May 15 2012 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
ST JOHNSTONE striker Fran Sandaza yesterday said adios and thanks for the memories to Perth fans.
The former Brighton, Dundee United and Valencia attacker packed his bags and headed for the airport and Madrid after the 4-0 thrashing by Rangers on Sunday.
Sandaza, with 14 SPL goals and 18 in all, is the most prolific striker at the club since the days of Paul Wright.
Yesterday, he admitted a weekend defeat from a crisis-torn club which tried to sign him in the January transfer window before plunging into administration left a bad taste in the mouth.
But he pleaded with Perth fans to remember the good times from a campaign which posted the highest finish for 13 years.
Talisman Sandaza (right), the PA player of the year, said: “It was really disappointing and not the way I wanted to say goodbye. We had a couple of chances in the first-half and I had one later. My dad saw it on television in Spain and said my goal was onside and should have counted.
“It was my last game for St Johnstone and I wanted to say goodbye with a goal.
“It has been a very successful year for myself and for the club. When I came here the objective was to get into the top six and we have done that.
“Derek McInnnes and Steve Lomas are both good managers and I am grateful to them for giving me my chance.
“I also want to thank the club and the supporters. I will always love the club and who knows, maybe I will come back one day. Never say never.”
After losing all five post-split games, with the injury and suspension hit team scoring just once from a penalty and leaking 14, Sandaza admitted: “The split hasn’t been good for us as a team or for me personally. But this has been my best season in first team football. I have scored 18 goals and we have reached the top six.
“The last few games haven’t been good, that’s for sure. But fans should not have short memories because of the results after the split. They should think of the good games over the whole season.
“Now I hope Hearts beat Hibs so the club gets into Europe. I wish the manager, my team-mates and the fans good luck for the future. They have been brilliant to me.
“I am having a holiday now and I still don’t know where I will be playing next season.
“That is frustrating. All my stuff is still in Perth but I have to wait to see where I am playing next season.
“It was July last year before I got sorted out with St Johnstone but I don’t want to leave it so late this time. Hercules in Spain have shown interest but I don’t have a firm offer yet.
“Clubs in Cyprus and Greece have made offers through my agent. There is also some interest in the Championship but nothing has been sorted yet.”
Reflecting on a dreadful few days when he was red-carded in the derby with Dundee United, flared-up at colleagues on the pitch and then landed in the cells and courthouse to face drink driving charge, he said: “Everyone makes some mistakes in life and I did that with the red card and the drink driving.
“That was a bad time. But if you say you don’t make mistakes in life you are a liar. Okay I was wrong but I have taken my punishment.
“I got a three game ban for the red card and I feel that was too much. But we have not been treated well this season.
“Referees have given bad decisions against us and none of the players or the manager got awards during the year. That is so unfair.”