It's news to no-one that the big problem with Richard Eckersley is his contract, but talking to the Canadian Press' Neil Davidson today, Ryan Nelsen confirmed that it's a problem that will more than likely see the Englishman leave the club in the off season. Apparently his 2014 salary is set to be even bigger than the $310,000 he was listed as for this year (due to using allocation money to buy it down) with Nelsen suggesting that not even Dani Alves, Ashely Cole, or, um Glen Johnson, would be worth the destruction of the salary cap that comes with a 5 or 6 or 700,000 contract (surely to god that's not what Eckersley's salary is at right?).
There was plenty of conciliatory talk of how it's not Eckersley's fault, he's a good player they'd be happy to have, if it weren't for that pesky contract, but it seems he's the most likely candidate for the one buyout Toronto is allowed for the season, Nelsen saying the contract was so big, re-negotiation was out of the question. As well as the size of the salary, all this talk seems to confirm that it's guaranteed for next year, which would mean a 3 year term was given to him in the 11/12 off season, a damning indictment of Aron Winter, or whoever was in charge of contracts at the time.
Eckersley also seems to recognise that the writing is on the wall for him, and this is really the bit that makes this article worth linking, a magnificent quote that even Paul Mariner might have had second thoughts about.
"Fullbacks in this league don't get paid a lot of money. But I'm not some ordinary fullback,"
Now there may be context I'm unaware of, or perhaps Davidson just doesn't get Eckersleys humour, but Davidson did follow the quote with 'he said matter-of-factly', which doesn't suggest Eckersley was joking.
I don't wish any ill on Eckersley, I think he's very much overpriced and that yes, he is very much some ordinary fullback, ordinary even by MLS standards, but he's come over here he's always tried his hardest and for that I say thanks. Also, pretty much everything about him, his looks, his hair, his name, his accent, his style of play, just screams Northern England, so that endears him to me a lot.
But still, I'm sorry I just can't let that go.
I feel bad for Andrew Wiedeman as he got unfairly burdened with the modern era tag that hung around his neck and stopped a lot of people giving him a fair shake, but Eckersley just did it to himself, he's written his own TFC epitaph. For someone like me, this is the most valuable thing he's done all season.
Richard 'Not some ordinary fullback' Eckersley.