Roman's Never-Ending Story

It's international break which means it's time for yet another episode in the long running snooze-fest that is Roman Pavlychenkos statuesque escape from White Hart Lane. Roman usually doesn't have a speaking part, with his agent left to do all the on-screen talking. But as we near the finale, he appears to have stepped up, giving us a virtuoso performance full of determination and intent.

"I want to leave the club. It is impossible to remain there under the circumstance I find myself in. I have been sitting on the subs' bench for half a year and as a result lost a place in the starting 11 of the national team. And now hopefully we will get to the World Cup - who will rely on a forward who does not play? I want to play and not just warm the bench. Immediately after the games with Slovenia, my agent and I are flying to London for purposeful negotiations and I want to take part in them personally…"

And so forth. It's a little bit Brando in Apocalypse Now.

There's no doubt this series has been a disappointment. No major twists, no big surprises. Just the same drawn-out sub plot that neither excites the viewer or leaves them drooling in anticipation for more. And the reason is oh so painfully obvious. The supposed main supporting cast member (our Roman) has been relegated to nothing more than an extra. Background fluff that has resulted in nothing much in the way of screen time so that we can perhaps find out more about him. The cameos are obviously not enough, and having him appear every now and again has never proved to be a fruitful exercise. The viewers haven't seen enough to want more and rest have seen enough to not care for more.

Some might argue that we are seeing is reminiscent of the infamous canned show which starred the Ukrainian forward Sergei Rebrov. That particular series was left to stagnate whilst everyone waited for improvement that was never forthcoming. A spin-off series where he found himself lost on an island made of Lego surrounded by incomprehensible hostiles was equally weak in narrative.

It's simply not been right from the off. If he's signed for £14M and is apparently out of sorts at the start of his contract and then hardly given a chance to make amends a summer later, then he is bound to look lacklustre when he is given a rare opportunity to shine. It's a catch 22 and a stronger player might have perhaps taken those opportunities and done more with them. Then again, if it's decided to bring back a former star and offer him a bumper package that includes a starring role in every single episode - then I guess you'd be more demoralised to see someone who is obviously more out of sorts than you, get preferential treatment.

Controversial stuff.

Fact is, those same signs of mediocrity are still there to be seen. The lad should never have left Russian television in the first place.