Fraizer Campbell chases after the ball during the match against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on July 16, 2016. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Information: This is an article I wrote for The Eagles Beak and has been published here 1 month it was published on their website. This version may differ slightly from their version. 

I genuinely feel for Frazier Campbell. He doesn’t seem to get much love from the Palace faithful and I am not really sure why because it isn’t like we aren’t used to having attackers who don’t score many goals. In fact we have taken many an attacker to our hearts when they yielded few goals. In fact, it seems that there are few things that polarise fans opinions more than that of an attacker who doesn’t score many goals.

It seems that players in other areas of the field can get away with not doing their primary job if their are useful in other aspects of their play, for example, a midfield player can shirk a tackle if he can pass the ball on to a sixpence, a la Glenn Hoddle, but an attacker? No! His job, in many people’s eyes, is just to score goals.

Of course this isn’t the reality of his job because there are two types of attacker, a striker and a forward.

A striker is a type of player who can be best described as a ‘one trick pony’ who is there only to put the pigs bladder into the onion bag and doesn’t have much else to his game. On the other hand, a forward has more to his game. Apart from scoring goals his role is to create goals either for himself or for other people. He should have the ability to go down the wing to cross the ball, have some tricky skills or to be a target man to win the ball in the air.

When you think of a striker, think Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer or Andrew Johnson then when you think a forward, think Ian Wright, Teddy Sheringham or Ronaldo.

The problem comes when you have a forward who doesn’t chip in with goals but might do a lot of the ‘dirty work’ like run the channels, chase down the defenders, make space or cross the ball for someone else to steal the glory. A player who sacrifices himself for the good of the team.

For players like Frazier Campbell and Conner Wickham their game isn’t all about getting goals. It’s about the bigger performance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say Campbell is world class, clearly he isn’t but the amount of stick he gets is unwarranted!

I have a saying which I bore people with which is ‘I can forgive a player for lack of talent but I can’t forgive him for a lack of effort!’

Every time I have seen Campbell and Wickham player they run like a bastatheir ars… a headless chicken. Last season in the F.A. Cup away at Southampton Campbell ran the whole game, chasing lost causes eventually getting on the end of one to square it back for Puncheon to shoot and Zaha to score the rebound.

Then when he came on in the round away at Reading and he score in the last minute to make it 0-2, he celebrated in front of the fans as if the ‘tap in’ was for them. The fans who give him so much abuse.

Players aren’t stupid, they hear the crowd, read social media and know how popular (or not) they are yet when Campbell scored away at reading he looked genuinely pleased for us, the fans!

But enough of defending him, let’s look at some facts about his career. He has won 1 full England cap in a 3-2 defeat to Holland, Robben scored a last minute winner. His first two senior league games were for Manchester United, one in the Community Shield for which he has a winners medal. He scored 20 goals in 31 appearances for Royal Antwerp, 15 in 34 for Hull, 1 in 10 for Spurs (plus 7 Europa League appearances), 6 in 58 for Sunderland and 13 in 49 for Cardiff. Over all his scoring record is 1 goal ever 4 games, which isn’t great but it isn’t the worst either.

Okay, so what? There are plenty of strikers out there who haven’t got a good run in the team to show what they can do. We have other players who are not loved by the Palace faithful, why do I feel sorry for him in particular? Because he signed for us on July 24th, 2014. And? And, on August 14th, 2014, just 3 weeks later the manager who signed him left us up shi in the lurch, just 2 days before the start of the season!

Cut the lad some slack here. It isn’t often a player signs for a manager only for him to be fired, resigns or dies before he has had a chance to kick a ball in anger for his new club. Who knows what Tony Pulis had in mind for the team and Campbell when he signed him. While I have a very low opinion of Pulis, we have seen him to the strengths of a forward and I dare say Campbell’s career might be in a much healthier position now had Pulis stayed.

Again, I am not saying he’d be pulling up trees in the Premier League but if you look at the players Pulis signed during his short time at Palace it could be argued that Campbell would more likely have prospered than failed at Palace.

Pulis signed Puncheon (loan made permanent), Dann, Hennessey and Ledley in January 2914 then Campbell, Hangeland & Kelly in the summer of 2014. In fact, Martin Kelly signed for Palace on the morning of the day Tony Pulis left Crystal Palace, August 14th!

Given that we won a court case against Pulis and it being taken as fact that he planned to leave us before the season had started, could we not sue Pulis for signing players that he had no intention of working with? Could the players not sue Pulis for something as their career didn’t blossom as he might have led them to believe it would?

Who knows what Kelly was told at the time to convince him to join us from Liverpool. Maybe he was told he’d be partnering Scott Dann for the season? Maybe Campbell was told he’d lead the strike force with Dwight Gayle? We may never know what would have happened but given the fact that Campbell signed for Palace to play for Pulis in a system which never came to be implemented. I for one feel for the guy!

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