THE fact Kieron Dyer has been a permanent fixture on British football’s rich list for many years is why Tony Mowbray knows his new signing won’t steal a living from Middlesbrough.
Last year the former Newcastle United player was reported to be worth £13m from his career wages, he was on £80,000 a week at West Ham United, and has done some canny business deals, including property in the North East.
Not bad for someone who has hardly kicked a ball for five years.
Since leaving St James’ Park in 2007, he hasn’t managed to play in 50 first-team games as a catalogue of injuries, specifically his hamstring, ruined what had been a decent career.
This, according to Mowbray, is why he feels the 34-year-old can be an excellent addition to his promotion-chasing squad.
“Kieron could have finished his career if he had wanted to,” said Mowbray yesterday. “He won’t be short of a bob or two. He is here because he wants to come.
“He has been playing football, so why would he pack it in? He wants to play and show people that he is still a talented footballer. If that works out for him and he is enjoying it then I think we could just carry on.
“Kieron knows me, Mark Venus and Jonathan Woodgate. If it doesn’t work out, he gets an injury that could keep him out a while, he has respect for us and we have respect for him as a guy and footballer. He will not be a burden on this club if he is injured. He is a good lad.”
Mowbray has an interesting point.
Dyer doesn’t need a final payday, so you would imagine that his one and only reason for dropping down a level to Middlesbrough, who are not paying him much, is because there is some fire in his belly.
Dyer is not a typical Mowbray signing. He’s too old for one thing and his fitness record is almost as bad as that of Michael Owen.
However, the Boro boss genuinely believes his club have landed themselves a bargain. He said: “I watched Kieron for QPR against Tottenham and he did fine. Hopefully he enjoys his time here and we get the benefits of a top player.
“It’s a slightly complicated deal. It’s not as simple as X amount of pounds for a number of weeks. It suits both sides.
“Kieron is happy and we are happy. If Kieron is unavailable to play then he will not be costing us a lot of money. He can play in an attacking midfield role, but has great versatility. He played right-back for QPR. We will utilise his versatility to best benefit our team.
“Two weeks ago he was at QPR, a Premier League side, playing some matches and scoring in the FA Cup against West Brom. He has been training and playing.” Mowbray hopes the appearance of Dyer even on the training field can have a galvanising effect on his young players.
He said: “I have told Kieron to set an example by the way he goes about his business on the training field, even when we are doing the simple passing drills.
“And he has been good so far. He’s set a good example and has not found it difficult to walk through the doors of our club. Kieron isn’t a shy little kid. He is a seasoned pro who has come in and has the confidence to go out and look pretty good.”
Mowbray spent half his Press conference staring at his phone as managers, agents and chairmen attempted to punt him the good, bad and downright awful. It’s a game that amuses him if anything. Mowbray said: “Every manager in this country takes dozens of text messages and calls on deadline day. Will somebody bite? That’s the question.
“We are trying to help the current crop here to get promotion. The right player in the right position might help us get over the line.
“We were not looking for a striker. That’s why it was disappointing to see we had bid £5.5m for Danny Graham because the perception is we have that money to spend – we haven’t.
“And, anyway, generally our strikers have scored goals. Scott McDonald and Lukas Jutkiewicz are in double figures, and Ishmael Miller is getting one in two.”