FourFourDrew: Thanks For The Memories

Drew Heatley 23rd July 2019

There’s a bit of revisionism going on when it comes to Ryan Sessegnon, who’s edging closer to the exit. Drew Heatley argues why he should go with our blessing.

“If we can get £20 million plus Onomah and Nkoudou for him, I’ll drive him to White Hart Lane myself.”

It’s a tweet that stopped me in my tracks. Why, now, is “one of our own” Ryan Sessegnon finding himself the subject of takes nearly as hot as this mini heatwave?

Football fans deal with perceived rejection in funny ways. We all do it. Sess moving on to better himself and his career is seen as a huge slap in the mush by some, and as a result we land sly digs and jabs to make us feel better.

“He’ll not get off the bench at Spurs”.

“He hardly set the Premier League alight”.

“I’m not sure he gets in our first XI this season”.

The latter point might be true (as debated superbly on this week’s pod), the first point is up for debate (and isn’t really our concern), while the middle argument is a tad unfair.  

Last season’s shit show aside, Sess has been the brightest of lights for our football club. Since his debut at Brisbane Road in the League Cup in 2016, it’s been a joy to watch him progress and evolve, exploding once Matty Targett’s arrival gave him carte blanche to tear up the left flank and cause no end of problems.

There’s the contract issue, of course. Famously, Edwin Van Der Sar signed a new deal with us in January 2005, just six months before he departed for Man United. In the intervening 14 years, the legend’s grown that he inked his deal just to make sure we got a decent fee when he left for the Red Devils. That may be true, but it’s worth remembering this was a 35-year-old veteran who was a lot more comfortable and confident in himself when it came to business. Sess isn’t even 20 years old; it’d take a lot of guts to sign a deal and potentially close off any chance of a move for the foreseeable future. Would you take your employer at their word at that age?

Once upon a time, local lads cut their teeth at their local clubs, and if they were good enough, they’d break through. We were lucky to have players like Les Strong, George Cohen and Paul Parker do just that through the years, to name just three. Today, it’s never been harder to find and cultivate that talent without the bigger clubs swooping in like a seagull nabbing a Chihuahua.

Couple that with the fact that we’re not great at turning potential into established first-team talent (as I’ve said before) and it makes Sess’s impact all the more impressive. For many, many reasons, we should forget last season. Remember the brace at St James’ Park, the hat-trick at Bramall Lane and the game-changing performance against Derby in the play-off semi. Remember these things and try to feel grateful it happened, not be sad (or angry) that it’s nearly over.

Thanks for the memories, Ryan.