Date:Monday December 22 2008
Simon Walton saw "red" on Saturday, when Plymouth played Barnsley, a game which Plymouth ultimately lost. Walton`s card came 28 minutes into the match and was awarded as the midfielder lashed out at Barnsley`s Anderson De Silva.
Plymouth manager, Paul Sturrock, has not been happy with Walton`s lack of discipline in previous matches. He has warned Walton on more than one occasion to improve his poor disciplinary record. It would appear that Walton`s inability to listen to his manager`s warnings has resulted in the club taking the very dramatic step of transfer-listing the ex-Hoops after only four months!
Sturrock told the Plymouth F.C. official website that he had spoken to Walton about the danger of being sent-off. He highlighted that, from Plymouth`s last two games, he had noticed "certain incidents that could have turned into what happened on Saturday." One of the games in which Walton`s ill-discipline caused Sturrock concern, was last Saturday, when Plymouth entertained QPR. In the 1-1 draw, Walton received a yellow card.
Sturrock appeared to be at the end of his tether with Walton: "He has taken no heed of it (Sturrock`s warnings) and that I can`t legislate for, I can`t tolerate or accept." Sturrock`s article was a very long and explicit one - quite unusual in the circumstances for a manager to be so forthcoming. However, it seems clear that Sturrock was making a point as he added: "He has let all the players down, which is more important than anything else."
Walton joined Plymouth on 6th August 2008, for a record fee of up to £750,000. It is very interesting to note that Walton`s signing was hailed by Plymouth, with the club acknowledging that he was their most expensive buy to-date.
Yet, when QPR bought Walton from Charlton, in July 2007, the club paid a mere £200,000. On top of that, Walton had a torrid time at Rangers through injury - remember he injured himself in pre-season and didn`t make his league debut for the Rs until December 2007.
One is left wondering how Plymouth chairman Paul Stapleton could justify splashing out around £750,000 for a player who had suffered a broken leg and played very few games for his host club - and boasting that Walton was the club`s record signing! After all, Walton only made 5 appearances in the Hoops shirt, before going out on loan to Hull at the end of January 08, for whom he made 10 appearances before returning to Loftus Road at the end of the season. Rangers, on the other hand, made a tidy profit of around £550,000 on the deal!
And, in the end, Walton did not make the impact promised: he played in only 10 games for the Pilgrims, appearing in the starting XI 9 times and coming on as substitute once. Walton played in the Pilgrims` opening 6 matches but, after that, featured rarely due to poor form which saw him out of favour with manager Sturrock. He played one game at the end of October but Sturrock admitted that he nearly substituted Walton because, when he first came on as substitute during Plymouth`s 1-0 away win at Sheffield Wednesday, he "had a wee torrid two or three minutes, and I was nearly subbing the sub."
Sturrock was still waiting for Walton to justify the fee paid and predicted that Walton, only 21, would "sooner or later…turn the corner, but he`s going through a learning curve at this minute." These comments came after that win at Hillsborough, but Walton did not feature again for the Pilgrims, mainly due to injury, until the beginning of December.
In the 10 games he featured in Walton failed to score for the Pilgrims although he earned himself 3 yellow cards and then Saturday`s red card. That record speaks louder than Walton`s record signing-on fee!
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