James Tarkowski finally broke radio silence yesterday when he issued a personal statement intended to explain his actions last week when he refused to play against Burnley.
Here is what he had to say:
I wanted to share a message with the fans following last week’s events. My plans were to do this sooner but I agreed with the club that it was better to do so once I’d returned to training.
I have always enjoyed giving 100 per cent playing for Brentford and am always proud to wear the shirt.
As a team, and with your support, we’ve had two years of great progress. From the promotion to the Championship through to last season where we reached the Play-Offs, I have so many special memories of this club and of the backing we’ve had from you, the fans.
I have always had a strong bond with my team mates and the fans. I also have a very close relationship with my family who, like you and my team mates, have been thereand supported me throughout my career.
Unfortunately my mum has a serious, incurable illness and her condition has been getting steadily worse. I live a good four hours away from her and during the autumn, it became clear to me that I needed to get closer to home to support both her and my dad.
I was open and up front about this with the Club, who were sympathetic and said they’d work with me and my agent to try to reach a solution which worked well for the Club whilst giving me the possibility to move to closer to my mum.
We decided to keep this matter confidential in the best interests of everyone. I decided not to put in a transfer request as we agreed it would be better to work together on this.
In the run up to the match against Burnley, I felt completely frazzled and unable to concentrate properly. I felt that to play in the match in this frame of mind may actually do more harm than good. I thought that my distraction may result in an error that would let my team mates and the fans down. After much thought and consultation with the gaffer, my family and my team mates, I felt unable to guarantee my usual standard of performance and said as much to the gaffer.
I would like to apologise to my team mates, the gaffer and the fans. I hope that you can understand the pressure I was under and that no offence or insult was intended to anyone associated with the Club. I have taken the sanction given to me by the Club with good grace.
I would also like to thank everyone who has offered me support over the last ten days, and thank the Club for continuing to understand my situation at home.
I am still under contract at Brentford and am committed to giving my best for the Club, the team and the fans, as I always do when wearing the shirt.
When I last looked earlier this morning there were already pages and pages of comments on social media endlessly and forensically examining the runes and entrails and taking every single word apart in an attempt to analyse the exact meaning and nuances of what Tarkowski had said and in many cases comparing his situation with that of Jota who was pretty much given compassionate leave recently given his own personal problems.
Please feel free to wade through them all if you have the time, energy, interest and desire to do so and the general tenet of the comments ranges from a continued and unchanged feeling of anger at his original behaviour to a sense of understanding that the seriousness of the situation relating to his Mother’s illness had led him to behave irrationally and unacceptably.
I have no intention of giving an opinion on the matter as quite frankly I don’t really think that it matters one iota or jot what I think. What is more important is where this now leaves us.
Frankly the club is betting each way and covering the bases as nothing has really changed. Tarkowski still wishes to leave the club and Brentford will still only sell him if they are offered an acceptable sum for his transfer. Everything else is pure gloss and window dressing.
It would be to everybody’s advantage if a club does come in for the player before the end of the Transfer Window and offers a sum in excess of three million pounds. Should that be the case then I would fully expect that Tarkowski will be on his way. The key question is whether clubs will now be looking to take advantage of the unedifying situation and offer us well below market rate?
Given what he had to say yesterday it will be particularly interesting to see how he copes with the dilemma should a club south of the Watford Gap attempt to sign him given his stated intention to return to the North of England.
What the statement did, given that it included an apology to all parties, is open the door to the possibility of Tarkowski playing for us again should his move not come to fruition, and that is where the problems arise.
There is absolutely no point in leaving the player in purdah for the remainder of the season, thus further eroding his transfer value and turning him into damaged and shop-soiled goods.
Tarkowski is finished at Brentford, that is quite obvious to me. A parting of the ways is inevitable and it is just a question of whether he leaves in the next week or at the end of the season.
As for his playing for us again should he still be at the club after the Transfer Window shuts, I would hope fervently that the form of Dean, Barbet and O’Connell makes his presence on the pitch unnecessary and superfluous, not because I feel any personal vitriol towards him, but simply because his presence would be turned into a sideshow which would take attention away and distract everybody from the only thing that matters – winning football matches.
The Tarkowski situation and how we should handle it has totally divided and polarised the supporter base and is just one more unsettling episode in what has been a season that in so many ways has resembled a soap opera in terms of some of the off field happenings.
I have no way of knowing what will happen between now and the end of the month however I believe it would be in the best interests of everybody if James Tarkowski, talented player that he undoubtedly is, finds a new home as soon as possible.