Goodbye, Andreas

A look back at our record signing’s time at the Banks’s.

Well that’s it then. After just 32 games, 1 goal and a whole load of hair gel, record signing Andreas Makris is on his way back to Cyprus for an ‘undisclosed’ fee.

To many, Makris was just a Sunday league player out of his depth, hopelessly running around whilst the proper footballers got about their business. But could it have been different? With a bit of luck, could Andreas have been the new Leitao? In all honesty, no. However, I was there when he made his debut in the modest setting of the EFL Cup first round, as a subsitute in the defeat to Yeovil Town. Makris’ first touch that night was very nearly a dream start for the Cypriot, but his goal bound effort was cleared off the line. The next few weeks saw a similar story of bad luck for Makris as he hit the bar away to Chesterfield, missed an open goal against Swindon and somehow kicked the ball of the back of Bakayoko’s head when trying to score against Scunthorpe. Of course the argument is that good players simply don’t take 30 appareances to register a goal, and I begrudgingly agree, but you can’t knock the guy’s effort and commitment during his time here.

Thankfully though, we did get the champagne moment as just after half-time in the home game against Oxford United, Makris ‘rifled’ a left-footed volley past a bemused Simon Eastwood. Cue celebrations only topped during the whole season by McCarthy’s second at Bury. That celebration by fans and players alike showed how much everyone wanted the Makris project to work, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Makris leaves for APOEL Nicosia with the well wishes of Jon Whitney the club and the majority of fans, but some serious questions need to be asked of why we broke our long-standing transfer record on an unproven striker from a foreign league. And, even as much as a few weeks back, Makris was being earmarked as one for the future – hence the three year deal. Was he really that bad that the club saw no hope of improvement?

Either way, the Makris saga is a personification of Walsall over the past few seasons, from Wembley to the play-offs, it’s been promising but nothing of any substance has actually been delivered.