There seems to be a lot of divided views on whether our erstwhile captain has ‘lowered’ himself in moving to newly promoted Scunthorpe United in the Championship. Elsewhere I’ve seen a little harsh condemnation of Hibs hero Pat Stanton’s assertion that Jones has not bettered himself by moving to the east of England club, “I see Hibs as a big club. I know money talks but is Rob really moving up?”
I’m sure it’s a fact that Jones will be earning a lot more money at his new club. That sort of thing, whilst unpalatable has become a fact of life when comparing Scottish football with it’s counterpart down south, but let’s leave that (very important factor) behind for a second.
I’m actually in agreement with Pat. This move is about money primarily in my view. Jones will be testing himself out against some strong football clubs in the coming season but ultimately I don’t believe it will do great things for his career. With the greatest respect to Scunthorpe, and notwithstanding their fine success last season, this area of England is a football backwater and likely to remain one, in the main.
Whilst I perfectly understand a new realism about professional Scottish football’s place in the scheme of things financially, I find some of these aspect of the ‘Scottish Cringe’ hard to take. Whilst ever this attitude abounds there will never be pride returning to Scottish football, just a morose acceptance of ‘second-best’ to the more moneyed neighbours down south.
The player himself has done a fine job at Easter Road. His no-nonsense approach has helped Hibs in many a back-to-the-wall battle. At 6′ 7” Jones is never going to be a silky playmaker from the back but what he does, he does exceedingly well. Some fans point to his slight penchant for wandering out of position at times and that has been a fair criticism in my view of a generally very dependable and inspirational defender. As a captain I was never convinced of his innocence in the John Collins affair – when a majority of the Hibs first team squad descended on CEO Rod Petrie’s home to complain about the former Hibs manager’s methods. I do feel he could have shown more diplomacy and leadership off the field than he did in those times.
I’ll say here and now that I feel Jones could have done far better than he has here. Maybe the likes of other, superior long-term suitors weren’t offering the same salary up front. Maybe a club not too far from where I’m sitting now even…