One in, none out

The transfer window is shut, and the die is now cast…

In the end, the sole move (Pigott) was the absolute needs-must appointment we had to make. If we hadn’t, then I shudder to think of the mood this morning.

Will it be enough? We’ll have just under three months to find out, and as has been the case since August, we’re still going to be vulnerable to injuries and/or loss of form.

Perhaps more importantly though, we didn’t lose anyone. No wad of cash was seductively waved in Taylor’s direction, though his buy-out clause is apparently a lot higher than I suggested in the last update (which is partly why I expect he’s here today).

Long isn’t returning to Bramall Lane, Forrester won’t be heading back to Sevco, and any outgoings will be in the summer where at least things can properly get done.

The headline could have been “Two in, none out”, needless to say, and in the strange world that is the football transfer deal, yesterday managed to be weirder than most.

We had been after another striker, and given comments from our management team last week, we obviously felt confident enough that we’d nail him down in the end. So much so that we even arranged a fitness test yesterday.

Which is all where it started to go wrong.

We don’t officially know who it was (though all signs point to it being Freddie Ladapo), but starting a medical, bailing out then rocking up elsewhere stinks a bit.

Nobody comes out of it smelling of roses. The player looks like a mercenary, his agent look like a money-grabbing arsewipe, and it makes our management and the club look like chumps. After all, how bad must your car park be** if a player calls off his own medical…?

** – the legacy of Steven Gregory still lives on to this day. To be fair to him, the tarmac at Dean Court is rather nice.

Should NA have kept quiet about the real reason it failed, as quite a few have been saying? Perhaps, because while the fault mostly falls on the player/agent, it does come across as airing your dirty washing in public.

If somebody comes into your house, and has such a big shit that it blocks your toilet, you tend to say that your flapper is broken whenever somebody sees the plumber.

A simple “we were going to get somebody in but it fell through at the last minute” was more or less sufficient. Telling people everything they need to know is one thing, telling them everything is another.

To be fair to NA, he was probably so pissed off during the interview that he was close to not only naming the player himself, but how shit his car and how small his nob was too.

And yes, we’ve clearly been used by the player and his agent over this. It’s not nice, and it’s something we’ll have to toughen up over – we need to be more cynical ourselves, football is not the most pleasant and ethical of sectors.

If it means forcing a player to make his mind up before it’s too late for us to look elsewhere, so be it.

We won’t have been the first club to have suffered likewise, and we won’t be the last. It probably happened yesterday elsewhere without anyone knowing about it. We remember Ross Barkley in August, though he denied it afterwards.

All this said, it would have been nice to have talked about another signing option, but it was not meant to be after all. If the player doesn’t want to be there, then he won’t improve the squad.

We move on.

Still, we did bring somebody else in yesterday – a new Volunteer Liason Officer. A position that has been talked about even when your editor was a DT member, which was practically a lifetime ago now.

The background of our new appointment is what I would expect it to be, but I just can’t help think this is ten years too late.

Back in 2008, much if not most of AFCW was volunteer-based – very little of it were formally paid positions. Off the field anyway, I guess that whoever the manager was a mere decade ago wasn’t working for nowt.

Today, there’s less to volunteer for (admin, bar-staff and stewarding) – and the pool of volunteers isn’t nearly what it was. Some who used to get involved don’t have the time/energy now. Others have left for reasons that needed a VLO involved, which I shall leave at that.

And volunteerism will continue to become more redundant, as more tasks move towards paid (full time or casual) employment. Virtually any new job in the AFCW side of things will need wages, as you don’t get people to work in “proper” employment gratis.

Some tasks simply won’t exist by the time we get to NPL – turnstile operators, if we are going to use smart cards for venue entry. The stadium clean-up, as there won’t be car parks with shrubbery, and we’ll need a stadium maintenance company anyway for something that size.

Season ticket distribution barely copes as it is, and would collapse under increased demand, so that will need to be done by an external company with the right ability and experience of it.

All of that is just off the top of my head, and there’s probably more. Just think of the amount of bodies that won’t be needed in about three years time.

OK, there will still be some volunteerism at NPL, but (with all due respect) it will be pretty low level stuff – programme sellers, Golden Goal tickets, car park attendants, and other “matchday volunteers” which will be slightly above a token presence at best.

And that’s assuming that even some of that doesn’t come under “casual” employment.

Maybe the VLO is going to be absorbed into some new role by then, which looks after the casual, part timers and even full-time AFCW employees? That might make sense for an organisation that size…

Finally, do you think we will get any formal indication from AFCW/whoever that the judicial period hurdle has now been fully cleared?

I noticed on Tuesday, tucked away on the Merton Planning Portal, that NPL has got “Final Decision” status, which I assume means what it says. Galliard themselves have made (IIRC) the first pitch using our new gaff last Friday, which was after the deadline.

OK, sending in the bulldozers isn’t quite as straightforward as, well, sending in the bulldozers. You have to get permits, tenders, organise what machinery you put in and where to dump the resulting rubble, etc etc.

All of us will want to know when that very date will be, but even just knowing that they’ll be coming will be more than enough. I can wait a couple of weeks, I just want to know there’s nothing more in our way.

Besides, and most importantly, I’m too superstitious to publish the SW19 article on this without the final all-clear. It’s uncomfortable to sit on and anyway – I slag off Paschal Taggart…