Player profile #2
Born: 17th December 1981 in Bishop Auckland
Position: Right back (and occasionally elsewhere)
We’ll start Simon Ramsden’s profile with a dictionary definition;
capable of being depended on; worthy of trust; reliable: a dependable employee.
I always thought dependable was somewhat of a back-handed compliment when it came to describing footballers; Phil Neville is dependable in the same way that Lee Crooks was – capable of playing a few positions but without flair, finesse or freedom. That’s not to say that these types of footballers aren’t without there uses, Mr. Neville has somehow managed 59 caps for England and Mr. Crooks forged a solid lower-league career before heading off to climb mountains in Kenya. No – these Mister Dependables, these Kings of Consistency, crop up in every successful team from Man Utd (look at O’ Shea) to our very own side, Rochdale.
The most obvious of candidates for this tag in the current team is one Simon Ramsden, right-back extraordinaire. Rambo joined from Grimsby Town in January 2006 as Steve Parkin’s side struggled to stave of the threat of relegation. The gaping hole that Wayne Evans left behind at full-back had yet to be plugged; Jamie Clarke was a central midfielder, Warren Goodhind kept getting booked and Gary Brown was just too short. So step forward Mr. Ramsden, frustrated at the lack of opportunities at then not-rubbish Grimsby – tallish, strongish, and with a very chiselled jawline. The kind of jawline which eventually saw us stay up that year.
Ramsden immediately became first-choice right back, but also found himself playing right midfield on a couple of desperate occasions, once good, once not so good. Other times he filled in at centre-back during defensive crises. Still, in every match he played he displayed the same level of calmness and common-sense as he always does. In short, and back to this word again – dependable.
In 06/07, Parkin somehow fell out of love with the ex-Sunderland trainee, and had to compete for his spot with the ill-fated Gary Brown. Parkin was soon for the chop though, and new manager Keith Hill made Rambo his number one number two. Alongside McArdle, Stanton and Goodall he formed part of the familiar back-four which turned around Rochdale’s season. The next year, with new-boy Tom Kennedy, he was almost an ever-present and their solidity was an integral part of Rochdale’s playoff push. This season, however, it’s been a slightly different story…
The problem with these consistent types is that they aren’t very exciting. They’re useful to have around, yes, but there’ll always be someone more flashy around the corner, ready to park his arse on the pitch and park Mr. Dependable’s arse on the bench. Like Ashley Cole usurped Phil Neville, ex-Darlo wing-back Scott Wiseman has been Simon Ramsden’s young pretender. He’s faster, he’s flashier and he’s damn fine. Ramsden looks like John Doolan in comparison. Since autumn 2008, Scott Wiseman’s attack-minded, rapid style of play has been favoured by Hill and Ramsden’s had to act as deputy.
There is still a place for Ramsden though; he can play at centre-back when called upon and even played decently at centre-mid in the play-off final. But you get the feeling that Ramsden’s place, while not completely in Wiseman’s grasp, has at least been stolen temporarily. Or borrowed, to put it another way.
Still, I’m happy whenever I see Ramsden trot out in the blue and black stripes. After all he’s dependable. Worthy of trust. Reliable. Not to mention his jawline, his lovely lovely jawline…
Written by Matt Boothman on 19th Feb 09