill beyond his contract at least seem to be disappearing.

Currently away on International duty with Australia the current Rovers captain has reaffirmed his previous intentions on wanting to leave the club. When speaking at in a press conference in Australia in which he was unveiled as the Aussie captain for their upcoming match with Paraguay Neill said:

I was linked to Liverpool most famously, and no player in their right mind would not want the opportunity to go to a club like that with so much history and prestige.

The deal that was presented to the club at the time from Liverpool was not in Blackburn’s best interests, therefore I didn’t have a say and I didn’t move on.”

It was no secret that Neill was disappointed in not gaining the move he so desired to Anfield but he has been very professional in his attitude to Rovers since then which is high commendable.

He would go on to reiterate his desire to leave the club however, be this in January when the transfer window re-opens or in the summer when he can walk away for free:

It’s unfortunate for my career that it didn’t go that way, but as a professional I have to move on.

But now I’m hopefully in just as good a position when those opportunities present themselves again in January, or if not then, I’ll get a free transfer in June.”

Having been given the Australian captaincy as a result of Newcastle United’s Craig Moore’s no show (the defender is said to have missed his flight to Brisbane, therefore missing a training session so he has been handed a one match ban by Aussie coach Graham Arnold) Neill would say this of his selection as national captain:

It’s a dream come true … and I will be fighting hard not to give the armband back.”

So there you have it, the situation seems to have not changed at all, be it agent influence or whatever, no extended UEFA Cup run, high League position etc. seems enough for Neill to remain at Ewood Park, his mind is made up that his career is best suited with another club, which I’m sure, as painful as it is to hear most people can understand…

Neill will continue to give his all for Rovers, and although in light of these latest comments, and what we already knew many will want him out in January I’m sure that Mark Hughes will fight to retain his service until the end of the season, unless he gets a VERY good offer in January.

Although he’ll be missed I still feel Rovers have full-back options available. If Brett Emerton is retained at right-back Rovers still have plenty of left sided options without having to buy, they have Michael Gray (who I think will leave in the summer anyway though), James McEveley, Andy Taylor, Michael Kane and another youngster in Swedish star Martin Olsson.

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20 Replies to “Hopes of keeping Neill disappearing!”

  • If he stays after again publicly reiterate his desire to leave I’d be amazed. He’ll carry on doing a job but he looks to be really pushing for a move in January. A move away might not be as appealing as it looks once it happens, especially to Liverpool? He’ll be replaced easier than some people think, sure he’s quality but one player doesn’t make a team. Rovers have a long list of alternatives that could eventually match, if not better him, if indeed they aren’t almost equal already?

  • Good riddance to him, if he wants to leave so badly – let him. He is a good player (not great) and will be hard to replace but Hughes needs to move forward and line up a replacement for January and let him go. Emerton is doing well at the moment in his usual role and we still have Gray.

  • No one player is bigger or better than a team are they! Good points Wellsy, hopefully we’ll hear more from you down the line?

  • Hughes Da Man – why do you think Mikey Gray will leave in the summer – hasn’t he just extended his contract?

  • I do believe Bellamy was harder to replace, as was said Emerton is playing well at riteback and Zurab may need a new position when Nelsen is back in the team and can play well there, as proved for Rangers. On the left McElvey is playing well for the Reserves at the min and there’s always Taylor as well, Gray can leave he’s ok, but nothing special, time to bring in the kids, will save on wages as well.

  • It was only a one year extension in the summer wasn’t it? If Gray isn’t in the side, at his age I don’t think he’ll sign a new deal, if he is even offered a new one at the end of this season, if in actual fact his contract does end in June or July?

  • There are plenty of options at left back aren’t there Clint, and so many of these are the kids which have to be used at some point, so why not now, let Gray help ease them into the team (if Hughes is angered enough by Neill’s latest outburst he’ll drop him.)

  • I think Neill should be dropped, I know he’s a good player but if he wants to leave then the team may as well start playing without him now!! Get the players that want to play for the clubin the team now as I think he’ll leave in Jan. I think its the wrong way to go to play a player that has publically said he wants to leave -as good as he is. Its time to get tough with Neill, jsut to prove that when he leaves he will be replaced like anyone else

  • Quality footballer, but as I’ve said before no one man is bigger than a club, maybe he should be left to suffer for a bit before he does move on?

  • Maybe come January Bellers will want to do a swop deal for Lucas? Lets face it if things don’t change soon he’ll be off loaded! I think Jay should be ready for first team action not forgetting he did have a bit of experiance under Souey a few seasons ago.

  • From comments announced today, Lucas I feel should play no further part. He wants to leave, we all know that but I feel a tail wagging the dog senario is occuring. He should keep his mouth tight lipped, leave with the dignity he would have deserved for his services. Liverpool next game, should he be Captain??????? Should he play?????? NO to both (what do you think)?

  • i agree with you govtpros if i was manager i would drop him from the first team and he should play for the reserves for the rest of his rovers career

  • Andy Todd had a go after being left out and hasn’t played since, Neill is playing yet he’s still running his mouth. If Hughes won’t drop him he should at least be stripped of the captains armband, he doesn’t deserve the honour of wearing it. I voted for him being captain in a poll recently, I’d vote against it now! If it is for the best of the team to play him then Hughes should pick him, if we can do without drop him, but PLEASE Sparky give someone the armband who will wear it with pride, who WANTS to be there!

  • The problem we have now is that Neill keeps shooting his mouth off. If he could just shut up for ten minutes things would have been okay. However, for Hughes to strip him of the captaincy now we lose a player and it undermines his decision to keep him for the remainder of his contract thus making him look even more stupid for rejecting £2million when we will now get nothing. This means Neill’s recent could displays have come at a huge cost to us!!!! Alternatively if he continues to play it doesn’t promote a great image of the club and many of the players who are giving it their all may frrl a little when an individual who clearly doesn’t want to be here can copntinue to captain the side. Neill really has given Hughes a huge dilemma. I really don’t know what I would do for the best

  • Neill was only given the armband cos Nelsen is out, Tugay dosnt play that often and Savage I dont think would be a good Captain, better at concentrating on wot he does best. It was an attempt to keep him as well but heh he wants to go, I feel as if his head has been turned and he is believing he’s better than wot he is, not to say he’s crap or that but he’s a good player @ a good club, nothing more

  • I think we should play Grey on the left for time being have Ooijer (c) and keep the team the same and drop Neill but when Henchoz is fit i think it should be RB: Emerton CB: Ooijer, Henchoz LB: Kizivili, i personally think that will work better than what we have got going now

  • Not sure about Zurab at left back, Gray, McEveley or Taylor for me. Having Ooijer as captain, depsite not being their long, and only just starting to settle isn’t a bad call really though, not many other options realistically that could take it? maybe it will give him extra confidence also?

  • yes, well maybe we should by a new Left back when neill leaves in January “Wayne Bridge” hes out of chelseas first team and has shown hints he would like to leave to have a first team place in January aswell so maybe or maybe not

  • Quality, International footballer but he’d cost too much money I think, not sure Rovers would be his choice either. I’m not convinced Hughes needs to buy a replacement though, he has players at the club who should get a chance.

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