Here we go again

Yep, SW19 is on the eastern side of the Atlantic again, and raring (?) to go. Honest.

First things first – I’m not doing Meet The Manager tonight. Which might be an omen as the last one I missed was TB’s last one (which was quite infamous). I’m sure others will fill in…

Second things second, it seems like our fax machine has been pretty busy in the last fortnight, with all the ins and (mostly) outs from KM. Just think of the waiting around we did for the whole of May and most of June.

So, farewell Jake Reeves, Dom Poleon, Bursik and Tyrone Barnett. Hello to Cody McDonald, Deji, George Long and, erm, a couple of trialists for tomorrow at Eastleigh.

A little bit more on them later. Firstly, those who have departed – once Bursik found himself on Eurosport during the close season, he was always likely to be snapped up by a Prem club. We wish him well, except when he gets the inevitable loan to Brizzle Rovers and he has a blinder against us.

Speaking of inevitable, I guess cashing in on Reeves was the best move for all concerned, especially with getting £0 for Tom Elliott. If nothing else, we’re (slowly) learning how to do transfer business again.

I know most would have wanted to keep him, but we would have ended up with a player on the last year of his deal and in truth unlikely to sign a new one. And when Bradford showed their interest, I don’t doubt his head was turned.

C’est la vie, as they say in Poland.

Unsurprisingly, it’s an undisclosed fee, though the rumour mill is suggesting between £150k and £250k. Too cheap? Or just simply the going rate for a player from an ordinary L1 team?

See, none of our players are actually worth that much – not the first teamers, anyway (which might shock a few of our more insular fans, who seem to think simply wearing a blue/yellow shirt adds £300k to any price tag).

If Reeves goes for £200k, say, then it’s because that’s what he’s worth in the football transfer market. He’s not the only one going for that sum between L1 clubs, guaranteed, and some may need to re-educate themselves on where we really are in the pecking order.

Mind you, if some consider our midfielder going to be poor business, then they won’t be saying the same about Poleon. That was a bolt out of the (yellow and) blue, and any dosh we got from him is most definitely a bonus.

He started on fire, got injured, then came back a shadow of what he was. I suppose if you’re going to lose a player, better him than Taylor. No doubt he and Reeves will gub us when we next face the Bantams…

But perhaps the best bit of business happened yesterday. Or was it the day before? I’m still working on Eastern Standard Time. Anyway, Tyrone Barnett is gone, and no – I still don’t think I understand.

I’ll be nice and simply suggest it just didn’t work out for him. It was a mistake, a bit of a panic purchase last year, and one that literally ended up being costly. So, convincing Port Vale that he was the answer was a masterstroke.

Did we cancel his contract? Did we pay him off? Did we get a fee? More to the point – who cares? I’ll never forget the game at Chesterfield last season, when I wrote the following. As the bishop said to the actress, excuse the length:

Point to ponder: Whither Tyrone Barnett? There’s something of the Banjo “Byron” Harrison about him, even down to the sense he was a bit of a panic buy.

Yesterday, he tried hard for some of it, but we didn’t seem to miss him when he went off. And that’s quite worrying, because I would have expected him to last the full 90 minutes.

When you’re third in the pecking order behind Elliott and Taylor, you’re not going to play the full 90 minutes unless you offer something more.

But when you’re yanked off when your only replacement is a former yoof teamer, then something is wrong.

Is his head not right? Does he really want to be here? He’s shown sporadic bursts of what he can do (Charlton and Curzon) but they are few and far between.

I doubt if anyone will come in for him during what remains of this transfer window, but it’s already hard to think he’ll be here in 2017/18.

And to think that when we won at the Valley, we were all predicting he would finally fire into life.

As many have said, there’s a decent player in there, but he’s lacking something. Motivation, perhaps. I don’t actively hate the guy, but he does seem more interested in picking up pay cheques than properly asserting himself on the field.

Port Vale’s loss is definitely AFCW’s gain.

So, we’ve got rid of more players, who have we got in? To be honest, I’m not going to say too much until they’ve properly played competitive games. Why? Because there’s a habit with our fans that the more a new signing gets hyped up, the worse they end up playing.

We won’t know how good McDonald is until about September. We won’t be able to call the re-signing of Deji and Appiah an act of genius/failure until they’ve played at least ten games.

George Long is a gamble though, especially as we won’t have Shea as backup any more. NA and especially Bayes can’t afford another Ryan Clarke-esque fuckup, because I think people really will turn nasty if he makes a blunder or three.

That’s also why I’m not shitting my pants over the two trialists we’re, erm, trialling tomorrow on the south coast. They can’t be that bad if they’ve come through the Boro/PSV ranks, and there’s a lot of players like that about.

NA is looking out for four more players, and considering there’s a lot out there who are sans contrat right now it’s a case of just holding your nerve and not splurge out on the first striker that comes up.

PSFs start tomorrow, but competitive football starts in a month, and the actual transfer deadline isn’t for another seven weeks.

Plus of course, our aim this season – and the next few of them as well – is simply to stay up and establish ourselves as a L1 level club. There was a lot of much-of-a-muchness last season, and even with our bunch of eunuchs up front, we still stayed up comfortably.

People talk about a more difficult L1 next season. But is it? I’m sure I always used to hear how L2 was getting harder and harder each season, yet we somehow managed to get out of it.

In the right direction, as well.

Nothing has convinced me to change my mind that providing our squad is as strong as it was last season, we’ll probably repeat staying up relatively easily once again. That is a caveat, admittedly, and the tightening finances can no longer be ignored.

This season might end up proving to be one of reckoning with regards the dough in our pocket. Before I went away, I mentioned about the WAWF jar coming out again, and three weeks on the Dom Poleon transfer has likely dwarfed its effectiveness at the stroke of a pen.

You’d like us to have completed our business already, but football doesn’t work like that, and that doesn’t matter unless we’re seriously thinking about promotion to the Championship. Which we won’t be for a good couple of years yet – though longer than that, in truth.

We do have money in our back pocket, though transfer sales, but how much we’ll have after NPL takes out remains to be seen. I expect it will be a little bit more that we let on in public, though keeping other clubs guessing is no bad thing.

If waiting another week or two to get the right signing means is what we have to do, I’ll happily be patient. After all, as said many times on SW19, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on shite in this division. As I’m sure those at Vale Park will be telling us by about October…

8 thoughts to “Here we go again”

  1. Some very odd comments about trialists around in internetland, we will probably sign a couple and given what happened last summer (when we signed a player or 2 we didn’t watch properly) I’m in favour of checking them out in matches before we start typing up contracts.

    The scars of that window have clearly had a big influence on this one. Neal has gone for players we already know in Kwesi and Deji and a guaranteed performer in Cody McDonald.

    With that in mind it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up offering Callum a deal, he’d be cheap, he did a very adequate job in the promotion period and crucially we know what we’re getting. He understands the work ethic and is a great lad to have around the club.

    We had a couple of big egos and 2 or 3 players who were never fit enough last season so replacing them with players we know should ensure we have much better chemistry in the squad for 2017/18.
    Sounds like there are 4 signings to come so we must have 2 established players in mind as well as the trialists. Personally I’m not bothered which category Jake’s replacement comes from, nobody much fancied him when he came in and that didn’t work out too bad.

    Neal is having another excellent transfer window and when the business is complete I think we’ll head in to the campaign with a stronger squad than last time out.

  2. Yes, NPL will really start sucking up funds over the next year or two (especially until we have the funding-gap sorted out properly). However, I’d rather spend money on our new stadium than be giving it to Barnett – and btw good luck at/to Port Vale… League 2 is probably a good level for him to fall back in love with the actual 90 minutes part of the game.
    I agree with Slow Train re: triallists. Who cares how they come to us? There’s a bit of the billy big bollocks creeping in … which is ironic, given the amount of panicking at the other end of the scale regarding there’s no way we’re ready to go/stay up in the heady heights of the Third Division.
    Anyone who’s happy to come and put on the shirt and play their arses off for us, and give 100% then great. And if we do well, tread water or get relegated after giving our best, is secondary.
    I would like a decent cup run tho. 🙂

  3. STTA – you are someone worth listening too! So much fuss from a lot of wimbledon fans. Dom had a massive ego and looked like he was more interested in pulling at the end of season do then being with the team! Good player but sometimes egos like that can ruin the balance of a squad. We will be ok this season.

  4. Still have no idea what NA’s “change of direction” is as far as the goalkeeping situation is concerned. Basically, it’s chuck out an established keeper and replace him with a loanee who’s hardly played a top class game – seems to ring a few bells from last season. As for Poleon etc., isn’t it rather a coincidence that he and a few other players “went off” when Ardley started his “3-5-2 everybody defend no matter what period?” For those of you with good memories, this period lasted from the Sutton debacle (first time around) to the end of the season. Players not understanding a system, dropped regularly and played out of position tend not to play at their best and, for me, that’s what happened in a number of cases. Be interesting if “A. Triallist” pops up on the scoresheet at the weekend!

    1. Bit harsh on the keeper front baring in mind GL has played 100 games for Sheffield united at this level? So I think he’s more established than shea is tbh. He was only on the bench cos the blades splashed out a hefty sum on a championship keeper.

  5. Hi all,

    So far, I think that we have fared decently in the transfer market. I can understand the decision to sell Reeves, Poleon and Bursik is unavoidable. I feel that the club is right to offload them for the transfer coffer. It makes no sense to hold on them and end up losing them for free upon the expiry of their contracts. This is evident in the case of Elliot in which we lost him for free.

    As of the arrivals, I have concern on the season-loan deal relating George Long. I am not sure if Sheffield United has the option of recalling him within 24 hours’ time at any point of time in the course of the season. If it is true and likely to be true, this is a serious concern if this happens in the course of the season. We will end up at the mercy of other clubs in respect of this juncture.

    I opine that the club should not go for the loan deals as it is at our disadvantage. This is my two cents worth of view.


  6. And another update to close this thread, though not one I was expecting when I woke up this morning.

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