Former England star leaves League Two

"Reality check" forced Campbell to quit County

September 23, 2009
By Harry Harris

Sources close to Sven Goran Eriksson have disclosed to ESPN Soccernet that Sol Campbell suffered "an unpleasant reality check" in his first game for Notts County.

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Sol Campbell
GettyImagesSol Campbell made only one appearance for Notts County.

The "reality check" of defeat at Morecambe looks to have been a factor behind Campbell's decision he'd had enough after that one game.

Eriksson has so far stayed silent on the Campbell fiasco, but even when he is asked about it, is sure to be discreet about his own feelings about the extraordinary U-turn on Campbell wanting to play at Notts County on a five-year £40,000-a-week contract.

The former England, Spurs, Arsenal and Portsmouth defender made his debut in a 2-1 defeat at Morecambe on Saturday, and went to manager Ian McParland after the game to ask to be let go, before walking out of training on Tuesday.

The reasons for his decision appear to be that he feels the club have broken their promises over the level of investment in players and facilities, although he has been told he cannot sign for a new club until January.

Yet, the reason might be much simpler. My source tells me: "Sol regrettably suffered a reality check when he played for Notts County, and there has always been a concern about his fragile psychological state."

Campbell once walked out on Arsenal after suffering an horrendous first half against West Ham in February 2006. He left Arsenal soon afterwards, that summer signing for Pompey.

Notts County announced the decision to part company by the usual "mutual consent", but it is clear that it was Campbell walking away from the club.

Peter Trembling, executive chairman suggested Campbell "could not adjust to the long-term nature of the project underway at Notts County", but it is clear that Eriksson, the former England coach, feels let down by Campbell.

Eriksson might find recruitment of other big names to be hindered because of what has happened to Campbell.

Campbell joined the club in a flurry of publicity and hoped for a coaching role under director of football Eriksson, having become a free agent in the summer on leaving Portsmouth.

Trembling added significantly: "He's come to the point, having been here five weeks, where he has decided it's not for him. Sometimes decisions are made, people make wrong decisions and Sol has decided this is not where he wants to be now."

Asked about the reasons Campbell gave, Trembling added: "Not an awful lot, just that this was not working out for him."

•  Harry Harris has twice won the British Sports Journalist of the Year award. His book Down Memory Lane is now available.