Sunday, 31 January 2016

Rene and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Will the real Rene Howe hurry up and get his clearance from the Welsh FA, so we can dispense with the tubby lookalike who has been filling in these past few weeks? 

If only.

Regrettably for both us and him, this is the actual Rene Howe and it’s quite a sad spectacle.  Just a year ago he was still a League striker, with a goalscoring record that had carried him around the lower divisions. Yesterday, instead of Fratton Park or the Kassam he was on show in front of a few hundred at Hungerford and looking no closer to regaining his mojo.   

In another statuesque performance, the only noticeable movement was when his studs slipped, resulting in a fall that seismologists picked up 25 miles away. It’s looking increasingly like his best days as a forward are behind him, unless he switches codes to rugby union. 

But isn’t this a familiar tale whenever an old favourite reappears? ‘Never Go Back’ should be drummed into every footballer at any level because it is so rarely a happy homecoming.  In our case the rap sheet has numerous previous entries. Top of the list: Carl Alford.  His sale to Diamonds was like a death in the family for us, and how we longed for him to come back. Then, in our hour of need, several years later, he did.  The good news was that he had been on a strict diet.  The bad news was that it was Dominos.

Then there was Dean Martin. Another who made a big stir first time around, and whose early return was seen as a major plus. Again, we should have known better.  Did he feel he had nothing to prove?  Pretty soon the pop side were offering advice to the contrary.  He never really recovered from that infamous miss against Bath. Will we ever forgive him? Eventually, but it still feels too soon.    

Lee Harper built his entire transfer policy around re-signing old players, so back came Iyseden Christie and several others. Luckily we’d hung on to those size 46 shorts, which in fact are currently enjoying another new lease of life. The difference with Harper’s return to old faces was that they weren’t that hot first time around either, but the downward trend continued. 

It applies to managers too –

Peter Morris: first spell - runners up, Cup success; second spell - runners up, Trophy heartbreak, the drop, the sack.

Morell Maison: first spell - hmm; second spell – meh; third spell – ugh.

Marcus Law: first spell – ok; second spell – can we get back to you on that?     


  1. While I totally agree with your sentiments but there were notable exceptions last season. Brett, Jason Lee, Eliott Sandy and James Jepsom and Dom Langdon this season.

    1. Don't remember Dom Langdon playing for us previously?

  2. I could also have mentioned Frankie Murphy, who did it twice, but that would have forced me to be balanced and that would never do. But fair point re Brett.