Theo Archibald Departs: Reaction

Credit Graham Burrell

The first real transfer news of the summer has broken this afternoon, and it is perhaps a bit too familiar for some supporters.

A player who had been marginalised at the club and sent out on loan has left. 24-year-old Theo Archibald impressed on loan at Orient last season, with many clamouring for his recall in January. That didn’t happen, but it was felt we were in a strong position this summer as his value had almost certainly increased. That seems a redundant point now, as he’s seemingly signed for Orient for no upfront fee, although we retain a ‘future interest’ in the player.

I don’t want to sound negative about this: Theo didn’t play a lot of football for us and had an injury-hit first season, but I had hoped we’d see some of the exciting younger players that were frozen out given a chance, or at least a pre-season. Perhaps there’s more to it, perhaps the player didn’t want to come back, I don’t know, but when you have closing in on 20 goal involvements in the division below there’s surely a good shout for being able to step up? He’s played under Mark Kennedy before, he’s had a great football upbringing at Celtic and Brentford and yet having barely kicked a ball for City, he’s gone.

Credit Graham Burrell

I know we have a chunky squad and that will be thinned down with sales and loans before being inflated with new players, but one thing we lacked last season, and I mean desperately lacked was flair and pace out wide. Whilst Archibald was providing assists in the division below, we were playing without wingers, looking one-dimensional at times. I felt exasperated we’d let Harry Anderson go and not replace him, I desperately hope that I’m now not saying the same thing this coming season. Ok, Harry was a Lincoln legend and Theo never got going, but you could see the talent the boy had.

I’m not a negative person, but I think because I’d backed Theo to be a hit, I feel let down that he hasn’t come back and proven himself, for whatever reason. When he did play in the EFL Trophy he had shades of Elbouzedi’s pace, and moments of Andrarde’s skills. I felt he’d be a good squad member last season; there’s no doubt if he hadn’t gone out on loan he’d have benefitted us during our injury crisis last campaign. Instead, after two years, he’s gone for almost nothing, despite putting in the sort of season at Orient that, had he been their player, would have seen League One clubs sniffing around.

I know there’s a lot to come this summer and I know this is just the start. I’m going to be patient and obviously, I (nor you) know the ins and outs of this deal, but it does just feel a tiny bit disappointing to me. I wish Theo the best of luck in his future endeavours in London.