Date: 20th December 2011 at 9:50pm
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Vital Wednesday contributor Robin May has his say on the impending departure of James O’Connor to take up a coaching role in Major League Soccer…

I was shocked to find the news that JOC was off state side and that his playing days were over.

I had discussed to great length with my dad about the possibly ‘dead wood’ that may go in the transfer window and again at the end of the season when contracts run out and let’s face it JOC was definitely on everyone’s list to go if the team continued upwards.

But it does make me sad to see such a player just go. I still have the matchday programme from 2008 when we thumped Burnley on the opening day 4-1 (Tudgayx2, Sodjex2). In the programme was a large three to four page spread about the summer capture of JOC and reading it now it’s almost written as if it was a coup at the time.

He never dazzled fans and in his intentions he never set out to, but when people talk about the way he always put in 100 per cent you would be doing him a disservice.

Few could have seen at the time what a loyal servant JOC was when he first arrived after a plethora of uninspired performances, but they were always performances. Which brings me back to what I was saying, there was no ‘100 per cent’ for the likes of JOC, and instead simply he operated in either ‘on’ or ‘off’ modes, to not put in total effort was unheard of and in rare (very rare) instances this came to fruition.

The near hat-trick against Notts County and in latter times the near spectacular overhead kick which, had it of gone in, it would have been met with a rapture of total stunned gasps.

Although arguably limited in ability and again to some extent a limited ‘footballing brain’, JOC is a player I will really miss.

He’s the type of player that despite his ability he does command a position, not necessarily because of the things he does on the pitch but also because of the things he does off it.

I remember an interview with Gary Megson where he talked about the attitude JOC had and the way he conducted himself was so professionally admirable that he was able to retain a place in this Sheffield Wednesday team which, let’s be honest, is one of the best we have seen for many many years.

Robin May