Let me be clear from the outset, I don't think Tim Ream is the greatest player of all time, and nor do I think that he's the worst.
With rumours of QPR sniffing around with a £1m offer for Bolton Wanderers' American centre half/left back/scapegoat/nice guy, I immediately thought of the countless hours of discussion between our fans on various social media platforms as to his suitability for our fine club.
I also had a toot at Liam's fine article from last night which set out his arguments as to why we should look to cash in on Ream. I agreed with his criticisms of the player, to an extent.
Despite this agreement however, I remain of the opinion that we shouldn't sell him.
I'm sure that Neil Lennon would find ways to stretch whatever fee we received, like he has with every other deal done this Summer, but that's not the be-all-and-end-all, is it? I also understand that every player has his price.
But again, that's not the point.
The entire purpose of this stupid game that we all love so much (no, not Battletoads) is to win and to be successful. We cannot expect to do this by selling our better players. As I mentioned above, I do not think that Ream is the Messiah, but neither is he the naughty boy that so many seem to have decided that he should be.
In our less than salubrious position, are we really that keen to lose an experienced international and ex-Premier League footballer? More importantly, are we really in a position to weaken an already paper-thin defensive unit?
This isn't so much a question about Tim Ream's future at Bolton Wanderers, instead being more a plea to the powers-that-be to stop the culling of our senior players. The fan base is realistic about our chances this season. We know we're not exactly favourites for, well, anything, but enough is enough, and it's time for a change (as Owen Hart once said).
This isn't about Tim Ream. This is about Bolton Wanderers trying to retain a half decent squad.
I hope he stays. I hope he ends up proving the naysayers wrong. Even if he doesn't, £1m needs doubling at the least.
The player has his flaws, I'm not blind to them, but I'm also fed up of seeing sub-standard footballers come in to replace their betters. For once I'd like us to try, at least, to retain those more technically gifted players. Dean Moxey is a competent left back of that I'm sure, but in my opinion he's not better than Tim Ream.
So what's the solution?
I long for the day when the American is thrust back into the defensive midfield role in which he excelled previously. There, and with another defensive screen beside him to do the physical work, I believe that his ability on the ball would come to the fore. I hate to compare ANYONE to Ivan Campo, but I see parallels there in two players perhaps not best suited to being a central defender, but someone with the poise and ability to dictate a game from midfield.
I'd wager he'd do a better job that Neil Danns (don't h8) or Jay Spearing in that role. I'd certainly like to see him have a go.
So yeah, LIam, I respect your opinion, but I think Tim Ream has a future at Bolton Wanderers.