Mo Johnston, please sign Ali Gerba

While the news that Ali Gerba has been released from League One side MK Dons is certainly not good, it could bode very well for those of us who support both Canada and Toronto FC. In case you hadn’t noticed, Toronto FC doesn’t score a lot of goals. They never have. Amado Guevara and Dwayne DeRosario, both midfielders, have done their best to rectify the situation so far this year. But as for our strikers? Danny Dichio is on his last legs; Pablo Vitti has fancy footwork but no goals to show for it; and Chad Barrett’s ability to miss sure goals is approaching legendary status.

In Gerba, you’ve got a Canadian striker, with lots of international pedigree (albeit not at top levels), whose career strike rate in all leagues and competitions is approximately one goal every two games. Why the hell wouldn’t you sign him?

I don’t know what kind of money Gerba was making at Milton Keynes, but if cash is the issue, TFC could finally pull the trigger and use their long sat-upon designated player spot. Gerba has experience playing in Canada (having multiple stints at both the Montreal Impact and Toronto Lynx) and familiarity with DeRo (whom he’d be linking up with in the attack), as well as TFCers Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan, Kevin Harmse and Greg Sutton.

There are probably a few good reasons why this move wouldn’t make sense, but fuck ’em. Just go with the title. Mo Johnston, please sign Ali Gerba.

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9 Responses to “Mo Johnston, please sign Ali Gerba”

  1. just sign him for the remainder of this season. what’s there to lose?

  2. Seconded. TFC could finally have a striker that would make defenders nervous just to look at, let alone be around. I interviewed him for Soccer 360 a while back and he seems like a great guy. He isn’t worth a DP slot, however. I’d say ship Rohan Ricketts off somewhere and get Gerba in.

  3. Actually, that would be the better solution, if cash is the issue. Ricketts is making, what, $300k? Gerba certainly wouldn’t demand much more than that, I would imagine. And though I don’t really have anything against Ricketts, Carver and Cummins have made it clear he’s no longer a fit for this team, so if shipping him out means being able to bring Gerba in, I’m for it.

  4. […] Gerba. I’ll thank you to remember that we here at Some Canadian Guys (Squizz in particular) pleaded with Toronto FC to grab hold of the Canadian international. It seems we were right to. Yes, we know that he […]

  5. MK Dons season ticket holder with my verdict on Gerba for what it’s worth:

    Gerba is slow, can’t jump, can’t head, and despite providing some key assists and scoring a few times himself more by accident than intent, I’ll happilly never have to suffer watching him again. He is the living proof that statistics can sometimes be meaningless…

    He will undoubtedly score some goals for you, but it is mostly horrible to watch the process.

    Here’s an article about him on the BBC MK Dons discussion board:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A49939951

    You’ll find out for yourselves after a dozen games or so.

    Best of luck for the rest of your season.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Boot. Or can I call you SG19?

    I’m by no means suggesting Gerba is a world-class striker (his perpetual inability to stay employed with a club team should be sufficient proof of that). But as a Canadian, there’s always going to be a sentimental soft spot there for him, for me at least. And he can’t possibly be any worse at finishing than our current target man, Chad Barrett. I guarantee you that.

    But thanks for the comments. All the best to the Dons next season (except when they’re up against Gillingham, home of Canada’s new golden boy, Simeon Jackson).

  7. Thanks for the reply Squizz – SG19 or Cowshed or Das Boot or even Mr Boot is just fine with me.

    I was wondering where “Ali G” (an earlier character creation from Sascha Baron Cohen, creator of Borat) would end up.

    On his plus side, Ali G is strong enough to hold his own against defenders, and his passes can be quite incisive for others to score. Occasionally he does score a blinder, himself.

    On his down side is everything else as previously listed. He can even miss an open goal from 6 yards, but one time he did get lucky for us and managed to hit the post from 6 yards, and then the rebound miraculously bounced off the goalies backside into the net…

    The rest of the games he was mostly out of position or too slow to get into position in time, and failing to control the ball so often, that he got yet another nickname “pinball Ali” in addition to the aforementioned “Ali G” and “Borat”…

    Having said all that, he is the second best striker we’ve ever had when measured by games per goal, scoring 10 goals in 25 appearances for us, but I’ve tried to convey the horror of what was actually involved in the process of scoring those 10 goals, and he is indeed the living prooof that stats can and do sometimes lie.

    As I said, I’m sure he will score some goals for you, as he has done for most of the 11 clubs he’s had in the past 9 years, and they could indeed be crucial goals.

    But you just have to look at the number of clubs he’s played for, and how long he’s stayed at each of them, to spot the pattern. The good stats get him the gig, but then the horrible reality of the rest of his time on pitch is revealed, and he gets released soon after.

    I hope I’m wrong, and he goes on to score a hatful of goals for you, and even more for Canada as well, but when you have to watch him every game, week in week out, well, it was like a horror show.

    Anyway, here’s another thread on Ali G from earlier in the season, where he’s compared unfavourably with Kevin Gallen, a slow forward but with a great football brain and first touch, if not the legs to run anymore. Kevin Gallen was released earlier in the season, and is now down in the 5th tier of english football with Luton…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A42472389

    Looking forward to playing the Gills next season, and I’ll certainly watch out for Simeon Jackson, who certainly looks like the real deal, at least from what I’ve read, oh, and his stats look good… 😉

    All the best from over here, still in the third tier of english football!

  8. Ha ha, I’m definitely well acquainted with Ali G (the comedic character)… “Indahouse” was a (possibly substance-influenced) favourite of mine during my university days, and his interview with Becks and Posh is a classic.

    I’m now starting to get a bit worried about my affection for Ali G (the footballer)… he did have quite a good run in Canada’s most recently World Cup qualifying campaign (which, if you’d blinked, you may have missed). However, as someone who’s watched him day in, day out, I can’t help but put a lot of weight into your analysis.

    Then again, even if struggled at times in League One, keep in mind that most Major League Soccer teams drift in quality between League One bottom-dwellers and League Two contenders (hell, on some nights, Toronto FC barely looks like they’d hack it in Blue Square). And maybe the change of scenery will do him some good… but then that’s just more baseless optimism on my part…

    Sucks about the the penalty shootout against Scunthorpe… though it doesn’t do you any good, I can say that as a neutral, it was a damn entertaining game. (Oh yeah, I watched it… believe it or not, there are random folks on the other side of the ocean catching your squad’s fixtures from time to time).

    Cheers!

  9. […] Johnston, please sign Will Johnson Before I begin, let me note that I’m batting 1.000 so far when it comes to direct pleas to MoJo to sign a Canadian player. (Sure, the Gerba signing […]

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