West Ham’s Gentleman Jack restores faith in footballers after Diame rant
12:23 03 June 2014
Hammers correspondent Dave Evans compares the conduct of the released Jack Collison to the wantaway Mo Diame
The cynical and quite frankly ridiculous words of West Ham midfielder Mo Diame were still reverberating around the social media sites when Jack Collison’s open letter to the fans came into the public domain.
Brash, arrogant Diame has said that he must join a top six club, that the manager didn’t buy enough players last summer and worst of all, that some of his team-mates were not trying in some games.
Anyone who saw the Senegal international’s apperance at Burnley in the Capital One Cup last season would be all too aware of a player not giving 100 per cent. He was subbed at half time having hardly touched a ball.
So enough of the hopefully soon departed Diame, to someone who has already departed, a player who was a Hammer through and through.
Collison’s career at Upton Park was certainly a rollercoaster one as he admitted in his heartfelt message to the supporters.
There were three defining moments in his West Ham career, one good, one bad and one tragic.
The tragedy was the death of his father whilst on the way to watch him play against Spurs.
Bravely, Jack played three days later against Millwall and was led from the field in tears after West Ham had won in extra time.
“That night against Millwall in the Carling Cup will be remembered for many reasosn, but for me it showed me what the West Ham family is truly about,” wrote Collison in his letter.
“Real people, with real feelings, who pulled me through the toughest time in my life.”
The previous season, Collison was to suffer a knee injury which has blighted his career eve since.
He twisted his knee on the touchline at Wigan and was not only out for months, it is even now being constantly managed.
It was that injury that probably prevented Collison becoming the West Ham regular his potential merited.
He had broken into the first team, he was a priceless goalscoring midfielder and already a Wales international, but although he had his moments after that, he never quite fulfilled that potential.
His big moment came in the play-off semi-final at Cardiff City in 2012.
He was superb that night, ghosting into the box to score two goals that more than anything fired the Hammers to Wembley and back into the Premier League under Sam Allardyce.
“I hope those two goals in the play-off semi-final will go some way to paying the people back who stuck by me and supported me.”
There is little doubt about that. On a personal note, it was always a pleasure to talk to Jack after a game. He was happy to chat win, lose or draw and would answer any question put to him, especially about the manner of his injury.
“I hope I’m remembered as someone who gave his all in ever game,” wrote Collison. “Even when things weren’t goiung well, I always tried to do my best to have a positive impact, not just on the pitch, but also off the pitch and around the training ground.”
He certainly will and hopefully he will get a new club soon and prove that he has what it takes.
For every Diame, there is a gentleman Jack Collison.
He is one of the good guys.