I wrote this a few months ago when a couple of articles were published slating Andros Townsend.

I meant to submit it but never got round to it and then thought it wasn’t that relevant once a bit of time had passed.

However, with the news (be it true or not) that we are targeting the return of Andros I felt now would be a good time to release what I had previously written. The below is what I wrote, excuse the out of date information like Pardew being at Palace.

Earlier this season…

Okay, so this article is going to be somewhat contradictory.

Firstly, I want to defend the range of articles published on The Mag.

Whenever there’s an article about Pardew, Sissoko or even a long gone player such as Andy Carroll or Nile Ranger; there are always comments from people saying that we should stop obsessing over previous players and managers.

These people are entitled to their opinion but I for one like the huge range of articles that are published and I find it fascinating to catch up on the fortunes of old players or the latest stats evidencing how crap Pardew is.

I live in the South West and have been subjected to plenty of abuse about how we wouldn’t have been relegated under Pardew and how Pardew is such a good manager and doing such a stunning job at Palace. I find it refreshing when another damning stat comes out that I can then wave at my work colleagues to disprove their unevidenced statements. (Since writing this I have been vindicated further with Pardew’s sacking having had the worst record in league football in 2016).

Having said all that, I’d like to write an article defending Andros Townsend. Now, I’m not saying people can’t slate him or write articles saying that he’s a traitor and he’s getting his comeuppance by playing poorly for long spells this season. I just want to stand up for a guy who, although he jumped ship, really can’t be blamed for our relegation last season.

It really hurt me when Andros left. He’d come out with a load of positive statements about staying and fighting for the fans that had supported him so fiercely and the team/manager that had turned his career around. To go to Palace and Pardew was a massive disappointment.

But let’s actually remember the facts from when he was here. I watched two games live post-Benitez arriving. They were away against Southampton and home against Sunderland. Both of those games Townsend was our best player.

Okay, Southampton it wasn’t hard as we were shocking. However, he scored a great individual goal that did appear to turn the tide slightly before we went on to lose comfortably. Against Sunderland he was our best outlet. He ran at the back four time and time again and they couldn’t handle him. My Man Yoo supporting friend that had travelled up with me for the game couldn’t stop commenting on how good he was.

In his 12 games he started Andros Townsend scored 4 goals and made 2 assists. He was the first player since Ben Arfa who really got me off my seat and excited me. There are a lot of players I am aggrieved with for their performances last season. Plenty of players who should have stuck around and helped undo the mess they had helped create. He is not one of them. He did everything he could to keep us up and very almost did.

Yes, as I said, I was really disappointed to see him leave and people have argued that to have had the release clause put in his contract shows he never had long-term designs on staying should we go down.

Part of me thinks Rafa wasn’t too bothered about him leaving though. Rafa’s a shrewd man. When I heard that Palace had met his release clause and Andros was going for talks, all I kept thinking was why not loan him out? Why not do what QPR did with Remy when they loaned him to us?

Rafa could have sat Andros down and said that he would loan Andros back to a Premier League team for the season to keep him in the international picture. Then, if Newcastle don’t come up at the first attempt, he could go with Rafa’s blessing when someone met the release clause in 17/18 season. If I could think of that I’m sure Rafa could. Maybe he felt Ritchie was actually more the sort of option he was after. Maybe Rafa’s preference was a hard working winger that would support the full back as much as the attack.

One thing’s for sure, I would’ve loved seeing Ritchie and Townsend on either wing both this season and next.

That was what I’d written previously. I really hope this latest report isn’t a non-story.

Townsend is nowhere near an England call up once again. His form is shocking and he’s probably in an even worse position than he was at Spurs. At least at Spurs he wasn’t playing, now he’s getting opportunities but not doing the job. Could he really come back?

Gouffran has done a job this season but Townsend is three times the player he is and would add so much threat to our attack. Please let it be true.

I’m coming up for the game against the Millers on Saturday. I’d love to be watching Andros’ second debut.

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin