Prutton dressed as lamb

Last updated : 30 January 2007 By Chris C
David Prutton is a player that divides opinion. He was a deadline day signing that had Saints fans purring at the time. £2.5m spent on a box-to-box midfielder and England U21 looked like great business.

Little did we know that he would never cement his place in the side and make a less than expected 73 starts in exactly 4 years at the club, scoring just the 4 goals.

Part of the problem was his versatility. He played right across our midfield, on the left on the right, as the holding player and as the attacking midfielder, without establishing himself in any position.

A popular figure around the club he had some great games in his time, most memorably in the relegation season when he was outstanding in a 4-5-1 in the 2-0 defeat of Liverpool.

Sadly, Saints fans never got to see if that form could last with Prutts getting his infamous ban for a moment of madness against Arsenal. He was equally infamous for a late, late miss of a virtual open goal against West Brom which lost us valuable points and remains a painful memory to this day for many of those present!

Prutton was of course lined up to move to Leeds at the beginning of the season, only for the move to fall through due to a long term ankle injury. When he returned in his brief chances he looked well short of fitness, but clearly enjoyed a final goal against Leicester.

The frustration is not just with the unfulfilled potential, it is also over the lack of fee for a player bought for £2.5m who is effectively departing on a free, on loan until the end of his contract. Yes, it was in the Premiership and we were signing him for his potential, but his move does not represent good business for Saints, even if we have one of the higher earners off the wage bill.

Despite returning to the club that made him, it's a curious move. His hometown club Hull were interested in him and reportedly offered around the quarter of a million mark. Prutts may have preferred to see out his contract on a high promoting his old club rather than on a low getting relegated.

Either way he would still be on a free and would have a good chance of a decent contract with a number of Championship sides, even better if he showed his quality week-in week-out in this league.

So, farewell to Prutts, shame it never quite worked out at Saints.