NEIL BONNAR: Is homesickness a serious cause for concern or just another football fad?

Andy Robinson has terminated his contract with Wanderers

Andy Robinson has terminated his contract with Wanderers

First published in Sport

PINK boots. You’ve got to be good to wear them.

My son’s got a pair, but they didn’t do him much good at five-a-side on Monday night when I left him for dead with an explosive shimmy, turn of pace and left-foot bullet into the far corner.

I caught it just right with my bright purple boot, bringing a faint ripple of applause from our yellow-black-orange-striped-polka-dot-booted bunch who have met every Monday night at Leverhulme Park for what began as a kickabout three years ago and has become a win-at-all-costs showdown of World Cup-like importance.

And so I was reminded of the apparent homesickness which has led to Andy Robinson’s contract at Bolton Wanderers being terminated after just one month.

Now homesickness is not something to be taken lightly and the reason I have brought it up is because Robinson is not the first Bolton player to be linked with the problem.

Only 18 months ago or so, Marvin Sordell was said to be struggling with the same thing, although he has recently suggested he wasn’t.

Pink boots and homesickness are not totally unrelated – in my world very few things are. One is a football fad; the other one, unless my nose for these things has lost its edge, could very much become one.

Was Londoner Sordell suffering from homesickness? I don’t know. A month ago he countered the suggestion originally made by Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman, the striker posting on social media that he had never said he was homesick.

He had just signed for Burnley though.

Was Andy Robinson suffering from homesickness? Again, I don’t know, and without someone having an interview with the former Southampton player and asking him we are unlikely to ever know the full story.

But the very fact that the word “homesick” has suddenly emerged in the local football vocabulary is very interesting.

With spin doctor publicity departments always looking for ways to avoid a fuss from the public I suspect many clubs will be looking closely at the Wanderers’ situation without caring whether Sordell and Robinson were homesick or not.

I can save them the trouble. There has largely been sympathy for both players – and rightly so – although in Sordell’s case it rapidly disappeared when he signed for the club next door.

Just like Alice bands, metatarsal injuries, makeweights in transfer deals and other fads which cropped up, stayed a while, then disappeared, this is a pivotal moment in the presence of the word “homesick” in the game.

Watch this space.

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