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Pre season draws nearer…

Well, looks like TB is back from his hols, and already tantilising us with promise of new signings.

OK, he’s put a wish-list of about four, which almost certainly means he’ll get two of them. Interestingly, he’s marked out specific positions where he wants to strengthen, which possibly means he has specific people in mind.

One of these positions mentioned is a midfielder. Now, is this the elusive Ricky Wellard? You know, the transfer saga that makes the Israeli-Palestinian dispute seem straightforward. There’s something that just feels a little bit odd about this whole deal – last week, Ashford talked about a “glitch” which was according to their manager down to us. Hmm.

What this glitch is even now we still don’t know, and until Wellard returns off his hols we may not find out soon enough. But I have to admit, a large part of me believes if this drags on for too much longer, we ought to forget him. Would he be worth the Chris Sullivan-esque aggrevation? Especially as it’s now obvious that TB is looking at the rather long list of surplus League Two players that is about to come out.

It’s going to be a busy time for transfers full stop. Pre-season training isn’t too far away, maybe even as early as this upcoming Saturday. As just mentioned, the League Two cull will be made as contracts run out and agents get busy. And that’s another thing about Wellard – yes, he’s promising but then so many of his ilk are. Would we be better getting a more experienced player in who can do the same job, but also would be a bit easier to negotiate with?

If there is any concern about our transfer policy this close season, it’s that it is maybe a bit too reliant on youth. Wellard could be great in an experienced midfield, who has seen it and done it at this level. But it’s a pretty young setup as it is, and as regular readers may know, I’m not the biggest fan of bringing in players from the lower levels in such an important first season – a season where we’ll need all the nous and know-how we can get.

Of course, I now expect to read the OS this evening and find that Wellard has put biro to paper…

Elsewhere in that article, it does seem like pre-season could be fun. I quote:

“I will not be playing the whole first team in any of the games. I will have two separate sides and will be trying out new formations. The fans might not like that but it is very important that we have a plan A, B and C this season and that is what the pre-season will be all about.”

Best to cancel that IoM trip then. Actually, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at this statement – PSFs are used for exactly this purpose. And it couldn’t be any worse than last year’s “efforts” (Met Police, anyone?). Didn’t do us any harm for the proper season ahead either.

One thing that is a bit deceptive is the amount of pre-seasons we’re having. It seemed like there were far more of them last year, but a quick bit of research and we have as many (for the first team anyway)  this time as we did last season. That said, when our last PSF came around, against Tonbridge, it was pretty much a full strength side. One wonders if TB is bluffing us a little over this? Certainly worked last season with DK’s injuries, with him playing games after our manager was claiming he was close to death’s door…

Suppose it’s the lack of reserve games that is most noteworthy. I would hope the club are arranging something for the (literally) poor bastards who can’t make the IoM.

Anyway, while we prepare for more new players, the Setanta fiasco situation continues. Things look so ropey there that the Setanta Shield hasn’t even been drawn yet. A footballing nation mourns.

The trouble with all this is that it’s all collapsing at the worst possible time. The Prem pulled the plug because they were getting fed up with waiting around, and are reselling the rights today simply to ensure less delay on the fixture rearranging. As I write this, the SPL have now taken back their rights.

The worst thing for us as far as we’re concerned is for Setanta to keep holding on. Either they get a massive injection of cash – and TBH the brand name is now fucked, at least in the UK – or they just go into admin ASAP.  It’s blatantly obvious that Setanta just can’t pay any more, and the rights holders have lost patience. Should they go into admin, it means the BSP will simply have to get its arse into gear and sort out a deal ASAP.

In fact, I don’t think the BSP should wait anyway. Setanta has done a lot for football at this level, but we have to protect ourselves. Nobody will have Setanta next season now, so what’s the point of  hanging on? The company won’t be able to afford to show our matches, we’ll be waiting forever for payments (apparently they were slow from last season) and we’ll be dipping out on maybe Sky or ESPN using us as filler.

No, the BSP won’t have nearly the pulling power of even the SPL, but the need now is for exposure. Even the odd Monday night on Sky is better than absolutely nothing at all. There are quite a few leagues that have popularity but are currently in limbo – not only the BSP, but Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Dutch league etc are all wondering where they’ll be shown next season.

One thing is certain – we never had to put up with this in the Ryman…