And you thought that was it for the outgoings this close season.
Walter may well be on holiday, but his axe is still getting a lot of use while he’s away. And it’s probably not going back in his woodshed for a while.
While we wait for people to come into the club, this week saw two more outgoings that managed to sadden many – but surprised very few.
It was only briefly mentioned in dispatches last Monday on here, but the departure of Simon Bassey pretty much ends an era. I think he was one of the very few, if only, squad links back to 2002.
And he was our Tony Parkes-at-Blackburn figure, standing in for our last two managerial changeovers.
At the same time though, him leaving is no real shock.
Rumours that he didn’t fit into the new W&G regime never got denied, and his card seemed to be marked on that fateful night at Ponti Stamfordi in the Chuckaturd.
Our just-installed new boss literally sat on the touchline that second half, then got up, pointed at a few players, and the balance of power shifted right in front of your eyes.
Bassey was a large cog in both the Ardley and TB management setups, but had effectively been reduced to a bit-part player by the time Walter took the wheel.
Once as much a part of the touchline brigade as a sub’s bench, there was something symbolic about him “watching from a different vantage point” from the TV gantry…
Maybe being part of the recruitment side of things that was publicly trashed by Walter (on the OS no less) finally did it?
Like a few people at AFCW, Bassey was there at the right time and the right place. He was very useful for the caretaker role on two occasions, although him deploying Trotter and Soares this season – when he had the option to be radical – didn’t inspire.
And to be fair, while he probably wouldn’t have been in the EFL with any other club, he has spent about eight years or so as part of the backroom staff in a EFL side.
I don’t doubt he’ll get another job somewhere, though probably not much above Crawley at best. Maybe he’ll end up at Notts County? He’ll probably be caretaker boss there again before long…
Reeves going as well isn’t much of a surprise either. I didn’t realise he was here as long as five years, though.
Walter doesn’t seem to think the u23 setup (not just ours, but generally) is all that. Especially if we’re going to start taking players directly from u18 and either put them in our first XI squad, or send them on loan to Conf/Conf South level for proper adult football.
The u23 level is a bit of a mish-mash as it is anyway. It’s neither one thing or the other, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up being surplus to requirements.
Which is one reason why I guess our own goal specialist is gone, although one does wonder if both were considered too close to the previous regime too.
We all know about the “B” in the “ABC” and “BBC” tenures (think about it), but Reeves himself was always NA’s man.
I believe when our former boss turned up to watch the Fleetwood horror show, he sat next to our now-departed u23 manager. I doubt if that marked his card, but after that result and performance…
Still, if nothing else, it proves that we’re not skirting around the edges in changing things. Like players, getting rid of staff is one thing – it’s who you replace them with.
What’s being planned we don’t know yet, beyond the usual rumour mill, but that’s what makes it such an intriguing summer ahead.
It’s not a total wipe out behind the scenes, mind you. Jason Moriaty is still listed as fitness coach, but he seems to have more of a higher profile role now – especially in the sports science department.
Ashley Bayes is still here, with his infectious/annoying over-enthusiasm. Ditto Stuart Douglas, though thankfully more low key than our goalkeeping coach.
All three may still be gone by the time the new season starts, of course, but I guess they would have departed by now if they weren’t wanted.
This initial stage of the close season brings us the underappreciated highlight of PSF announcements. Brentford and (more intriguingly) Brizzle City are what we have at KM, though interesting that both are evening games.
I don’t think there’ll be a mini-tour, although with the new regime you never quite know what’s been earmarked.
And while I’d like something like Leyton Orient away on a Saturday, we’ll get an insight into how W&G approach this vital preparation.
The split-squad thing at the end of recent pre-season buildups never made much sense. Especially when we never seemed to play too many PSFs anyway, where you could see how the first XI will start looking.
So I’m hoping for something a bit more a) different, and b) logical this time around. We’ll need a good start next campaign, and as we all know – friendlies are not solely about fitness…
Still, with only the second weekend ahead of us in nine months where we haven’t needed to worry about a ruined weekend, we can start expecting transfer speculation aplenty.
It’s that time of year where somebody – anyone – can make up a rumour about a Barnsley reserve player coming to us, and it’s treated like the secret to eternal life has just been revealed to mankind.
While previous close seasons have been relatively low on gossip – probably because everyone knew our shopping never properly started until about mid-July – we’re already hearing of links.
So as per normal, treat everything with a major dose of sodium, unless it’s officially denied.
The transfer window for us clubs in League One (and doesn’t that sound great to be saying that again for next season?) is already open, so things may start happening sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, we’ve got until 5pm on Monday 2nd September to finalise our squad, both permanent and loan signings, but one hopes we’ll have our business done way before then.
Obviously, if somebody we’ve been after pops up late on the radar, and the finances work out, then so much the better. But one suspects we’ll avoid the August panic buying as much as possible.
With luck, anyway.
Walter himself has put his neck a bit on the line with his comments about previous recruitment policies, so he knows he has to back his words up with action.
He’s bought a lot of time and goodwill for what happened in 18/19, but I don’t doubt he knows when 19/20 kicks off, the onus is on him (and GH) to deliver.
But then, for the first time in a good long while, you have a bit more faith our manager will actually do it…