Garnett handed a lifeline

Last updated : 30 January 2002 By The Chairman
Shaun Garnett has set his heart on a Boundary Park comeback after thinking his career had been ended after two bad knee injuries, of which was a dreaded cruciate ligament. Out for nine months, Garnett has been rewarded with a 12 month contract which will give some security to his family in a trying time.

Garnett said, “I’d love to play for the club again and I honestly think I will. After the meeting I had with Alan Hardy, Chris Moore and Mick Wadsworth, I got the feeling there was a chance for me. I’m not saying I would walk back in, but the gaffer has been saying there’s a place in the team once I get myself fit and have a loan spell somewhere.

I know I’ll be a year older, which some people might think is against me, but I feel optimistic about the future. I want to get back and play well for Oldham because it would be the best way of repaying what they have done. I could have been left in limbo with my contract up this year, so giving me another 12 months was a great gesture.”

Garnett’s initial problem involved ligaments, damaged at Colchester early this season. In his comeback three months later, he suffered an unrelated injury in the same knee. Garnett recalled, “It was a reserve game at Tranmere and I can still picture what happened. I’d had about 40 minutes when a long ball came down and I cut across Stuart Barlow to take the ball off him. I tried to release it early as usual, but I just buckled. It seemed like nothing at the time and when I was told the cruciate was ruptured I was absolutely gutted. Cruciate is a word we never used to mention in football because everyone knew it was so serious.

But the specialist mentioned top players who had come back from it like Shearer, Keane and van Nistelrooy. And, although it will be a long process, he was 100-per-cent sure I’d make it as well. I was still in hospital when the gaffer rang and said he had some good news for me. I was over the moon when he said I’d been a good servant and had got 12 months because it’s peace of mind for me and the family. The best I’d hoped for was to be kept on until I got fit, then for both sides to take it from there. It was a surprise and I was very grateful. I want to reward the club by coming back fit and strong next season – hopefully as a first-division player.”