Tomáš Řepka is a target for lazy punditry and journalism; we are all to eager to spout off the stereotypical views that accompany such players; myself included.
‘Peter Crouch has great feet for a big lad’ is another line that is often trotted out by fans and pundits – amazed that someone who makes a totem pole look like matchstick can actually possess skill, technique and can pass the ball futher than ten yards.
Crouch’s current team Stoke City are often lambasted for their style of play, yet no one lavishes praise when they score goals without the aid of a 50 yard throw or an aimless hoof up field.
The 5-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Bolton is a glaring example, Kenwyne Jones scored a wonderful goal but yet people focused on how Bolton collapsed and failed to turn up for the big occasion. No praise for Tony Pulis, Kenwyne Jones or Stoke City.
Anyway, I digress. It’s not uncommon to see Tomáš Řepka stomping about the pitch with his perma-stubble and intimidating frown, berating anyone within a 20 yard radius and naturally assume the guy is an animal with no place on the pitch.
I was reading an interview with Tomáš Řepka today on isport.cz and found myself re-evaluating my opinion on the 38 year-old defender. Řepka gave the impression of a wounded player, deeply hurt by the way he was treated at a club he had given 10 years loyal service.
“It certainly is not pleasant, especially at such a large club, as the Spartans. I think this is happening in a lot of clubs, Sparta is no exception. Of course, this is me, sorry. I’ve said before, in a way I approach this meeting and did not deserve.” Said Řepka when quizzed about how the management handled his exit negotiations.
Despite the anger he may feel in the way things have panned out it seems that he holds no grudge “I would love to return back there [Sparta] one day…” I was impressed with how Řepka came across, very humble and thankful to Ceske Budějovice for giving him the opportunity to continue his playing career in the Gambrinus Liga.
“The offer from Budějovice was honest, fast. You could talk with them, we found common ground. Mainly it was concrete, no stretching. I like that. It was fair to both sides” Řepka added.
It’s all too easy to associate Řepka with his ill-discipline and countless red cards but lets not forget the cultured defender that graced Serie A in a Fiorentina shirt during the late 90’s; the West Ham cult hero who stayed with the side despite being relegated in 2003 and the Sparta Prague captain who won four Gambrinus Liga titles and three Czech Cups.
Who knows, he might just save Ceske Budějovice from relegation and add another chapter to his already unpredictable career.