He scored 19 goals in his last season for us, 14 in the League despite only playing three quarters of the games. The man might have missed the odd game but he was absolutely on fire his last season with us when he played.
In the end, maybe we did need his wages off the books. But I'm not sure that's the whole story being told. We also clearly needed to shift Downing off the wage books, moreso even as the productivity was not even close to being worth what we were paying and we weren't in the Premier League when it happened. But it doesn't make what he alleges we did any better. If Viduka was handled similarly then that would also be wrong; it's more to do with the willingness to break agreements made over a handshake or even just general treatment of players fans hold a strong connection with than whether we were right to try and keep them on or not.
It'd be good if the chairman never got us into these daft financial arrangements to begin with and maybe we wouldn't be making decisions like that. I think people gave him the benefit of the doubt around what eventually happened in 2009 because we were not long since a club operating in European football and tried to get back to that whilst also cutting back. The risks we've taken that have hampered us most in recent years however have taken place whilst we were already in the Championship and showing very little threat of getting out of it at the right end so I'm not sure why anyone would continue to give him the benefit of the doubt other than they hold some kind of grudge against Downing.
I know you're specifically talking about Viduka btw NB4 but I can definitely see how, if we were willing to treat Schwarzer and Downing so poorly, it could be applied to just about anyone including Viduka.
Btw I loved viduka at times for us, if he was consistently as good as he could be he would have been one of the best strikers in the league because he had everything. I just don't think we did anything wrong with his contract situation.
We aren't under any obligation to start contract talks with anyone at a particular time. Viduka was one of the best paid players in our team at a point where we were about to go on a huge cost cutting exercise as a result over over paying for players for years, of which he was certianly one of them. Add to that that he was very poor or injured for us for long periods up until the last 6 months of his contract, I don't think we did anything wrong there.