Bloody hell, AFC Wimbledon. Stop signing so many players. I haven’t done this many updates on this site in ages, and people might start reading it regularly again…
So, the transfer window shuts but not if you’re us. Thanks to a mixture of employment law and a set of circumstances that are a bit odd, we can now add Alan Bennett to our squad.
No, I don’t mean the playwright, I mean the ex-Cork City, Reading, Brentford and up until 10.59pm last night Cheltenham player. Now, we first got hints of him arriving as soon as he cancelled his deal down Whaddon Road, and you have to wonder what that train of events was all about.
As last night’s update(s) suggested, a club enquired about him in our division and he wasn’t so keen. It’s possible that it wasn’t us after all, and reportedly Aldershot were sniffing around him as well. So maybe it was them?
Anyway, while he can’t play tomorrow, Bennett is the kind of signing a lot of people have been calling for. He’s a leader – well, he was captain at Cheltenham – he’s not wet behind the ears, and he can play alongside Pim.
And now the dust is settling on what has proven to be a busy January, on paper we seem to have played it pretty well. We were lacking presence in midfield, so we sorted that. We needed somebody up front, which was dealt with yesterday. And we now got somebody at the back.
Not forgetting that the ones we sign have genuine experience and more importantly the bottle and desire to win.
So providing NA’s judgement is correct, we’ve managed to do ourselves a lot of good. All of a sudden, we don’t look a bad collection of players. We still need to win games, of course, but there doesn’t seem quite the feeling that we’ll quickly revert back to how we were.
Obviously, they have to perform, and this is the massive test for NA. He can’t blame the crap that TB left him now – it’s only really Pim, Midson, Osano and either one of the Moores who are from our last manager’s time and can stake a starting place in our XI.
Seb has been replaced by Sully. Cummings is usurped by Hussey. Byron is gone, Toks is on the bench more often than not, and the likes of Meades and McCallum are highly regarded enough to stay.
Make no mistake, this is a new team, and hopefully one that can settle in almost immediately.
We’re clearly going to make a go of survival, as is pretty mandatory. It’s been said so many times that there’s still a lot of football to beÂ played, and even sizeable looking gaps now can be closed pretty quickly with a little run of form.
And we have changed the squad. We pretty much had to, but at least we’ve done it. It won’t have nearly so much the baggage that 2012 brought us, and you would hope that the new guys who have come in are ready and raring to go.
Have those around us done so? Indeed, are teams sitting 13th and below sufficiently strengthened? From our point of view, hopefully not, although it’s really down to us and us alone to make sure the losses aren’t losses and the draws become wins.
Of course, with those coming in, there’s bound to be some on the “out” list. And you have to question whether the likes of Prior, Strutton, Cummings, Kiernan, Seb Brown and indeed anyone else who finds themselves playing in Senior Cup games will be on loan.
I can’t see any contracts getting cancelled though, at least not until the season ends, because we’re still going to need bodies on the bench. And with Alexander and Bennett both only here until the summer, it’s worth holding on to everyone you can unless they really need match practice.
One other thing that is clear, we’re certainly putting the Â£Â£ in. And will make us realise even more the sort of sums we will have to shell out for decent L2 players in the future. I won’t say this is shit-or-bust, because if the worst happens we don’t get lumbered with a load of expensive demotivated players. That we’ll have to do some major rebuilding in May is obvious, but you get the impression NA will go into it with a clue.
So, I don’t think we’ll get any more signings in now, unless we’re really short (famous last words), and this squad now knows what it needs to do. It’s had a good January, and a better February is well within our grasp. If we’re going to hit a purple patch, this next month is going to be a damn good time to do so.
We need to start taking our opportunities, and if we do so we’ll be all right after all. Tomorrow wouldn’t be a bad time to start…..