It’s only close season, and almost a fortnight since the last proper one. Yet it feels too short…
Truth is, there’s very little to write about at the moment. You all know who got released, and who is yet to re-sign on the dotted line. Nobody gone already was a surprise, and anyone who is likely to end up elsewhere next season also won’t be a shock.
In the case of Barry Fuller, he got two seasons in L1 that he otherwise wouldn’t have got – and had we found ourselves in the Franchise division (stop laughing) next campaign, he would have been kept on.
But we’re still in the third tier, and he can go with our best wishes.
This does leave us with a big hole to fill at the back. Quite a few of them, as it goes, because only Deji is under contract. Although the rumour mill from a week ago is mentioning him as well.
His agent touting him around? Possibly, and that’s something we’ll have to get used to these days. Being under contract doesn’t mean a lot if the buyout clause is met, and if another club actually wants a player.
How vulnerable are the others who are still in the middle of their deals? Perhaps more than you think, as for the first time in the AFCW era some of our squad members could do a job elsewhere.
Maybe not L1, but a big spending L2 side may test our resolve if their scouts have liked what they see…
Which leads us onto the reason I’ve got my arse in gear this morning and done an update. NA was in the SLP this morning. And yes – like clockwork, he was moaning about the budget again.
Yes, Mr Ardley, we get it. We don’t have much money for transfers, so guess what – we have to be more pragmatic as a result. Find a style of play that works with the players you can afford, rather than stick with an ideology that is always doomed to fail.
We may have only one leg, but it does no favours to keep reminding ourselves that we don’t have a use for a pair of shoes.
When he goes on holiday with his missus, does NA spend half the time complaining about not affording a bigger hotel room? Or that he can’t stretch his budget to a better quality of wine? Or that the waves at his feet aren’t following his instructions?
The only manager I can think of in recent years that whinges even more is Ian Holloway. And thank fuck he’s not in the QPR dugout for our friendly with them…
Anyway, at least there might be a (slight) justification for this latest round of bellyaching – we have been considering a recruitment department.
It will cost £100k, apparently, which sounds a lot but is the wage of just one high-paid player in the squad. And is probably less than we pay for some others.
At least there is a recognition that this side of things isn’t fit for purpose any longer. It’s been poor since we’ve got up into L1, and with more of the Wombley squad moving on, it’s going to get even more pronounced.
And quite simply, there would be worse things to spend £100k on.
Yes, it would mean one less squad player, but like that’s a bad thing. We would get more out of a smaller squad that has been properly scouted to play in an effective style of play.
And in a time where we need to cut our cloth accordingly, we are either unable or unwilling to do that.
NA let it slip a bit at the end when he said about not being able to look at players because he’s managing on the Saturday. Well, erm, isn’t that why you have things called “scouts”?
And if we haven’t been sending other people to look at potential signings, doesn’t that merely highlight what a mess our recruitment is now?
It probably explains why our transfer policy feels so haphazard, and why there seems to be so many instances of square pegs in round holes. And when you don’t have so much money to waste, you need to ensure you make the less amount of mistakes possible.
Getting a head of recruitment (or Director of Football, if you prefer) won’t be the silver bullet, but it will help put some cohesion to a setup that is currently all over the shop with transfers in.
Like many other things at AFCW, the “old” way of doing things doesn’t work now. And besides, it would be better than signing another wardrobe…