In the build-up to the second iteration of MLS's New York derby, Stephen Warnock - a left back currently attached to Derby County; formerly a player for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Leeds United (plus loan spells at Bradford, Coventry and Bolton) - tweeted surprising news:
Funny to think if things had gone different at the start of last season I could of been playing in the New York derby tonight! #MLS— Stephen Warnock (@StephenWarnock3) June 28, 2015
Hat tip to InsideFutbol.com for giving Warnock's tweet some air.
Warnock doesn't fit our understanding of the current player preferences of the New York Red Bulls: he is 33, and sporting director Ali Curtis has been quite clear that the club is not interested in signing those who might be considered to be approaching the end of their playing careers.
But Warnock has never played for a club outside England, so when he says "the start of last season", it seems likely he means the start of the English season: August. And that suggests he is referring to the summer of 2014 in his tweet, which is before the time of Ali Curtis and RBNY's new approach to squad-building.
The greater likelihood is Warnock was approached by the blue side of MLS in New York. NYCFC was still slowly working out the roster for its inaugural season and might have had an interest in a veteran presence on the back line.
But there's a chance it was RBNY making inquiries regarding his availability. Injuries and international call-ups gave the Red Bulls a few headaches at left back during the 2014 regular season, despite the emergence of Ambroise Oyongo as a legitimate challenger to Roy Miller's starting role. Armando and Kosuke Kimura both saw time filling in for on the left side of the back line.
So it is not implausible that RBNY was sniffing around a left back with considerable top-flight experience in England and a couple of caps for his national team. Most likely, it was the ceaselessly acquisitive NYCFC he was talking to, but possible it was the Red Bulls. One for the "what might have been" files.