Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
So Dom Vose has gone. No more of those sumptuous cross-field passes. No more of those strange, shuffling dribbles which look too slow but work because he’s so hard to shift off the ball. No more of that magnificent flourishing beard. And no more of that peculiar, tiny, pink rucksack from which he seemed to be inseparable off the pitch.
The signs that a move was imminent were there as Vose wasn’t playing a central role in our plans any more. He’s been an unused substitute in our last two games and has completed ninety minutes just twice times in the last eight matches. In total he’s managed 450 minutes of our last 720. So, for whatever reason, he wasn’t the man we were building the season’s run-in around.
The problem is, there’s another statistic attached to those eight matches which needs to be taken into consideration. We lost six of them and won just one. Without his creativity it’s not surprising that our form has taken an alarming dip. What’s worrying is we’ll have to make do without those moments of quality for the rest of the season.
That miserable run started on Boxing Day, and it’s tempting to jump to the conclusion that the opening of the transfer window might have turned his head. He has certainly admitted to a dip in his form, but there’s no proof that distraction is the cause. However, if he doesn’t rediscover his mojo soon, Scunthorpe might find that their transfer coup is a little bit more of a gamble than they had hoped.
When the speculation surrounding his future exploded following his spectacular goal against Gateshead, I was sceptical. He is undoubtedly a gifted player, capable of remarkable moments of quality and certainly looked like he could drive a Conference team to success. However, I had my doubts as to whether a Football League club would want to take a punt on him if they scouted him fully.
A regular spell watching Vose would raise questions. Does he do enough when we don’t have the ball? Does his desire to play at his own pace slow things down when a more direct thrust is required? And most crucially, does he get the most out of his prodigious talent?
That was a question which troubled me from quite early in the season. He was scoring freely, but I felt he ought to be hitting the net more consistently considering the regularity with which his dribbling got him into scoring positions on the edge of the box.
Players with his ability don’t drop down to The Conference unless something is wrong. Was that poor conversion rate the flaw in his make-up? He has certainly had chances to show higher level sides what he’s capable of as his career path has taken him steadily downwards: Fulham; a trial with Manchester United; West Ham; Barnet; Colchester.
There are definitely doubts about Vose’s ability to thrive in League One, but I’ll miss his ability to do the remarkable. And that rucksack.