My Sporting Week: Ignoring the transfer value of goalkeepers just isn’t cricket

Hitting the ball is one objective, but why does a test series take weeks to complete?
Hitting the ball is one objective, but why does a test series take weeks to complete?
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I had planned to write my column this week about the Ashes series between England and Australia, but I quickly scrapped that idea as it would have been too much of a struggle for me to hide my ignorance when it comes to all things cricket.

I grasp the fundamental principles of the game - whack the ball if you’re batting, smash the stumps if you’re bowling - but ask me what an over is, or why a test series takes weeks to complete, and my face would go blanker than a snooker cue ball lying in a patch of snow.

They didn’t play cricket at my school in west Fife, although cricket bats were occasionally seen for non-sporting purposes.

That said, I have enjoyed reading the recent match reports from Stenhousemuir Cricket Club, even if some of the terminology is alien to me.

So rather than risking the wrath of any cricket-loving readers, I have decided to stick to a subject I that I know well.

During the football close-season transfer speculation is ramped up as fans and journalists scramble for information on the latest comings and goings at clubs across the land.

Invariably this speculation is about strikers, and in certain scenarios it is justified. There’s no doubting that Lyle Taylor, for example, was Falkirk’s star man last season, and was thus likely to attract the attention of other clubs with bigger transfer budgets.

But more often than not, we allow ourselves to froth over the future sale of forwards, or target-men, or poachers, or whatever you want to call them, at the expense of all other players.

When was the last time you overheard a football fan expressing his delight that his side were linked to an enterprising full-back?

Goalkeepers, however, are the real victims in all of this.

Despite being the most specialised position of them all, they are regularly overlooked in any transfer news round-up.

Last month, when Falkirk signed up Michael McGovern for another season between the sticks, it was quite rightly greeted with delight from Bairns fans.

Yet this was a rare example of affection for a keeper in a footballing world that is largely hostile to them. Welcome back, Michael.